Genesis was a progressive rock group during the 1980s. Their first vocalist was Peter Gabriel, but Peter Gabriel set out on his own solo career and Phil Collins replaced him. While Phil Collins was in Genesis, Genesis moved in a more pop oriented direction with songs like Invisible Touch. They also became more politically oriented with songs such as the disillusioned Land of Confusion.
Land of Confusion was a single released on Genesis’ Invisible Touch album. The puppets they used in the music video for Land of Confusion were originally in a British TV show called Spitting Image. The song is widely remember for having the music video with the puppets who looked like they could be related to the crypt keeper. Phil Collins saw a puppet of himself on the spitting image show and had the puppet makers make puppets for the rest of the music group and all of the characters that would be featured in the music video.
the video opens with Ronald Reagan, his wife, Ronald Reagan’s teddy bear and a monkey as a reference to Bedtime For Bonzo all going to bed at 4:30 PM. Ronald Reagan then has a nightmare of an army marching through a swamp and picking up heads. The band then appears playing on stage. Political leaders are shown giving speeches and then Ronald Reagan puts on a Superman suit. Ronald Reagan is sweating so much in his sleep that he floods the bedroom and a duck floats by.
In the dream Ronald Reagan and a dinosaur are watching the Spitting Image show and sent back in time to the prehistoric period. Phil Collins calls somebody on the phone that his generation will put it right and Ronald Reagan rides around on the dinosaur in cowboy attire. Nancy Reagan is snorkeling due to all of Ronald Reagan’s sweat in the room. Ronald Reagan wakes up and tries to drink a glass of water but misses his mouth. He then tries to ring for a nurse but pushes the wrong button and launches a nuclear missile instead.
Land of Confusion won a grammy and would have won a grammy in another category but lost to the music video for Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel. Land of Confusion would be played during a couple of tours and released on a couple of live albums along with being featured as a single on its studio album. Land of Confusion has been featured in some TV shows and movies. It was also used by Joe Biden during his campaign for president in 1987.
Not only was the music video for Land of Confusion bizarre, memorable and popular, it also seemed to have some very strong political messages involving the government with the meaning of the song and what appears to be the delusions, ineptitude and fear of Ronald Reagan in the music video. Both the song and video seem to be very disillusioned, which is very strange because under the leadership of Ronald Reagan during the 1980s patriotism and nationalism seemed to be at an all time high. Maybe Phil Collins was a staunch Democrat because he does not seem to share that patriotism with his music video. Maybe they were trying to push for reform, but I can only see the end result leading to fear of the public that the president and government are not able to handle the tense situation of the Cold War with Russia. Land of Confusion is a classic music video that deserves its grammy, but the bizarre music video can screw with your mind and it did have the potential to lead to some negative consequences.