With her uniquely throaty but powerful voice and a string of early ’80s chart-toppers like “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”, “Solitaire” and “Self Control”, Laura Branigan is a music icon we lost too soon. It’s a shame that most people are unaware of her status as a hit-maker for other artists, with songs like “Power of Love” that would later become a gigantic success for Celine Dion.
But her biggest hit was “Gloria,” a song that I maintain–despite its extreme level of perky pop cheese–is one of the most motivational songs ever recorded. And in my world the only thing better than a cheesy ’80s song is a cheesy ’80s video.
Here’s ten things I learned from it:
1. Laura was possibly drunk during the filming of this video.
You know that feeling of invincibility you get towards the end of a wedding reception when you’ve had too much to drink, the sweat from dancing all night has made your hair go flat, and your feet hurt like a motherfucker but all you want is for the DJ to play that one last dance song that you just know is going to be amazing–because any song you hear at that point is going to be amazing and you WILL dance to it while singing along with every word? That’s how Laura Branigan looks in this video.
It’s a kind of aloof, slightly dazed expression (as she sways her hips and points at nothing in particular) that says:
2. Some disco balls and a glittery top are all it takes to make a video.
I didn’t think it was possible to make a music video lazier than Survivor’s video for “Moment of Truth” but goddamn if Laura Branigan doesn’t succeed at it.
3. But how many disco balls does it take, exactly?
Five if we’re counting Laura, who could certainly pass for one.
4. Laura Branigan has unparalleled hip-shaking abilities.
Laura’s already shaking her hips even before she’s through with making her big entrance and the hip-shaking action doesn’t stop ’till the video ends.
5. I need this awesome lightning bolt belt.
6. Laura switches mic hands thirteen times.
7. Random zoom shots!
I guess the camera guy zooms in on one of the disco balls at 3:27 because he figured we don’t see enough of them throughout the video.
8. Standing on different shapes is fun.
Laura prefers the circle, though.
9. Fix a boring video by walking around a bit.
Walking from Point A to Point B and then back to Point A for no particular reason again like Laura does at 2:05 is a good way to break up the monotony.
10. You’ve never seen upper body choreography like this.
Laura pulls out all the stops here, employing classic ’80s video choreography like “The Power Fist” as well as some signature moves that I’ll attempt to point out below:
- “The Rodeo” – 0:16, 1:32 and more at 2:01
- “The Lazy Wrist” – 0:25
- “The Final Countdown” – 0:37
- “The Left Turn Signal” – 0:52
- “The Headtrip” – 0:58 and another at 1:54
- “The Statue of Liberty” – 1:03
- “The Power Point” – 1:14, 1:42, and again at 3:04
- “The Passion Play” – 1:18 & 2:38
- “The Hand of Glory” – 1:45 & 2:51
- “The Roof Raiser” – 2:09
- “The Karate Chop” – 2:39
- “The Hairstresser” – 2:54
And after a certain point she just starts blending them all together in an indistinguishable mix. Her technique is masterful.
If Laura Branigan were alive today, I would thank her for this glorious, glittering gift she has given the world.