We, the Northwestern community, are severely undereducated about cats. We claim to encourage them with our slogan “Go ‘Cats!”, but I see very little discussion about their merits actually happening on campus. In fact, I would go so far as to say that dogs are getting all the love. So I have composed a brief history of their artistry in my favorite medium, the music video, so that they can finally receive a little recognition.
1. 1989 - “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul
I would have loved to be in the room when they were pitching the concept for this music video. Paula Abdul’s co-star in the hit single is MC Skat Kat, a cartoon feline with a smoking problem whose intro rap was written by future Weeds cast member Romany Malco. Paula Abdul, who is known for her dancing skills, even choreographed a synchronized dance for MC Skat Kat and herself which Disney animators brought to life. The song rose to number one on the charts and won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. Family Guy and James Corden also parodied the video in an attempt to capture their demographic of aging millennials who were sentient when this video debuted. And because we live in a country that will monetize anything that moves, MC Skat Kat “released” his own “album” called The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob, which flopped miserably (*pretends to be shocked*). The A.V. Club called it the “Least Essential Albums of the ‘90s,” stating it was “a product of clueless committee thinking and Milli Vanilli-style studio hackwork at its most cynical.” Sounds like you have some pretty high standards for a cartoon cat, but sure, A.V. Club
2. 1992 - “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson
I didn’t adhere to any kind of meticulous selection criteria for these music videos, so obviously I instinctively turned to The King. I remember watching this video at home on a CD that for some reason had Billy Joel songs on its other side. The video also stars Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson. Clearly the only extras that could keep their cool amongst such a high density of talent and beauty on set are cats because cats are immune to caring. Also because of the whole Egyptian theme, but you know.
Cats appear in an overwhelming number of Michael Jackson’s videos. He even transforms into a panther in the “Black or White” music video and posed for the cover of “Thriller” with his own personal tiger cub, also named Thriller. I say “tiger” and “panther” but these are just generously sized kitty cats and not even the entire Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge could convince me otherwise. Michael Jackson’s long-standing creative partnership with cats makes a lot of sense because they both move like they are liquid and don’t have time for your bullshit. Thriller the tiger passed away in 2012 but not before becoming a feminist icon: at 375 pounds, she “was a real piece of work” and “was very independent and tough” according to her caretaker Tippi Hendren. We stan a stripy legend!
3. 2011 - “Drunk” by Ed Sheeran
I honestly didn’t know that Ed Sheeran had a music video about him being heartbroken over a girl and getting drunk with his cat, but it makes perfect sense. This video has several very gifable moments of cat paws opening beer and Sheeran’s fake ex-girlfriend has a serious case of emo bangs, and that’s pretty much all there is to say about it. The internet tells me Ed Sheeran is a huge cat fanatic and even made an Instagram account for his two cats. In a caption, he announced "My cats set up their own Instagram, clever pussies."
Thank you, Ed Sheeran, for my new band name.
Ed’s cats are of the Scottish Fold breed just like Taylor Swift’s, confirming my suspicions that Taylor Swift synthesized him in a lab from her own stem cells to become a male version of herself. His cat fandom is so well-documented that a Japanese cat island called Ainoshima made a YouTube video of cats frolicking to Shape of You to encourage him to visit. The video has extremely high production values and is literally called “Dear Mr. Ed Sheeran,” and overall seems like a lot just for Ed Sheeran. The least he could do would be to make Ainoshima one of his touring destinations, which would also be the only way to get me to attend an Ed Sheeran concert. Dear Mr. Ed Sheeran, I’m disappointed.
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Science says owning a cat reduces stress, and if you and your roommates aren’t ready to get one yet (seriously, really think about it before you commit), watching them in some music videos may be the next best thing. They’re stylish, professional and can’t be bothered, and aren’t those the qualities of our favorite musicians anyway?