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the only sound that's left after the ambulances go

Video of the Week: “Video” by India.Arie March 9, 2013

Filed under: India.Arie,Video of the Week — yourbirdcansing88 @ 12:22 AM
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This week’s music video is a feel-good number from way back in the year 2000.  I remember VH1 used to play this video a lot back when I was in seventh grade (back when I was a VH1 junkie and the channel’s motto was still “Music First”), which was a very self-conscious time for me.  I really don’t want to go into detail about how much I’d learned to hate myself at that time, but I will say this much:  the great thing about this song is that it not only declares the singer’s own-self esteem, but it does so in a way that actively encourages self-esteem in others.  Which is a really big deal, since it seems that most works of self-praise (especially those done for and/or about women) imply that one has to put others down before one can feel good about oneself.  But self-esteem need not be a zero-sum game, as India.Arie so effortlessly demonstrates with “Video”.  Enjoy.

 

 

Video of the Week: “Rock ‘N’ Roll” by The Runaways March 2, 2013

Today (or yesterday, depending on when this gets posted and what time zone we’re going by) starts Women’s History Month.  So I’ve decided to celebrate with this video capturing a live performance by one of the most badass bands of all time, The Runaways.  For some reason (probably that they were more or less seen as a gimmick or a novelty or whatever, which yeah, they were kind of marketed as), they were way more popular in Japan than in their native US (probably because being a gimmick/novelty does not hurt one’s street cred in Japan like it does in the states.  It might even be actively encouraged, or so I’ve been led to believe).  Which is a shame, because they really rocked hard-core.  Their image and musical style was very glam (check out frontwoman Cherie Currie’s Ziggy Stardust swagger in this video), but as far as attitude and sticking it to the man, they were just as punk as, well, their punk contemporaries (yeah, deal with it, Sex Pistols).  I mean, they were the biggest all-female rock band of their time, and just in case their name doesn’t ring a bell, surely you’ve at least heard of Joan Jett and possibly Lita Ford, both of whom got their start in The Runaways (Joan’s the one in the red jumpsuit, like I even need to point that out since her look still hasn’t changed much except for that brief period when she had the platinum blond buzzcut; Lita’s the one in the supershiny short-shorts).  That’s right.  Two guitar hero(in)es in the making here.  And the thing I love about this song is, it’s like those myriad songs about how rock ‘n’ roll had a profound impact on an impressionable youth (think “Shooting Star” by…one of those Paul Rogers groups or something…you know the one, about Johnny and how old he was when he heard his first Beatles song.  That one), but this one is about it affecting a young girl in that way, which is kind of unusual even today.   Enjoy.

 

 

Oh, and one last thing:  a few years ago, a biopic of The Runaways called (duh!) The Runaways was made.  The feature-length debut of music video director Floria Sigismondi (she did that weird Christina Aguilera “Fighter” video.  Also, she’s done at least one video for each of Jack White’s bands.  Which makes her pretty awesome in my book), the flick is worth a watch, even if you’re a bit skeptical of Kristen Stewart’s acting skills (I was/still kind of am.  But she was pretty good as Joan Jett in this movie, I thought) or wary of seeing Dakota Fanning in fancy lingerie (don’t ask.  For what it’s worth, it’s an iconic outfit that Cherie Currie really did wear in real life when she was about the same age, and she was more or less marketed against her will as jailbait.  Currie, I mean, not Fanning.  Oh, and just be glad you’re not watching Hounddog.  Yipes), or if you’re made uncomfortable by the occasional lesbian subtext (because Joan Jett actually is…I’m not entirely sure what, but she’s almost definitely not totally heterosexual, at the very least).

 

Video of the…er…Current Indeterminate Interval of Time: “I’m Shakin'” by Jack White February 21, 2013

Filed under: Jack White,Video of the Week — yourbirdcansing88 @ 12:25 AM
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If you’re a faithful follower of my blog (yeah, as if), you probably know that I love me some Jack White.  And if you recall the last time I posted about Jack White, you’ll remember that this was my reaction to his then-pretty-new music video for “Freedom at 21”:

SIX MONTHS DUNGEON!

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

(in case it isn’t obvious, the big angry sourpuss is supposed to be me. The handsome peppermint dandy is Jack. Because well duh)
 

I’m not even going to trouble myself with explaining once again why I had such an averse reaction to the video.  If you’re curious, you can read it all here (hint:  sexism and cliches beget such ugly babies).  Well, I want you all to know that even though I still consider the aforementioned video to be a pathetic disappointment, I’ve decided not to let that weigh too much on my opinion of Mr. White, because since then he’s done several things to remind me that he’s still absolutely wonderful.  And one of those things was his next video, “I’m Shakin'”, which came out back in October or whenever.  Yeah, I was going to write about it back then, but only a few days after I discovered the video, Sandy happened, and I was living in (okay, a really spoiled version of) the dark ages for several days.  Thus, my plans for this blog post kind of fell by the wayside.  The reason I’m writing about it now is because I’ve recently fallen even more head-over-heels back in love with Jack White since then, what with him performing on the Grammys a couple weeks ago, which actually gave me a reason to bother watching the Grammys, which I haven’t done since 2009 (back when Consolers of the Lonely was up for some awards but didn’t get anything, so I wasted a good two or three hours waiting to at least see the Raconteurs accept an award, but to no avail.  That’s right; Jack White is pretty much my only reason to ever watch the Grammys).  And well, that rekindled my love for the man all over again, to the point that I spent Valentine’s Day watching my DVDs of Under Blackpool Lights, It Might Get Loud, and Under Great White Northern Lights to celebrate my unabashed fangirl love for the man (I’m single and unemployed; what else am I supposed to do?).

If feeling this way about Jack White is wrong, I am neither willing nor capable of being right.

So here’s an illustration of my current attitude towards Mr. White. Yup, back to normal.

Anyway, more about this video:  it’s basically the most badass Doublemint gum commercial that never happened.  There’s two Jack Whites in this video (because the only thing that could possibly be better than one Jack White is two Jack Whites), one fronting each of his two backing bands, the all-male Buzzards and the all-female Peacocks (which I think is a weird name for an all-female group, considering peacocks are, by definition, male peafowl.  But peahens are neither as well-known, nor nearly as pretty as their male counterparts, so whatevs.  I’d say birds are weird that way, but it’s actually humans who have all the weird ideas about gender presentation).  Yay for pretty much equal representation of men and women!  And yay for badass women rockers!  Special mention also goes to Jack’s two female backup singers, who, along with Jack, get to perform with both groups, which means that the ones performing with the Buzzards get to wear some snazzy suits.  Not stripperiffic versions of male uniforms, either; I mean suits that are maybe tailored a bit more to the female body, but otherwise just like the suits the dudes are wearing.  They even got hats.  Now the only thing that would make this even more perfect is if one of the Jacks was wearing a kilt (he’s been known to wear kilts on occasion, or at least back when he was in The White Stripes and The Raconteurs.  He’s part-Scottish and everything, too), but hey, the photo-negative-y suits he wears are awesome enough (and for me, kinda reminiscent of “Daddy’s Song”).  Plus, the two dancers who are in the video for no discernable reason beyond just being totally awesome (I’m especially impressed with the male dancer’s moves.  Holy crap).  And then there’s  that little wiggle Jack does at about 1:50-1:53 which is the most adorable thing in the whole wide world.  Well, that and the way Jack pronounces the word “nervous” in the song (I’d say it was in a “Joizee” accent, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m from New Jersey and know better.  But I’ve been in love with that pronunciation of “nervous” ever since I heard Mae West say it in She Done Him Wrong).  So anyway, enjoy.

 

 

Video of the Week: “Daddy’s Song” by Davy Jones March 4, 2012

Filed under: The Monkees,Video of the Week — yourbirdcansing88 @ 5:20 PM
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There’s actually two reasons why I chose this video for this week.  The first is to honor the memory of Davy Jones, who passed away earlier this week.  The second is that my dad’s birthday was also this week.  Happy birthday, Dad.  And rest in peace, Davy Jones.

 

This video is a scene from HEAD, The Monkees’ one and only feature film (and one of my favorite movies).  The movie kickstarted my obsession with The Monkees which lasted almost the entirety of my freshman year of college.  I’d always been a fan of their music, but HEAD introduced me to the prefab four as individual characters.  What’s also awesome about this video is that it features cameos from Toni Basil (yes, that Toni Basil.  Who apparently had a huge crush on Monkee Micky Dolenz, hence the title of her one and only hit) and Frank Zappa (and Frank Zappa’s talking cow).  Oh, and just a warning, there are some parts of this video that feature rapid, flashing cuts between shots, and so might be problematic for those of you with photosensitive epilepsy or other such conditions.  But otherwise, enjoy.

 

 

Video of the Week: “Eighteen” by Alice Cooper February 16, 2012

This week’s video is dedicated to my kid brother, who’s celebrating a very special birthday today.  Happy b-day, bro!

 

 

Video(s) of the Week (or, y’know, whatever): “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, etc. by The Darkness February 9, 2012

This week, I give you a trilogy of videos featuring British neo-glam-rockers The Darkness and their horseshoe crab-shaped spaceship of hedonistic fantabulosity.  First up is their most famous song/video, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”.  Being the bitter little Valentine’s Scrooge that I am, I wasn’t planning on posting a Video of the Week for a song that had anything positive to say about love this close to the dreaded holiday.  However, a few nights ago an annual event that, ordinarily, I also care very little for — that is, the Superbowl — reminded me of just how awesome this song is.  Admidst all of the expensive overblown crap that makes up the majority of Super Bowl advertising (the kind that has me screaming uncharacteristic obscenities at the TV such as, “godaddy.co?!  How ’bout gofuckyourself.repeatedly!”), there was this expensive overblown work of genius supposedly made to promote some product or other by Samsung (like I gave a crap about that), but actually was a celebration of universal joy and an official announcement for those who were not previously in the know that The Darkness are back!  I mean, it’s cute that Samsung believes they can convince the masses that some new…thingy…can generate that much excitement and merriment out of nowhere, but I’m pretty sure it was Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins’s sudden and unexplained materialization — complete with guitar and hot-pink-striped-jumpsuit — that was the real cause of the mass cavort-fest that ensued.  I know I was so excited, I was almost able to ignore the unfortunate new growth of hair Justin’s got attached to his face.  To be quite honest, though, I didn’t discover how awesome The Darkness were until around 2008, when VH1 mentioned them on an episode of I Love the New Millenium.  See, back in 2003, when the song and video came out, I was a lot younger and more prudish than I am today, and so a video that begins with a naked man emerging from a heart-shaped hottub and getting dried (fondled?) by a big ol’ towel monster in a room decorated with lesbo-erotic naked sculpture just didn’t appeal to me, no matter how awesome the rest of the video was (not to mention how adorable and cuddly that towel monster looks, nor how hot I would eventually find said naked man to be).  But at nineteen, at which age I was already in the middle of a glam rock obsession (T. Rex and early Bowie and the like), I realized what I couldn’t have known as a sheltered fourteen-year-old:  that this crap was amazing.  So without any further ado, here’s the pure, undiluted joy that is “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”:

 

 

Up next, we have the much lesser-known “Friday Night”, which picks up exactly where “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” left off.  Having defeated the dreaded Puppet-Cthulhu of Doom, The Darkness now find themselves crash landing in the middle of the ocean on good ol’ planet earth.  They eventually find themselves stranded in an episode of The Mighty Boosh (even though this video was made at least a year before “The Nightmare of Milky Joe” aired), where they are pampered by leftover extras from the most recent low-budget, poorly-researched production of South Pacific.  I’m not entirely comfortable with the whole appropriation/fetishization/stereotyping of indiginous island women, but otherwise, this video is tons of fun.  Particularly the incredibly fake croc/gator that appears during the “Tuesday gymnastics” line.  And the Bugs Bunny-type scenario that the band wind up in at the video’s end.   And yes, I know the song’s lyrics are quite silly.  Until you get to the line towards the end where he sings “‘Cause the way she moves moves me to write bad poetry,” which leads me to believe that’s entirely the point.  And anyway, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, The Darkness are kind of a silly band.  And somehow that just seems to add to their awesomeness.

 

 

While “Friday Night” was a direct sequel to “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, it’s a bit ambiguous where “Growing on Me” fits into the whole space oddysey narrative of the previous two videos.  My strongest guess is that it’s a prequel to “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, in which we get to see how The Darkness were conceived (apparently by pterodactyl-on-spaceship vo-dee-oh-do-do), and apparently hatched out of egg-type-sac-thingies laid by their mothership (haha, get it?! Mothership?!).  They grow fast from nearly-pubescent, helicopter-savvy boys to grown men who spend their days frolicking around a mansion in some dimensional intersection of the English countryside (circa 18-something) and fairyland.  Also, in case “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” didn’t give you quite enough of Mr. Hawkins prancing around in nothing but a pixel bikini, there’s even more of that in this one.  Y’know, if you’re into that kinda thing (like I know I am).  Apparently this song is about genital warts.  Which I thought was just an immature joke/speculation, but the more I listen to this song, the more I believe it’s true.  Whatever.  All’s I know is, the song frickin’ rocks.

 

 

Video of the Week: “Drive” by Incubus September 20, 2011

Filed under: Video of the Week — yourbirdcansing88 @ 10:48 PM
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Yeah, sorry about not posting in like a week.  There really wasn’t any reason behind it, just a pathetic case of writer’s block.  I realize the latest Video of the Week is long overdue, so here it is.  I remember hearing this song a lot around the time it came out, which was during those hellish pre-teen years that I’d prefer to forget all about.  I don’t think I really understood the song back then, but I think I recall finding the video kinda cool.  But then, I was always a sucker for M.C. Escher, so there ya go.  Anyway, this song now has a profound relevance to my life right now, though in perhaps a more literal way than was intended by Brandon Boyd, the band’s oft-shirtless frontman.  See, the song is supposedly about getting over the fear that runs our lives and keeps us from our real desires.  Or something.  And that’s kinda what’s been going on with me right now, at least when it comes to actually, literally driving.  I’ve had my license for almost six years, but in those six years, my crippling fear of actually driving has kept me from actually using that license to…you know, go places (and I don’t mean getting into bars and casinos.  Which is a perk, I guess, even though I don’t gamble and the taste of alcohol makes me gag).  But I’ve realized now that my parents and little brother drive me around forever, and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel it would be kinda nice to go places and not depend on other people to get me there.  So I’ve finally decided to do something about it, started practicing driving again, and have set a goal:  by next week, I’ll be driving myself and my mom to work (we work in the same building).  And then maybe next month, I’ll be able to drive…other places that are even a little bit further away?  But enough about my sad little life.  Here’s the stinkin’ video.  Enjoy.