Sunday, April 1, 2012

Favourite Pop Music Videos

I grew up with pop music, played in a band for a few years and still find some great stuff to listen to and, more and more, to watch. Well, as I should, since it is the dominant musical culture of our time! But I don't listen to a lot of it. Here are the four pop music videos that I have enjoyed the most lately. And I'll take a stab at figuring out why. First up, BeyoncĂ© and a single from 2008:

Not too much in the melody or harmony to get excited about, but the drum track is intriguingly eccentric. Good dance routine. But what I really like is the austerity of it: black and white, three dancers only and an absolutely minimal set. The accompaniment is austere too with raw synthesizer sounds and drum track. Now for a song from 2009 by Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga:

What should we call that? Sex-funk-dance-electronica? It seems baroque with the exaggerated affect, costumes and decadent lyrics. Not to mention the electric harpsichord intro and extro. Great pop song. The next one is Buddhist-techno-Martial Arts Dance. Never heard of that genre? Well, this is unique. I think this came out in 2009 or 2010. In any case, long  before the Japanese earthquake of 2011, so this is NOT a response to that as many websites claim.

If the first two were austere Dionysian and baroque Dionysian, this is more Buddhist Apollonian. Lots of subtleties here. Another song, this time the dance was filmed in New York:

The music seems suitable and the lyrics are intriguing, but it is really the dance that fascinates. The moves mostly derive, I believe, from martial arts because Genki Sudo, the leader, is a retired mixed martial arts champion famous for his theatrical entrances. Like this one:

Yep, it's a big dance routine with really outrageous costumes. I think he is supposed to be a Mayan emperor. At the very beginning there is a passing shot of his opponent (who I think was Ramon Dekker) but the first four minutes are Genki Sudo's entrance. And the fight is over in the next four minutes. What could his opponent possibly be thinking of all this folderol? Is it demoralizing watching this entrance? But what about Genki Sudo? Wouldn't it be extremely embarrassing if he loses? Of course he doesn't. Most of these kinds of matches end with a submission meaning that one fighter gets the other one in a hold that he cannot easily escape from and that can result in severe injury. So you submit. Dekker gets an advantage at the beginning, but Genki Sudo patiently waits his moment, then applies a heel-hook submission hold and that's it. He won a match over an American super-heavyweight (around 350 lbs) once with a leg submission hold. Genki Sudo weighs about 150 lbs. Safe to say that he is probably the only pop star that does not need a bodyguard. I have one more for you, again, completely different. This dates from 1968. A particularly dark song by John Lennon performed live by him, Mitch Mitchell (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) on drums, Keith Richards (of the Rolling Stones) on bass and Eric Clapton on guitar.

I think all four of these are great examples of pop music. What do you think?

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