Tag Archives: music

Make Everything Pretentious #1: Blood on the Dance Floor’s “Bewitched”

23 Aug

A college acquaintance of mine who falls into the social category of “I don’t know him extraordinarily well but it’s okay to comment on his fb posts if you can reasonably assume that he is posting something outrageous for the explicit reason that he wants people to comment ” (laugh, but I know you know what I mean) recently shared a link to a very strange music video.  And for this … thing (I’m not sure I’m comfortable calling it music again — the first time was iffy enough), outrageous might not be a strong enough adjective.

Take a watch.  And unless you can by some incredible feat of mental strength survive 4 minutes of inanity — in which case, my wide-brimmed Palm Springs summer hat is off to you, sir or madam, because I am not one of those people — I imagine that 30 seconds is about enough.

This is Blood on the Dance Floor’s “Bewitched.”

I think this merits our friend Liz Lemon saying, for all of us:

The strangest thing about this video (how do you disturb me? let me count the ways…) may be that these Blood on the Dance Floor, Lady Nogrady (no comment), and director Patrick Fogarty really tried.  I mean, they really tried.  They just threw in so many clichéd lyrics and such overwhelmingly hackneyed special effects that the end result was anything but bewitching.  More like a curse.

Unconnected as this may seem at first, the “Bewitched” video reminds me of nothing less than some of the academic articles I’ve been reading this summer to prepare for grad school in T-minus 8 days.  These authors (oh Saint Cassion of Imola! pray that I become not one of them in future days!), like Blood on the Dance Floor, are too concerned with being a part of “the scene” than producing quality work (the buzzwords, oh gods, the buzzwords!)

Which leads me to my latest project — Operation: Make Everything Pretentious!

What would happen if some scenester academic wrote a review of “Bewitched”?  Let’s take a whack at it!

From the Journal of New Media Academese

Beyond Heaven and Hormones: Romantic Attraction Reconsidered as Diabolical Eroticism

… thus, clearly, [the singer’s] repeated allusions to the supernatural are a challenge to modern scientific understandings of “love” as, in part, biologically determined, as well as rejecting the current culturally euphoric attitude surrounding romance by appealing to the more ambivalent connotations of sex in relation to the occult.

Notably, the female sex partner–described by the male singer as a “witch” holding him in thrall–holds the dominant position of power within the relationship, by means of her (albeit allegorical) allegorical theurgy, a descriptive characterization that serves to engender (pardon the pun) an incisive challenge to societal assumptions of heteronormativity, a not uncommon theme within the hermeneutics of artistic discourse.  And so in summation–

It’s totes obv.

Save this video for Valentine’s Day, folks.  Or maybe Halloween.


Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage Goes Gaga

1 May

I know the Lady Gaga video parodies are legion, but Soomo Publishing’s “Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage” really knocks out all comers.  I don’t care if Lady Gaga is no longer relevant by the time I’m teaching history courses of my own, but I can promise you one thing: I will be showing this in class.  As an historically-accurate music video (can we have more of those please?), it stands on its own.

Not going to lie — I cried a little at the end.


Damn, is Alice Paul a badass or what?

Musical Advice from 1900: Don’t Be a Gold Digger

1 May

Now that I’m graduating from college, I’ve gotten some joking (I hope) comments from friends and family that I’m going to grad school far, far away on the East coast in order to find some rich WASP-y law student to marry.  Because that’s why people get PhDs.  Seven years hunched over books in a library carrel just screams “Marry me!”

Anyway, all this reminds me of my favorite Victorian-era sentimental ballad: “A Bird in a Gilded Cage.”  Like virtually all 19th/early-20th century tear-jerkers, it features a beautiful woman dying of despair because she gets trapped in a bad relationship (in this case, she’s a gold digger who marries an old guy for his money).

I know we tend to think of “the olden days” as a time when women necessarily married for money and then pined away for love all the rest of their days, but in the 19th century ideas of romantic love and “companionate marriage” were superseding the old patriarchal model of arranged, economic marriages.  This was the golden age of all things sentimental.  I can’t listen to this song without laughing, but if I were a Victorian lady, I’d probably be bawling my eyes out.

So here it is:

Bonus Story!  The day I defended my thesis (a couple weeks ago) I called up my elder sister Kate the Lostie and sang this song into her voicemail. Later I sang it into a webcam for my bemused family (and they’re the only ones who will ever, ever see it).  Apparently after doing some Wikipedia-ing, her response was thus:

“According to Von Tilzer, he was approached in 1899 by Lamb with the lyrics for a song. Although Von Tilzer liked it, he asked Lamb to change some of the words to make it clear that the woman in the song was married and not a mistress. Later that evening, as he worked out a melody at a piano in a public house with some friends, he noticed that many of the girls nearby were crying, which convinced him the song could be a hit.”

haha maybe they were crying bc they could relate

Insightful and eloquent as always, my sister.

Have a Very Merry Atheist Advent!

30 Nov

Back when I sang hymns, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was by far my favorite.  Maybe I was a gloomy, glowering child, but I liked the haunting advent melody much better than I ever did any of the garish Christmas Day songs (not least because they make sopranos so damn smug.  There have to be some altos in heaven, right?).  And besides, prisoners, exile, and lamentation are way more fun.

I know this is a science fiction review site, but ’tis the season, after all.  And since it’s almost December, it’s time for the 2nd Annual Countercultural Christmas posts!  Last year, you may recall, I laid out my reasons for not misleading my hypothetical future children into believing that a magical obese man will break into our house on the night of December 24– see: Natural Skeptics, Kids and the Santa Myth.

This year’s even better!

I’ve recently discovered in the blogosphere a fellow who, while less jolly than Santa Claus, is much more musical: “Atheist Advent” writes a song a day during the Advent season just for those who aren’t so into the Christ part of Christmas.  “Advent songs on a godless guitar,” as the motto goes.  Or in his own eloquent words:

I don’t want to cast bitter disillusion over the Advent season. The iron dustbin lid of winter, as it slams across this pole, does a better job of this than any human can. How I wish I was in Australia! –But I might as well wish to be in another solar system.

Atheist Advent is this: Me writing a song each day about the things that are on my mind as the solstice approaches. And if any of them are any good, and if anyone listens to them and likes them, that is a greater present than Santa Claus, mumbling incoherently into his yellow beard, and grinding the cracked paint of his blackened sledge, could ever heave down my chimney.

Listening to some of the songs from 2009’s Xmas season, I’m already enjoying them.  This holiday season, the Scattering will have some new songs to sing while the fam goes to church.