Welcome to the TGS Video Breakdown Series, where I take a look at the music videos of some of our favorite artists and point out the awesome, the absurd, and the inexplicable. This week we look at Bobby Brown’s classic, “Every Little Step”.
Oh yes. It’s me again, the crazy one. The Video Breakdown series returns after a two-week hiatus, and we’re tackling an iconic video in this edition. This NEW EDITION, if you will (I tried really hard not to write that last sentence, I’m so sorry). Bobby Brown had, at best, a mixed career as a solo artist. But thank goodness he blessed us with “Don’t Be Cruel”, perhaps the greatest album the New Jack Swing genre produced. With apologies to “My Prerogative”, this is the best song on the album. We open with three beautiful, confident women strolling towards us as the intro plays:
I have to come clean—I love this song. If you are a human and you have a pulse, there is no way you can listen to this and not want to dance. Specifically, you cannot hear this song and not break into the running man:
If you’re in my general vicinity and this track comes on, you will witness me doing the running man. Wait a second, just that quickly I forgot the name of the song. Is there any way I can get a reminder?
What a striking visual. For a video that is shot entirely with a white background, there is a lot of interesting stuff to look at here. Take Bobby’s wardrobe, for instance:
The black blazer, the pocket square, the shoulder pads, the Gumby haircut. Bobby reminds me of someone here. I can’t quite place my finger on who, though. Is it…
Wow…this is close. It’s like looking at a copied and pasted image. Is Bobby invoking Denzel at the beginning of “Malcolm X” in this video? Is this some sort of political statement? Here’s a statement: Denzel was robbed of Best Actor for that movie. We’re on the right track, but I think we can dig deeper. What about…
Don’t be ridiculous, Arnold. Bobby isn’t wearing a cape. Think harder. Maybe…
THERE IT IS. When you think about it, Bobby Brown and Powerline from “A Goofy Movie” are remarkably similar. The style, the dance moves. My thorough research (Wikipedia) led me to the revelation that Bobby Brown was actually supposed to voice the character in the film. Sadly, as great as Powerline was, he didn’t have clothes with his name stitched in like Bobby:
We’ll come back to the clothes, but I have to single out a great moment first. Bobby Brown is a fine dancer; no one is going to confuse him with prime Michael Jackson, but he holds his own in this video. Still, he appears to shout out drunk white guy dancing for a few quick seconds:
This is 10:30 pm at the wedding of your buddy you went to college with in Minnesota caliber stuff. Really thoughtful of Bobby to be inclusive of all dancing styles here. Back to the wardrobe, because we get quite the change in this next segment. Bobby and his dancing companions appear to be gearing up for the biking portion of a triathlon:
Someone came to their school the day after seeing this video dressed exactly like this, and they were immediately the coolest person in their class. Music videos can truly change a person’s life. Everything about that gif is perfect, so perfect that I forgot the name of the song again. What was it?
Man I’ve been forgetful lately. Thank goodness for these reminders. As we continue, we get a high point followed by a serious low point. High point: Bobby and his dancers doing the Roger Rabbit:
Low point: Bobby decides to rap. For an extended period. This was a tragic misstep. Suffice it to say, not all singers can rap. Here’s a sample of some of his lyrics:
“Been on the mic, for a long long time/
I’m guaranteed to bust a stupid rhyme”
“I drive a 560 SEC/
And when I’m on the mic, you gotta see me”
A gif of Bobby here wouldn’t be appropriate, as you can’t hear what he’s saying. However, I spoke with noted hip hop enthusiast Susie Carmichael and asked her to give me her thoughts on Bobby’s verse. She sent this response:
Couldn’t have put it better myself, Susie. All in all, a great video nearly ruined by a horrible rap verse. This was peak Bobby Brown, and we’ll always remember him. And this video. And the name of this song:
1. WHY DID BOBBY BROWN TRY TO RAP?? UGHHH
2. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to decipher how this closing image relates to the rest of the video, and if that’s an orange phone on the side of the tub. I am still stumped. You win this time, Bobby Brown.