Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Thrillkiller “The King of 1984”

Photo credit: Brent Seward

For those of us old enough to remember, do you recall the days when a new music video was a social event? How you and your friends talked about it at school all week, and then gathered together at the nearest television with access to MTV to watch the “world premiere”? How many of us who grew up in that time would listen to a song and dream up what that music video would look like, and then were let down whenever the video looked nothing at all the way you had imagined? How many times have we held a crystallized image of the perfect music video in our minds, and only hoped that someday, what we saw in our heads would come to life on the screen?

Because now, someone has made such a video, and it is Thrillkiller's latest tune, “The King of 1984”. With a title like that, it immediately conjures up certain imagery, and at least for me, I can finally see a music video play out almost exactly how I pictured it to be. From the moment those synths open up the track, a rush of ’80s nostalgia hits all the sweet spots in your brain, and you are transported back to a simpler time when Aqua Net could solve any problem, and a man could wear hot-pink spandex, purple eyeshadow and blue eyeliner, yet still be considered a hunk of red-blooded masculinity.

From the start, the video for “The King of 1984” fits right in with all that ’80s aesthetic; even the opening credits are in that space-age, futuristic-looking font that was used in nearly every sci-fi movie back then. As soon as vocalist Rob Bradley makes his entrance wearing a red leather jacket, it is a throwback to the classic Michael Jackson videos from the era, and as the video progresses, the references don't stop there. 

As Rob makes his way into a dim, smoky bar, we meet other characters that could very easily time-warp back to 1984 and look as though they belong there. We see punk rock girls dressed in black with closely-cropped hair; guys wearing skintight one-piece jumpsuits, big sunglasses, and an outfit that looks like a space suit designed by the Village People. It's so damn fabulous, and we aren't even a minute into the video yet.

While alternating with onstage shots of the band, we start getting into the video's concept, which in itself is a complete homage to ’80s videos. Looking like a cross between the “Beat It” video and Mad Max, the basic premise is of a bar fight gone bad...but there is much more to it than that! While Rob is chilling at the bar and minding his business, a cute blonde decides to buy him a drink. We also see that she hasn't been the only one in the bar who has been eyeing him; no sooner than another girl pulls the blonde away than the other guys in the bar (played by the other members of Thrillkiller)—including the space-age Village People guy, credited as the motorcycle punk—start to crowd around him.

Then as the funky bass solo begins, all hell breaks loose! Fists fly, bottles are broken...Rob manages to get a breather long enough to have another drink, and then back to fighting. As he delivers the final blow that leaves the motorcycle punk on his back, Rob yanks the sunglasses off his face, kisses the blonde, and struts out into the street, where the ultimate ’80s ride is waiting for him: a DeLorean, of course!

As Rob revs up and races off, the motorcycle punk is hot on his trail, and an epic chase begins. At this point, the video is pure tribute to Back to the Future (Easter egg: try reading the car's license plate!), and on a more subtle level, to Kung Fury (i.e., the greatest short film of the 21st century). As the motorcycle punk moves closer, Rob puts the pedal to the metal and gives us one last ’80s reference for the ages.

I have seen the future, and it is 1984.

For more information on Thrillkiller, visit their official website.


  1. Thank you so much for the article. I love that you were able to see all the references that I worked so hard to balance throughout the video. Coming up next will be a behind the scenes featurette of the making of this video. Stay tuned!

    1. I can't wait to see that! You did an excellent job, and I would love to see what went into putting this masterpiece together.