Archive for the 'MTV' Category

18
Sep
09

Bloody Bizarre: The 2010 MTV VMAs

Last year, I used the unfortunate blight that is the MTV VMAs to rant about the state of music television. This year, it turns out, has produced fodder of a different kind. Sure, I could still rant about the lack of quality in music videos and MTV, but that’s not really top of mind after viewing the awards show on Sunday night. I’m not quite certain what it was that made this year’s show so surreal; it could have been a combination of the incessant Twittering and texting running along the bottom of my screen (I watched it via MuchMusic in Canada, but it could have very well been happening everywhere), or the long line of live airing debacles (the Kanye West outburst didn’t even seem quite as strange as the general malaise and/or bewilderment throughout the rest of the show).

The show kicked off with yet another Michael Jackson tribute (I had to watch just to see what the institution that really created him would come up with), and it was…boring. For an artist who based most of his career on spectacle, the performance was bizarrely pedestrian. I had expected several celebrities to make an appearance (hey, people like Usher and Justin Timberlake made a living off imitating him), but instead it was a long line of generic dancers doing a few of Jackson’s routines against a backdrop of the music videos. And these dancers weren’t even all that good – during the gravity-defying leaning move at the end of Smooth Criminal, one of the dancers ended up being rather conspicuously bent over like a coat hanger instead. Then Janet Jackson made her appearance during Scream in order to dance in-sync with her brother on the screen behind her – she fell out of step somewhere and ended up lagging slightly behind like a satellite feed. The quality control on the man’s memory was about as good as the quality control on his public image during the last fifteen years.

Then there was the odd, less-than-exciting cover version of We Will Rock You by Katy Perry and Joe Perry, which inexplicably summoned Russell Brand to appear as host for the second year in a row. (I suppose the fact the MTV VMAs never seem to have a specific theme to run with contributes to the lack of coherence in these shows.) There are times that I find Russell Brand funny. There are times when I really don’t (loads of puerile sex jokes). This was of the second variety, which is wearing very thin. He, himself, seemed out of step more than usual (granted certain types of British humour don’t always make much of an impression on North American audiences, especially of the award show type, but Brand seemed to lose the plot a whole lot more than last year). His one decent comment was about American health care, and then he seemed to be relegated to the fringes for the rest of the night.

And then the part of the show that interested me the most was the Lady GaGa performance, which you can view above. Essentially, she parodied a tragic opera, which saw her strung up and bloody by the end. Perhaps what interested me even more than the performance itself was the reaction from MuchMusic VJ, Devon Soltendieck, who was manning the airtime before and after the live feed would cut in from New York. He stood there as though someone had just ran past him and slapped him in the face with a fish. Then he inserted the remark, “When is too much too much?” I found this a bit puzzling. Too much? MTV Awards? Without trying to be too punny, the comment kind of hung there.

I’d be the last person to rush to Lady GaGa’s defence about anything (I don’t listen to her music if I can help it), but there’s no doubt that her performance was a spectacle in the spirit of pushing boundaries of taste and adolescent rebellion, which I had assumed MTV always stood for. She made this year’s awards show memorable, and when, let’s face it, the majority of the music MTV promotes is disposable pop, the way it is performed comes to matter even more. We’re not expecting groundbreaking music or art on MTV; we’re expecting a channel that parents would cringe at, and style prevailing over substance. I’m not even particularly interested whether Lady GaGa’s performance represented her view of paparazzi and privacy; to me, it was a conversation piece that stood out from the other very standardized, predictable acts (oh, Green Day, you’re so dangerous inviting fans on stage with you). From what I gather, Lady GaGa has seemingly attracted loads of publicity for her costumes, her performances, her bisexuality, and the rather fascinating accusations of hermaphroditism. Russell Brand made reference to the latter charges in a set-up for one of his opening jokes, questioning why a woman couldn’t be strong, successful and sexually aggressive without being called a hermaphrodite. Obviously Brand’s comment simplifies things, but it does pose a good question regarding gender, sexuality, performance and social taboos, including suicide, disability and insanity.

Why did Soltendieck, amongst many others, including anti-suicide advocates, find Lady GaGa’s performance so unsettling and/or offensive, but don’t mind rap artists glorifying violence and sexism, including a chainsaw-wielding Eminem (who looked very subdued during this year’s VMAs)? Lady GaGa was different because she portrayed violence turned inward, not outward. Another thing that struck me about Lady GaGa’s gory performance was the implication of insanity – she was wholly absorbed in her role, right down to the mad, vacant eyes. Mental health issues can scare people much more than violence; ever since the seventeenth century, madness has either been treated as a freakish spectacle or as something to be institutionalized, literally sectioned from the rest of society. She also brought disability into it by supporting herself with crutches and having a girl spastically dancing in a wheelchair. To most, those things don’t belong on the stage at a pop awards show. Nor amongst sexily-dressed dancers. Is it allowed to sexualize disability? It makes you question what society deems appropriate where.

I also wonder why it is completely okay for Katy Perry to prance about in scant clothing singing about kissing girls and liking it, but Lady GaGa gets branded a she-man. I think it’s because Perry stays within the acceptable boundaries of gender and sexuality; she’s transparent and non-threatening, she still dresses like a pop tart pin-up should and kisses girls to titillate others, she’s an object, not a subject. Gender is a performance; in fact, identity itself is a performance. Lady GaGa represents an exaggeration of that truth and a stubborn refusal to stop performing. It’s why she was so offputting to Jonathan Ross months ago on his chat show; her facade never broke. People focus on the outrageous costumes and stage shows and often quite brutally attack her gender and sexuality because they find her challenging and/or disturbing; it’s easier to reduce her to a caricature than deal with someone who will not play everyone else’s game. I suppose she didn’t write a song called Poker Face for nothing.

Sexy antics are easy and not so provocative – rolling around in a wedding dress just doesn’t mean much anymore, nor do lesbian kisses between heterosexual women. I don’t find what Lady GaGa did very bizarre, but I do find the reactions to it to be quite strange, indeed. I have to give it to her – Lady GaGa actually found a way to shock the masses in a world where nothing supposedly shocks. When the Michael Jackson tribute didn’t deliver, she did.

A Strange Day – The Cure

Is It Really So Strange? – The Smiths

28
Jun
09

Michael Jackson, Media Convergence and The Decline of the Global Superstar

I’m hesitant to contribute to the disgusting, inane circus that has been in motion since Michael Jackson died, but perhaps it’s a way into larger issues. Of interest to me is the (multi)media coverage surrounding this event and the idea of global, musical superstardom. The last time I remember witnessing this kind of coverage and global attention over a death was for Princess Diana. While at least a few hours were devoted to Michael Jackson’s death as “breaking news” on CBC’s Newsworld channel on the day he died, the first fifteen minutes of the CTV evening news broadcast the following night (in addition to at least five minutes more specifically about his autopsy and a couple minutes celebrating his career at the very end of the broadcast) was still devoted solely to Michael Jackson. My reaction to all of this coverage is still frustration and disgust; the world does not stop when a celebrity dies, and it is completely self-indulgent and useless to cover it to this extent, not to mention the hypocrisy of praising a man that was mercilessly derided and/or ignored for the last third of his life.

However, this time, Facebook, Twitter, texting, YouTube, and even Google as a whole, were also jammed with messages to crashing point. And that lengthy breaking news broadcast on CBC Newsworld was greatly bolstered by reports from not only so-called experts in the field, but also from sources like Twitter and Facebook. The mass media’s dependence on new media, especially of this nature, is pointing to a new media convergence that is both liberating and alarming. Do we need this many perspectives to contend with, and how much is verified before stated on air? Immediacy in any breaking event is always a waste of time because details will settle and change, and these social networking platforms are probably the most immediate forms of media there ever were. The crash of these technology-based social networks ostensibly shows an active rather than passive collectivity, meaning rather than experiencing a historical moment together via the exact same channels (limited to a few mass media networks), people wanted to reach out and create their own moment, their own reportage and rapport; however, this crash of systems also points to some intense displays of cultural capital, something a lot of these social networks are built upon. The reasons for this unprecedented crash are likely manifold, but it then raises the issue of the subject matter that prompted it.

The Pitchfork obituary makes some interesting, valid points about Michael’s role as a superhero and then as a cartoon. There’s something about his level of success and fame that made him completely unreal, and most people’s reactions to his death confirm it. There seems to be a lack of belief that this could possibly happen. I first heard about it while at a bookstore; a worker was running around the store telling his colleagues that Michael Jackson was dead, and everyone he told initially brushed it off with a nonchalant “You’re kidding.” And most reactions caught by the media and personal new media are ones of shock, as though Michael Jackson was always there and would always be there like some immortal. Where did this sense of superhuman come from?

Despite his earlier success in the 70s as part of The Jackson 5, there was something very essentially 1980s about the creation of Michael Jackson; he was a fixture of the cultural zeitgeist by being a brand and an overblown music video aesthetic in a nascent globalization. It’s no coincidence that his career glory years were bracketed by that money-hungry, visually loud decade. He was the living embodiment of the “American Dream” and represented all of the nation’s ideals and hopeful potential: rags-to-riches, creative innovation, celebration of the individual and his/her achievements, erasure of racial barriers. It’s when he started erasing his own race that he began reflecting a different side of America: self-destructive excess, worship of the artificial, delusions of grandeur, mob mentality and tabloid fascination with the grotesque and “different.” I firmly believe there won’t be another global musical superstar like Michael Jackson; not because no one will ever be as talented or exceed his level of talent, but that the media climate will never be so conducive to producing one ever again. Nor a shockwave like this.

The world is imploding into fractured pieces as much as people want to believe that the web of the Internet is pulling us closer together in a global village. No artist can hope to have the same impact Michael Jackson and even other, less famous, 80s pop stars had worldwide. Our sources for information and entertainment are divided into niches and people are increasingly creating their own information channels and entertainment. We are now all living in pockets that are dominated by cult artists, or we get bombarded by too many mainstream artists to care too deeply. Marketing ploys have made most of us very cynical and suspicious, making it a massive challenge to maintain brand loyalty. So many things are free and immediate that we don’t place too much value on anything or anyone. We are so easily connected and space and time have been so effectively tamed, we stopped feeling awe at sharing cultural objects and moments. Live 8 was by no means as culturally significant and as historically memorable as Live Aid.

In addition to his representation of America and the multiple channels through which he was sold and promoted, Michael Jackson’s global superstardom was a product of the fact he was non-threatening, a characteristic that often defines the genre of music he was purported king of. In spite of some of the bizarre, hard-edged, or spooky performances he gave in his music videos, there was always something of a child playing at adult roles about him; he wasn’t really going to fight in the streets, he was playing dress-up to be “bad,” and when he attacks you as a zombie it’s all in the name of make-believe. His Peter Pan syndrome, which ultimately became an exercise in entrapment and self-harm, spoke to a deep-seated, sometimes unhealthy, need for the rest of us to remain youthful and responsibility-free just like the myriad advertisements told us to be. And like mean-spirited children, the media and large parts of the public took part in the incessant bullying and gleeful picking and poking at Michael Jackson. By disintegrating and rotting with excess and mental illness, he showed us our face in the mirror more than any trite song ever could. And we didn’t like it. We only like to see the positive side of the zeitgeist. It was all fun and games until we lost an idol.

I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the most blogged about artists on The Hype Machine for the last few days have been Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5; however, after having read through many posts about him, I am a bit surprised how overwhelmingly positive and sympathetic they are. It’s as though people are desperate to forget the fact he hasn’t been top-of-mind for so long and hasn’t been at the top of his game for so much longer. And considering I’ve rarely seen Michael Jackson tracks posted on the blogs that are part of The Hype Machine, it somehow feels a little bit like too little too late. He had become so beyond comprehension, and we were all so desensitized to outrageous behaviour, that the media couldn’t even be bothered with him anymore – for all intents and purposes he had disappeared off the radar, even after announcing the continuing excesses of the 50-date O2 engagement. He had figuratively died a slow death for the past twenty years.

True to Morrissey’s Paint a Vulgar Picture, the response of unprecedented spiking sales for Michael Jackson music, downloads and otherwise, just seems more cynical than celebratory to me. There’s something tawdry about this financial tribute, and as with the amount of people coming forward with texts, tweets, and posts, I begin to wonder how much is genuine and how much of it is just not wanting to be left out. It’s yet another part of why I was reluctant to write this post at all.

In the global reaction to his death, it seems people are most sad because of nostalgia and ties to their own youth. I was born in the same year of Thriller’s release, but I obviously still grew up being very aware of Michael Jackson. My awareness of his music was probably first through the Dangerous album, which some of my friends and/or family members had, and the song Black or White, which always seemed to be playing at the roller rink when I was a child. I also have vague memories of seeing the Thriller video at a young age (maybe at Halloween), and back when music television still showed music videos, I would watch 80s weekends, which were dominated by Madonna, Duran Duran, and of course, Michael Jackson. Videos like Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller became iconic to me at a later date, but they did still form part of that cultural touchstone in a way that I can’t imagine any music video becoming now. There’s no doubt that I love the music videos that my favourite artists are producing, but the likelihood that I could mention them to anyone else in the world and have them understand and know what I’m talking about is remote. They will never become global reference points, nor will they create moments of waiting for a music video world premiere like the one above this post. I’m by no means some huge Michael Jackson fan, and I wouldn’t consider him among my musical heroes, but I definitely acknowledge that Thriller is and was an important album, and Billie Jean is still genuinely one of my favourite songs.

As a society, we project a lot onto celebrities, but you can’t be a global superstar if the globe ceases to have any meaningful weight as a concept. The very networks that heralded his death to crashing point are the very same technology that is heralding the death of global superstardom. After all, Michael Jackson didn’t change the world, he merely reflected it. He was the King of Pop, but when all the world is a popularity contest, it’s impossible to crown another one. The world’s stage is groaning under the surplus of “stars.” There will never be another Michael Jackson because the world is a different place.

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

26
Apr
09

Desiring and Being Desired: Colonizing the “Other” in Duran Duran Music Videos

It’s been an unusually busy week with my freelance work and volunteering, and miraculously, I have a job interview tomorrow that I wanted to prepare for. So, I’ve decided to look back, way back, into my academic past and pull out this essay from my Representations in Visual Rhetoric class. I was 22 when I wrote it, so it’s not exactly my best work to date, but it is music-related, and I think it’s still interesting from a visual rhetoric standpoint. And it proves you can work pretty much anything into an A+ academic paper. It’s all about the reaching.

Despite resisting any impulse for dramatic revisions, I’ve taken out any citation references because they’re not really necessary in a blog post. And if it gets too pedantic and boring, skip to the bottom and get some Duran Duran songs.

 

Being Desired: Colonizing the “Other” in Duran Duran Music Videos

When Music Television (MTV) debuted in 1981, it was a revolutionary concept that married advertising and music in a 24-hour format; before MTV, music videos were largely taped live performances broadcast on late-night television shows. By making music into a fundamentally visual experience, the advent of music video created a medium that primarily appealed to pathos in creating pleasurable images that were intended to generate desire for the music as a product and/or the objects in the videos. Music videos also manufactured specific realities in which certain beliefs operated, which were then naturalized. One such reality was one of white dominance; when MTV was in its first ten years of operation, it replicated an FM radio’s white rock focus, largely excluding other races. Within this format of the early 1980’s, Duran Duran, a young, New Wave band from Britain, could garner success greatly built on visual images.

Duran Duran, consisting of members Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor, formed in 1980, and by 1981, they were hugely popular in their native Britain. After recording their sophomore album, entitled Rio in 1982, Duran Duran attempted to duplicate their popularity in Britain in the USA; however, their album did not initially sell well. Notably, when they decided to use the music video format for each of the singles released from Rio, and soon after these music videos aired on MTV, the album increased its sales in the USA. Arguably, the music videos persuaded their audience to desire Duran Duran’s music, and in doing so, served a promotional purpose; however, through these visual pieces, Duran Duran also became pioneers in the music video field. Duran Duran were among the first bands to shoot their music videos on 35mm film rather than on video tape; they were also one of the first bands to shoot videos in exotic locations, to create mini-narratives, and to use quickly-edited clips of surreal images. In revolutionizing the music video medium, Duran Duran also produced a certain reality with an accompanying set of beliefs. By analyzing the visual rhetoric present in the three major music videos from the Rio album, I will argue that while the videos are meant to persuade desire for the band and its music, they create a British colonial reality in which the racial “other” is objectified, depicted as subhuman, and subjugated. These colonial “subjects” and their environment are also often portrayed as corrupting influences. Though these videos manufacture a colonial reality, conflicts arise because the medium of music video is promotional; ultimately, Duran Duran become both the agents and objects of the gaze. Though the linguistic content of song lyrics inevitably anchors visuals and can affect interpretation, I will focus primarily on the rich visual content of the videos for “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Rio,” and “Save a Prayer,” which were all directed by Russell Mulcahy.

The choices of setting – Sri Lanka and Antigua – for these three videos, while often visually pleasurable in their lushness and exoticism, seem to point to colonialism. Both Sri Lanka and Antigua were British colonies for a lengthy time, only gaining their independence in the 20th century. Duran Duran’s nationality as British reinforces their dominance over these settings. Also, the choice of using a woman as the primary “other” implies the colonial ideology in that the uncolonized frontier always appeared as a fertile female figure; and the female also often represents the inferior half of a gender binary.

“Hungry Like the Wolf,” shot on location in Sri Lanka in 1982, tells the mini-narrative of Simon LeBon’s encounter with a native woman of Sri Lanka and the remaining band members’ search for him. The contrast between Duran Duran and this exotic environment becomes highly visually apparent; shots of the natives and the surroundings appear impoverished, primitive, and dirty while the members of the band appear clean, affluent and colourful, increasing Duran Duran’s salience, thus dominance, in each frame. For example, the video opens with a series of quick cuts, including semi-naked natives walking in crowds and an elderly beggar woman sitting in the street; all of these people look dusty and are dressed in muted colours of beiges and browns, blending in with the buildings and streets. Then the first shot of the band members is one in which the camera is shooting from above the street scene and behind the band members; they stand apart in their blindingly white shirts and jackets and Nick Rhodes’s bright pink pants. The perspective of this shot also allows for a sense of domination over the scene, which becomes associated with the band members. Immediately following this shot are ones showing John and Roger Taylor running toward the camera through the crowds; again, they are contrasted with their surroundings through their bright white clothing and John Taylor’s exposed white chest. This type of contrast makes Duran Duran far more salient than the other components of the scene. While most of the scenes of the street and markets appear primitive with their carts, Duran Duran rides in a jeep, signifying increased affluence and technology. The similar dress and hair styles, along with their race, seem to make Duran Duran a cohesive entity in the video, synecdoche that implies that they belong with each other but not with the other people in the video.

As already mentioned, perspective is used to present Duran Duran as dominant, and along with placement, it reinforces the band’s presence and the colonial theme. There are numerous close shots of LeBon’s face and there are several shots of the other band members kissing unidentifiable women. These types of perspectives and placements highlight the band’s dominance and keep the “other” in the periphery. There is a scene in which a young native boy revives LeBon by squeezing water from a rag into his mouth. In the scene, the boy is in a highly salient position in the upper right portion of the frame and he is also above a prostrate LeBon, implying the boy’s current power over LeBon; however, the camera soon zooms in on LeBon’s face, literally pushing the boy to the margins. Once the boy’s purpose is served – the enabling of LeBon to continue – he is discarded. This scene is similar to an earlier scene in which the camera starts with a close shot of an elephant, but than ultimately pans up to LeBon, who occupies a higher, more dominant, position in the scene. The elephant, perceived as subhuman, is squeezed out of the frame once it has been used for its exotic appeal. There are also shots that are filmed from a camera angle below LeBon as he looks up and around, making him appear more dominant.

The audience’s perspective also often switches between Duran Duran’s perspective and the “other’s” perspective, which complicates the visual message being communicated. The scenes in which the audience sees through LeBon’s eyes and the other members’ eyes makes the audience co-colonizers; the audience catches glimpses of the chased “other” and becomes just as frustrated as LeBon seems to be, and the audience wants to pin the “other’s” identity down and thus dominate her. Conversely, there are perspectives in which LeBon makes direct eye contact with the audience as he strides toward the camera, which makes the audience the object of his dominance and his demand. There are also scenes in which it is not clear whether the audience is seeing from LeBon’s perspective or the “other”; for example, the scene in which the camera follows LeBon as he runs through the jungle. The camera bumps and jars the viewer as through the viewer is also running, but it is not clear whether the audience is supposed to be running with or after LeBon. This conflict in message seems to be related to the promotional nature of the medium; though it constructs a reality in which the object of the audience’s gaze is the “other,” it also constructs a reality in which the object of the gaze and desire is Duran Duran and where the audience wants to be desired by Duran Duran. I will discuss this further later in the essay.

The representation of the native woman in this video is notable in how she is compared with other things. Firstly, she seems to be associated with the little native girl that dominates the entire first frame of the video, and whose laugh corresponds to the audio track. The little girl and the native woman become related in that they are both depicted as running out of the frame as if leading a chase. In this association, a colonial ideology emerges; a common relation between the colonized “other” and children since both are perceived as uncivilized and primitive. Because it seems both the native woman and the little girl are leading a chase, they become associated with prey, and in combination with LeBon’s wild pursuance of the woman, the native “other” also become animalistic. This animalistic trope is reinforced by the juxtaposition of extreme close-ups of the woman’s eyes dissolving into the eyes of a leopard. Animals, along with children and the colonized “other,” are also associated with savagery and inferiority. As the woman moves into a jungle environment, she acquires painted markings on her face and body, an indication of either primitive ritualism or the markings of an animal, and the woman’s unhuman movements – her head often moves like a startled bird or deer and she often opens her mouth as if roaring – further identifies the woman as bestial.
The native woman receives far less screen time than Duran Duran does, and when she does appear, she only appears fleetingly, slipping quickly in and out of the frame. Her first appearance in the video is somewhere in the street; her head tilts back and slips down and out of the frame, exiting by moving from the ideal portion of the frame into the least salient portion. The scene is so quick it is almost subliminal. This scene also contrasts with a later one in which LeBon’s head rises slowly upward into the frame from underwater, which implies a dominating of the frame. In addition to the shots in which the woman’s head slips in and out of the frame, there is a series of spliced shots of the woman running through the trees where only pieces of her are seen through the foliage.

This viewing of selective pieces of the woman becomes even more apparent in the metonymy of the scenes where her hand is featured. There are two scenes in which the woman’s hand is foregrounded and salient, and it is also decontextualized from her body. The first scene shows her hand curling over the trunk of a tree in a possessive manner. Her nails are painted red, which increases the hand’s salience even further. This scene is followed by a transition that looks like savage rips across the screen, which makes a connection between the woman’s hand and a claw, a motif that reappears later in the video when a scratch appears on LeBon’s face. The second time the woman’s hand appears, it follows the scene in which LeBon is wading through the river; her hand slides into the right side of the frame, again part of the jungle environment. This metonymy reduces the identity of the woman into a part that can be reified and then fetishized. There is a similar scene of fetishization in which the frame is taken up solely by the torsos of women. These torsos, like the woman’s hand, are supposed to stand in for the whole, but in doing so, they imply that the women are objects to be gazed at in an act of sexual desire. This gaze is further established in the semi-nakedness of the woman, the savage “other.” The woman rarely looks directly at the camera like LeBon does; instead she appears to be looking past the camera, perhaps at LeBon, so she does not make demands of her own and becomes an object. The fact that LeBon appears to be obsessed with chasing the woman already fetishizes her as an object to be gazed at and then possessed.

LeBon’s apparent obsession with hunting the woman again points to a colonial ideology, specifically the belief that the wildness of an uncolonized land and its people can change a British person who stays there too long. This fear of becoming the inferior, savage “other” stems from the fear of losing control and dominance. As the music video progresses, LeBon appears to become “infected” with the savagery of the “other.” It is implied by his encounter with the native woman and the subsequent chase that the woman has made him irrational and wild with desire. The scene in which the camera pans from the elephant up to LeBon exposes the detail of the sweat and dirt on LeBon’s face. These details appear to indicate a contrast with LeBon’s initial clean condition, the condition of the band as whole. After the quick sequence of shots documenting LeBon and the woman running through the jungle, there are two shots that appear to come earlier in the narrative because both LeBon and the woman are in a restaurant and neither look dishevelled. These contrasting shots also make the change in LeBon that much more salient, and the turning of his head corresponds with the next shot of the woman turning her head, implying the first eye contact with her. Immediately following these shots, the audience is transported back to the jungle where LeBon’s face is now painted, indicating his devolution to the animalistic.

The climax of LeBon and the woman’s encounter in the jungle is an extreme close up of both of their faces as they open their mouths at each other and the shot freezes for a moment. By ceasing movement for a few seconds, this particular scene has more salience; it is also repeated later in the video, increasing its presence further. This scene positions LeBon slightly higher than the woman, a more dominant position for the ensuing battle between them. The scene quickly changes to a close up of LeBon’s head being thrown backward, revealing three parallel scratch marks on his neck that look like they have been made by an animal’s claw. Without visually showing the woman’s act of scratching him, it can be inferred that she did it and the scratches become an index of her. By not showing her actually injure him, her act of aggressive dominance becomes invisible and less powerful. The scene continues with LeBon and the woman crawling on their hands and knees – the posture of an animal – and wrestling with each other. LeBon is at first overthrown, his ripped shirt exposed as he comes down, but the next shot is a repeat of an earlier scene in which LeBon overturned a table in the restaurant. When the camera comes back to the wrestling scene, the woman is on her back below LeBon; this juxtaposition of scenes seems to be associating the woman with the table, once again turning the woman into an inanimate object that can be dominated through force.
The transtextuality of this video’s association with the film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark further reinforces the theme of conquering and controlling nature and foreign lands.

In watching “Rio,” the music video for the album’s title track, a pattern congruent with “Hungry Like the Wolf” becomes apparent. Shot in Antigua later in 1982, “Rio’s” mini-narrative is less straightforward than “Hungry Like the Wolf,” but it still involves a female racial “other” becoming objectified and made subhuman. Like “Hungry Like the Wolf,” this video has one main female who is being pursued by Duran Duran. Duran Duran members are once again represented as affluent as they lounge on the beach and a yacht; the “othered” woman is seen on a rickety raft, a raft that is later dominated by Nick Rhodes as he plays saxophone on it. Dominating aerial shots of perspective and shots from beneath LeBon once again demonstrate the authority of the band over the “other.”

The video begins with metonymy and construction of a colonizing gaze. The first shot features a black screen with a circle in the upper left focused on the woman’s mouth. As this circle fades away, a new one appears in the middle of the screen with just the woman’s eyes. Lastly, a circle appears on the right with her entire face as she tilts her head backward with an open mouth, an action much like the one performed by the woman in “Hungry Like the Wolf.” The next shot creates the sensation of binoculars by using two circles to view the woman in the distance; immediately following this scene is one featuring the woman – scantily clad – lying with her back towards the audience; John Taylor is foregrounded taking her photo, and the audience soon sees what he sees through his viewfinder as he zooms in on her buttocks. These reductions of the woman into parts, that can be contained in frames and stared at, make the woman into an object to be controlled and fetishized.

The foot and ankle of the woman is foregrounded several times, including one scene in which it is painted with bright pink spots; a colourfully-painted arm is seen controlling the helm of the yacht; and a painted hand “crawls” into the frame and across the deck of the yacht. These body parts become representative of the “other.” One shot of hands pulling the rigging of the yacht features a bright red flower attached to the rope; the flower is highly salient because of its colour and defamiliarized setting, and it becomes metonymic, standing in for the woman. At the end of a black and white fantasy sequence in which John Taylor sees himself as a commando-type character storming the beach, an unidentified woman is laying in the foreground with a margarita on her back. The woman appears to be a tray, an inanimate, passive object of service, much like the association of the woman in “Hungry Like the Wolf” with a table.

Like the woman in “Hungry Like the Wolf,” the woman in “Rio” is represented as animalistic. She is often nearly naked and painted in vivid colours, much like a parrot. When she is painted like this, she behaves differently than when she is clothed and unpainted. When painted she walks hunched forward and on tiptoes, like the posture of a bird, and seems to skulk around the yacht attempting to see while not being seen herself. The audience sees her legs in the background out the cabin window while Rhodes is foregrounded; he looks up to see the woman’ face briefly in the window, but she remains elusive. It seems that the only time at which the woman can assert any power is as an animal-like being; there are shots with the painted woman staring directly at the camera, the most notable one coming near the end of the video where she looks directly into the camera and winks while Duran Duran do not appear to see her at all. If the woman only has power when she is animalistic and/or unseen, the implication seems to be that the woman can only maintain power if she is passive and already perceived as subhuman. The woman in “Hungry Like the Wolf” was also only able to assert power over LeBon when she was in an animalistic state and unseen when scratching him.

There are also several scenes of the woman standing on the yacht wearing streaming, blue clothes with blue markings painted on her face and body. The way that she stands with her arms outstretched and at the edge of the yacht makes her look like a figurehead, an object reminiscent of old colonial ships. Sometimes the sun comes from behind her, obscuring her face and identity; she becomes merely ornamentation.

The framing in “Rio” is notable in its intensifying and containing effect. There is one shot of two unidentifiable painted women who share directional substance with each other and the black bars that come down to frame them. The women are leaning back on their arms and they arch in synchronicity as coloured water is poured on them, creating a strong diagonal. By sharing directional substance with the framing device, they are wholly contained, thus controlled, by the frame. Just as the women are constrained by framing, they are also often contained by being a reflection. In one close-up, Nick Rhodes is wearing mirrored sunglasses that reflect the woman, containing her in the lenses. A second scene features a compact mirror featuring John Taylor and Nick Rhodes in each of the mirrors, but one mirror then tips away, revealing the woman’s face; however, because members of Duran Duran are also contained by these mirrors, the message becomes conflicted as in the first video’s alternating perspectives.

As I mentioned earlier in discussing “Hungry Like the Wolf,” I will argue that this conflict arises because of the promotional nature of the music video as a medium. As much as Duran Duran gaze at and dominate the “other” in “Rio,” they themselves become an object of the audience’s gaze – the audience arguably being Duran Duran’s target market, who are urged to sexually desire the band. With their colourful, stylized clothing and often vibrantly coloured hair and made-up faces, Duran Duran are highly salient and visually pleasurable, and they are also highly feminized in appearance. This androgynous image blurs the lines of a male/female binary, thus of a colonizer/colonized binary as well. This blurring of oppositional categories can be defined as Goodwin’s “both/and” relationship in which certain contradictions are deflected or condensed into a dream-like site. In “Rio,” the members of Duran Duran are often scantily clad, and in “Hungry Like the Wolf,” John Taylor often bared his chest; this exposure generates a gaze from the audience and perhaps desire, which would incite them to purchase Duran Duran’s album. In “Rio,” various band members are also shown to be knocked down by female “others,” and in one scene, even dragged away in a net as prey. This pattern of conflict is once again apparent in “Save a Prayer,” but because it does not have a female “other” as the object of colonization, it does not follow the same pattern of the first two videos as closely.

While “Save a Prayer” is perhaps the most different of the three videos, it still follows elements of the pattern and themes set up in the first two videos. This video, like “Hungry Like the Wolf,” was shot in Sri Lanka. Its narrative appears to be comprised of scenes of Duran Duran wandering around Sri Lanka and viewing ancient sites spliced with scenes of the natives and LeBon’s apparent lost romance. Like “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Rio,” perspectives often connote domination; there are several sweeping aerial shots over the landscape and ruins of ancient temples; these shots also often reveal members of Duran Duran standing on top of the pyramid structures, salient because of their bright white clothing. By showing them on top of these structures, the video implies their authority over the land and its people. Further evidence of this supremacy is in positioning within the frame. There is one scene in which the camera pans from a prostrate stone figure from the country’s culture to the band members standing in the foreground. Their foreground and vertical position contrasts with the horizontal statue and makes Duran Duran more salient, thus more powerful in the frame.

In addition to perspective and positioning, there is also juxtaposition of scenes of the natives and the band members, which creates the sense that the natives are far more primitive and ritualistic while Duran Duran are more advanced and civilized. There is a series of scenes near the end of the video in which the camera switches back and forth between night time scenes of the natives performing rituals by a reddish light and scenes of Duran Duran standing between ruined pillars in daylight. The darkness of the native scenes seems to connote a premodern, unenlightened mood while the Duran Duran scenes are bright and open as though superstition could not hide there.

Though there is not a woman to be an animalistic “other” in this video, there is a juxtaposition of scenes: one features a little native boy playing and splashing in the ocean and one immediately following features an elephant splashing in the water in much the same way. Both of the subjects in the scenes share directional substance indicating their similarity. By juxtaposing these scenes in this way, the “other” once again becomes animalistic. The scene in which the elephant sprays itself also points to the “both/and” conflict stated before; in this scene, members of the band are semi-naked playing in the water as well. In doing this, Duran Duran become objects of the gaze and in their semi-nudity, parallel the “other,” especially the female “other” featured in the first two videos. While Duran Duran’s position appears to be oppositional, the two opposing facets of their identity exist simultaneously; they are both passive objects of desire and active subjects of domination. I would argue that this “both/and” relationship appears in these videos because of its association with the fantasy space of advertising. In these videos, the audience can concurrently reconcile desire for the objectified other and for the members of the band.

Duran Duran’s pioneering of music video led to more salience than previous videos in the vividness of their narratives and the verisimilitude of 35mm film. All three videos from Duran Duran’s Rio album create a British colonial reality in which the “other” is objectified and subjugated through metonymic reduction, perspective and positioning. Duran Duran’s dominance and salience in the videos demonstrates their power to control and colonize the “other”; however, their salience also places them in the position of the objectified. Because of the promotional nature of the music video medium, this “both/and” relationship can exist. If one was to examine the lyrics in conjunction with the visuals of these videos, the lyrics could become the caption that both complements and complicates the visual; this aspect of the videos warrants further investigation.

Rio – Duran Duran

Khanada – Duran Duran

08
Sep
08

I Don’t Want My MTV. The Tweens Can Have It.

Against my better judgment, I watched (well, half-watched) the 25th MTV Video Music Awards last night. The only reason I did so was because Russell Brand was hosting and I was curious about what kind of reaction he would receive in front of whoever actually cares about MTV these days (and I also think I had a perverse curiosity about what was passing for music now, especially since I’ve refrained from watching music television and listening to mainstream radio for the past few years). The show was a train wreck beyond my wildest nightmares beginning and ending with pop tart, Britney Spears (I can only thank whoever put the show together that she wasn’t actually performing that night). Russell Brand was rather brilliant, lambasting the current American administration (calling Bush a “retarded cowboy”) and the Republican teen pregnancy debacle, and mocking the Jonas Brothers and their promise rings, treading all over political correctness and hypocrisy with his characteristic charming blend of verbosity and extensive vocabulary. And of course, most either sat in shock or politely applauded without seemingly having a clue how to react or perhaps not even understanding what he was on about. Despite the fact Brand used to have his own ridiculous show on MTV in the UK and has hosted any number of stupid programs, he was still too intelligent and witty for the likes of this kind of awards show.
The kicker for me was when Jordin Sparks, some vapid pop idol who appears to be surrounded by an aura of holier-than-thou inauthenticity, defended promise rings by essentially calling Brand a slut. Yes, Russell Brand is a slut, but at the very least he’s completely honest about it. To attempt to preach virtue and abstinence at a show such as the VMAs where three awards can be won by a woman who is basically glorified trailer trash and whose genitals overshadowed her one single this past year (but who still kept thanking God for her awards) is absolutely ludicrous. Also, Sparks obviously didn’t know who she was up against – like Simon Amstell told Donny Tourette about taking on Bill Bailey on an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, “you won’t win.” Brand came back with a mocking apology to the newest incarnation of Hanson and to those who believe in promise rings (with one of my favourite lines, which to my memory went like this: “I don’t want to piss off teenagers, quite the opposite actually. Well, not quite the opposite, I don’t want to piss on teenagers. There’s been enough of that in the past.”)

Contrary to initial appearances, I would rather not rant extensively on how physically ill I felt watching the pieces of the VMAs I did while flicking back to the Canadian Walk of Fame show that was giving a star to one of my earlier obsessions, Michael J. Fox. Instead, I will choose to rant about the state of MTV and/or “music television” in general. What struck me even harder in the face than the fact I hated every artist performing at the VMAs was the fact these awards were supposed to be about videos. Because this was supposedly a special 25th anniversary VMAs, presenters kept paying lip service to the early days of MTV and the VMAs, reminding the audience of who won some of the first ones – names like David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Prince came up. And I would be in agreement that, like them or not, these artists deserved to win for attempting to create proper videos that were an art in their own right. You would think that at a 25th anniversary show of Video Music Awards that there would be some attempt to incorporate videos into the actual show. This attempt wasn’t made at all. Perhaps in their paranoia to stay painfully youthful and relevant, MTV opted to ignore the past entirely. (Who is MTV’s target audience anyway? Judging by the appearances by Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and the cast of High School Musical, I would guess twelve-year-olds.) Maybe it wasn’t in the budget to make creative performance pieces in tribute to older music videos. What all of this points to for me is the fact that most artists don’t make great music videos anymore. And that MTV is no longer music television – a duly noted observation for the past ten years.

Rather than broadcast a stream of music videos, MTV, and its Canadian counterparts MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic, are now built on programming. MTV-made shows like Pimp My Ride, Punk’d, Jackass, and a plethora of other horrid reality/competition shows dominate music television with usually no link to music whatsoever aside from the music played in the background of these shows or the fact these shows may follow music stars around in their daily (usually inane) lives. Last night I turned on MuchMoreMusic (the Canadian VH1) and saw Party of Five. I know I’m too young to have really watched the old style of music television during its heyday in the 80s, but I’m old enough to remember still seeing actual music videos when I was teenager. I also like to think VJs used to know something about music rather than just have the ability to flap their lips. I still recall the days when MuchMusic used to run weekend-long video marathons with themes like the 80s. That would never happen again. And one of the big reasons why is you can get streams of older videos on both the specialty cable channel MuchRetro and even more easily on YouTube. If video killed the radio star, narrowcasting and YouTube killed the video channel.

I’m not naive enough to think all music videos in the past were spectacular and creative – in many cases, earlier music videos suffered from filmmakers wanting to try too much at once. And after all, MTV was/is primarily an advertising channel. A large chunk of 80s videos are hugely cheesy rather than high art, but even with some of the cheese, these videos were memorable. Even with their postcolonial, imperialistic missteps, Duran Duran videos can still spring to mind rather quickly when the songs are played. Music videos used to be iconic. They used to push the envelope. How many videos made in the last ten years can be said to be iconic? OK Go’s YouTube success story in the form of the treadmill video for Here It Goes Again. Maybe The White Stripes’ video for Seven Nation Army. Then there are those videos that only fans would seek out and see – I personally find the videos for IAMX’s President and Song of Imaginary Beings rather visually stunning, but you’ll only ever see them online. Like every other facet of society that’s being transformed by a digital/download society, music videos can now be manufactured by anyone with access to software and the Internet and everyone can customize their own music television via computer playlists. In this process, creativity and artist independence have likely increased, but now you have to know where to look to find these quality videos as the more mainstream media like MTV have effectively squeezed out their original purpose and homogenized the music video. MTV, which used to be characterized by its slogan “I Want My MTV,” connoting some sort of youthful, subcultural choice, is now the place where you will find the least amount of choice and individuality.

And so, for who knows how long, the MTV VMAs have not celebrated videos, but merely the music itself or the flavour-of-the-year artists in some sort of disgusting Top 40 popularity contest. The Video Music Awards should just be called Music Awards and MTV should drop the “music” from its name. In which case, you’d just be watching the TV Music Awards. And I think those are called the Grammys.

Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles

Seen the Future – Lloyd Cole




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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

Diamond Rings w/ PS I Love You + The Cannon Bros. (2011)

Diamond Rings w/ Gold & Youth (2012)

Dragonette w/ Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees (2009)

Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

IAMX w/ closethuman (2007)

IAMX w/ Coma Soft + The Hourly Radio (2007)

Interpol (2007)

Janelle Monae w/ Roman GianArthur (2012)

Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ Frank Turner (2012)

Jonathan Richman (2011)

Keane w/ Lights (2009)

Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Fear of Music (2007)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Bear Hands (2009)

Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

Stroszek (2007)

The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

The Jesus and Mary Chain w/ Nightbox (2012)

The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave

Photobucket

So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun

Photobucket

Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head

Photobucket

Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away

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Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

Photobucket

Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

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You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender

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I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding

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You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black

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Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

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Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

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Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

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Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

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And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

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My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

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Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love

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We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

Photobucket

Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south

Empty

Running on

Bravado

As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different

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LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell

Photobucket

Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are

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You must let her go

She's not crying

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Baiting

Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times

Valentines

Hating

Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone

Whipcrack

Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't

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So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need

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The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest

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Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know

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No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more

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All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids

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Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome