22 February 2010

John Lennon - Spinning In Grave

8 Adar - Year 5770

I don't know how many of you have seen this. Pixie and I were watching TV the other night. Well, she was watching, I was reading Vico's "The New Science". Suddenly, this is shown:

Yes, that's a film of John Lennon (it looks like it was filmed in 1968, around the time of the White Album sessions). No, it's not actually him speaking, but a Scouser impressionist. This seems to be so cringingly bad on so many levels to me, that it nearly hurts. Firstly, even if Lennon (hypothetically) would have those 'anti-retro' views, I strongly suspect he wouldn't have used them to sell cars. Personally, I suspect he would've enjoyed new bands using elements of 60s and 70s music in their own creations. But I don't know that, and neither do the ad-makers know if he would say "Do your own thing." Secondly, why didn't they just get an actor who looks like Lennon did in 1979, instead of using a clip from '68--it just makes the spoken-word part seem even more incongruous. Lennon may have been ahead of his time, but admonishing critters for 'being nostalgic for the 60s and 70s' in a film from 1968 just looks stupid. Not that most advertisers 'are' the sharpest knives in the drawer, mind.

Yep, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for counter-culture icons being used to sell crap...this happens. I still can't get over Led Zeppelin's Rock And Roll used in a Range Rover ad, as was The Who's Baba O'Riley. Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze was used in a Pepsi ad...and I suspect that Janis Joplin's Piece Of My Heart has been used in an ad at some point. I also remember the 80s, when Budweiser sponsored tours by Eric Clapton and Genesis, among others. The early 1990s Nick Drake Volkswagen ad made me uneasy, too. I recall supporters of the ad saying "Nick would've liked it - he wanted to get his music out to as many people as possible." Really? In 1972, when he recorded Pink Moon, Nick Drake was so depressed, he could barely talk. I strongly suspect he wasn't concerned with selling cars through a commercial.

There was considerable outrage when Nike tried using The Fabs' Revolution in a commercial in 1988. It'll be interesting to see if the Citroen one gets the same reaction, or if using classic rock songs to push products has become so commonplace that no-one even notices. If Johnny Rotten can appear in butter ads and Iggy Pop is hawking car insurance, I suppose doctoring a clip of Lennon to sell cars 'is' just everyday stuff now.

10 February 2010

Pop Video Observations

Sweetmorn, Chaos 41, Year of Our Lady of Discord 3176

So I've been going to the gym since November (shock, horror!). I know, I know - it's only once a week, though. I'm still practising yoga three times a week. The gym we go to (yep, Pixie's going as well) is in the local sports centre. All around the upper walls are a bunch of TeeVees. Some show Sky News or one of the BBC stations. A few of them are tuned to videos of the latest pop hits, on channels like Viva TV or E4.

Now, given the fast-buck, sleb-creating style of many of the tunes--you'd expect the videos would be roughly the same. You'd be correct. I suppose I finally am getting old, but viewing some of this stuff seems like a train-wreck to me. I probably could avoid watching them, but I can't help it..they're so bad, they're..well, not good, but curious. I'm not intending this as a sort-of "back in my day.." spiel...as anyone who watched a lot of phlegM-TeeVee in the early 80s will attest to the volume of sheer crap that was broadcast. Still, most of the UK 'Top-Twenty' clips that I've watched lately seem to have been directed by the same team of fashion-school drop-outs. There's certain elements present in them: 1) The band or singer is in a large room, either brightly lit or dimly lit 2) The 'outrageous' costuming, meant to seem futuristic or S&M (I can't decide) 3) Lots and lots of slow motion 4) Katy Perry is 'featured'

Here's one - it's for Alexandra Burke's 'girl-power' anthem, Broken Heels:

Can someone tell me why they're posing as an American football team (as Burke is a British singer)? I mean, the whole gist of the lyrics seem to be about how girls can do anything boys can--but no joke, I think if Alex and her dancers were to play those dudes in football, there'd be a lot of stretchers involved. You're saying "But P.G., you're taking this way too seriously." That may be - but these videos puzzle me. I'm only trying to get some answers.

Here's another one - by the not-so-cleverly monikered 3Oh!3. The tune is called Starstrukk (yes, they're actually spelling it that way):

I couldn't embed the video - so you have to click here.

Notice the ubiqitous slow-motion and hey look, it's Katy Perry! I'm not sure why it's become de rigeur to have her in one's video--she had one crappy hit about three years ago (the faux-raunchy I Kissed A Girl--which shares a title with Jill Sobule's (admittedly coy) much more subtle 90s tune) and suddenly, she's friggin' everywhere. I'm not sure why the various ladies are charging at the two twats in the band--at first, I thought it was to hit them for crimes against music.

Lady GaGa, another culprit, 'gives' us her latest opus, Bad Romance:

I admit I have no fucking clue what is happening in that video. What are the white, spike-topped PVC costumes about? Same with the dudes sitting around in a circle with bits of Roman centurion helmets attached to their faces. It's like a 12-step meeting out of Blade Runner. It's got the large room and the bright lighting covered--the goofy clothes, too. Shame Katy didn't show up--they would've had everything in there. I don't know what the video has to do with bad romance, but there you go.

Here's Cheryl Cole, the Geordie one out of Girls Aloud. I think she's stolen a pair of MC Hammer's pyjamas and a Canadian border-guard uniform. Are the blood-red ink splatters supposed to be 'edgy', or a sly hommage to Ralph Steadman? I'm lost with this video as well. At least it's set in a big room with bright lighting--still no Katy Perry...I may have to re-think that part of my hypothesis.

Here's the video - I couldn't embed this one either.

And finally - it's Rihanna, with Hard:

I sorta get that she's equating being hard (which is 'tough' in UK slang) with soldiers and guns, but what's with the black spikey suit? Did a Marvel superhero have a garage sale? I dunno, I suppose this video will appeal to armchair generals, chickenhawks and Guns And Ammo enthusiasts. This one's set outside - so it does blow my "large room" theory a bit. It does have the outrageous clothes and some slow-mo, too, so I'm not way-off in my assessment.

Try to watch these without sound, as the tunes seem fairly crap to me. The Cheryl Cole one's kinda catchy, so be warned, it will get stuck in your head. You'll then have to spend the next few days listening to the Butthole Surfers or early Black Sabbath to erase your brain. As I say, I think I'm finally getting old.

04 February 2010

Oh Noes!

19 Safar - Year 1431

If Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie can't keep it together, what hope do the rest of us mere mortals have???!!???!!

(paraphrased off of a quote by Janeane Garofalo, from one of her comedy shows I watched on the telly ages ago)