Video Hangover: “You Are In My System”

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“You are in My System”
The System/Robert Palmer, 1983

Two artists, one song.


Hi, I’m a Mac. And I’m a Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80.
The System get first crack at “You Are In My System,” because, well, they’re the System and we’re all just in them. At first it appears they’re trapped in the default Leopard background, but it turns out they’re just trapped in 1983. To their credit they keep it simple, and let the song carry the weight for all of the neo-MJ leather and fancy machines. And then comes the weird interlude, at 1:35. At first, when the scene cuts to a Manhattan street, I thought this song was affiliated with some wacky computer-related ’80s movie I had forgotten about. But no — there is the System, eating hot dogs and leering at women. Check out the indecision on white System guy’s face at 1:47, after black System guy goes chasing tail. I think he’s supposed to follow, but he clearly wants to stay and eat the hotdog. And why is he even holding a hot dog? It’s no wonder Robert Palmer wanted to remake the video — these guys are clearly amateurs.

Robert Palmer to Geek Squad: “The fucking system is burning all of my records!”
Robert’s take on “You Are In My System” isn’t far off the original, and the video sticks to the computing theme, but with some artsy-fartsy touches thrown in. For example, instead of a keyboard player, he has a girl on roller skates. And instead of a keyboard he has — well, he has a keyboard, but he also has a bandana, a drum kit, a herd of stuffed deer, and the floorplan for Tron’s studio apartment. So far, so good. But Robert gets into trouble around the 2:24 mark, when, in a move so meta it makes my head hurt, the system goes haywire and lights his Robert Palmer “You Are In My System” 7-inch on fire. He picks up the phone, presumably to call the fire department, but ends up talking to … the system! Robert, get out! The system is calling from inside the apartment!

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