I did almost nothing but discover and listen to 80’s synthpop music yesterday. It was a very enjoyable experience. During my exploration, I came across a very eerie song and music video by the Australian band Icehouse entitled “Icehouse”. The name alone caught my attention. There are haunting, unsettling parts of this song and also poppy components. As the title suggests, “Icehouse” is a cold, synth-filled love song of sorts. A girl is waiting for love that will most likely never come. As long as she stays within the Icehouse, love cannot find her. That is so hopelessly sad, yet beautiful.
The music video is a depiction of a little girl’s nightmare. It reminds me of both the movie Nightmare on Elm Street and Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” music video. However, Icehouse came out before both of these in 1981, believe it or not. I really think that it was groundbreaking and a grossly underrated music video. I’m genuinely scared by the “Icehouse” video, but it’s not gory or done in bad taste like some 80’s horror films. There is fire, hands reaching up through the water, many strange people trying to grab the little girl (including a very creepy old woman in a rocking chair), and a huge white cube made of white neon tubes of light. The nightmare never seems to end.
Perhaps most fascinating to me is the backstory behind the “Icehouse” song. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but I read that in Australia icehouse means the same thing as insane asylum. Obviously, that makes me like the song even more. Iva Davies, the lovely lead singer/songwriter of the band, wrote the song about his time living in a flat in an old two-story mansion that was always cold no matter what he did. Being in his early twenties and a musician to boot, he kept late hours. Sounds a lot like me. I always feel more creative at night. Anyways, the dilapidated house across the street always had its lights on, even in the dead of night. People would come and go at all times and never stayed long. Apparently it was a half-way house for psychiatric patients and drug addicts. Hence, “Icehouse” was born. Iva is a genius.
Another fun tidbit is that the band started out with the name Flowers, but changed their name to Icehouse after the release of their first album, also called Icehouse. Everything comes full circle. I love their choice. The name is warm and cold at the same time, which suits the band’s sound perfectly.
Have a synthpop-filled day everyone!