Thursday, February 17, 2011

...why musicians share the same background for their music videos.

See, that's what I said too.

So you're young female musician and you rock, right? You're all busy being yourself, generally taking the music world by storm. You're dropping hot beats while keeping your cool; you're engaging and lovely and you're teaching the young girls of the next generation to keep your top on, be fit, be respected on your own terms and then you go and do this. You go and SHARE your background for your VIDEO with another female artists, thus negating the importance of your individuality and strength in the commercial marketplace that is life. Like, what?!

Don't get me wrong, I love pop music. For all my love of high culture and my ability to separate my Chopin from my Flaubert from my Bach from my Degas, my Dali, my George Eliot and David Hasselhoff, I really heart the tunes of Ellie Goulding and Florence and the Machine. I love their tunes to the point that I wish so dearly wish that I were still a teenager or at least in my early twenties so I could reasonably pine, and feel rejected and behave in irrational ways like the songs of these two songstresses make me want to do. So it wasn't reeeally my current self that was slightly taken aback when the same background showed up in both videos, it was my mid-to-late-teens-early-twenties self. Let's look, shall we? The first is Florence and the Machine's 'Cosmic Love':

Woah! Like, wicked lights slightly blurred by the lens in the camera to make deeply hued hexagons. Nice one, Florence. I also like the fact that you are walking through a forest, in your school uniform while these sparkly hexagons disappear and reappear (and we find out later they are multi-coloured light bulbs suspended from some unseen ceiling), sometimes around you, sometimes on the mirror behind you while you slither around in a black bodysuit with cuts out of it. And that mirror scene - props to the camera person for not appearing in the film at all. Tricky stuff. I love the idea behind this film and the song: 'I took the stars from your eyes and then I made a map'. This line makes me think of lodestars, and Shakespeare, and then it goes onto remind me of TS Eliot's mariner whose eyes were pearls. Yowzah. Perhaps unintended but nice. Nevertheless, I digress.

To Ellie! Lights!

Woah! Beginning of the song you feel like you've fallen back into Florence and the Machine's Shakespeare cum Wasteland epic of a song. And then the song's title is a bit of a misnomer for a while as Ellie dances a bit in front of A light, rather than multiple. Then she dances, or is caught mid-dance I suppose, among computer-generated graphics at which point I'm like 'What?! This woman is making huge money from some record mogul and the BEST you can do is have her pose in front of a green screen so you can paint some poorly wrought graphics around her?! For realze!?' Then, at 1:13 Florence's bulbs show up again and do so intermittently throughout the rest of the video. Leave the rest of the video to be defined by a meaningful graphic here, random, stoic pose from Ellie there, and everybody loves it. And then at 3:05 Ellie is, all of a sudden using her drumsticks as a light sabre! Win! At this moment I would also like to point out the similarity Ellie's shirt in this video is to Florence's in Cosmic Love. Again, record mogul dudes, couldn't we pony out some more cash for different shirts for our ladies? Individuals here? And then Ellie's light sabre breaks and she gets lost in Florence's hexagonal lights.

Right. So now that I have expounded at great lengths about these videos, I have realised (a) just how similar they are and (b) how angry this makes me. Good artists. Distinctive taste and style. Killer sound quite distinct from other things before them (but now infinitely repeated but less talented folk). And the best that could be done for either of them was to share the lighting background? Dudes. This does not a happy Molly make. I can feel my hackles going up, like if these were dude musician there is no way on the whole Planet Earth that their background would be the same. Interesting, no?

Molly is done wondering on this one. But she thinks you should enjoy the videos and watch out for their uncanny similarities.[Another: they're both all alone. Hmm.] [Also, I realise that if these ladies were highly involved in the creative processes of these videos I look a bit like a lemon, but oh well, critical analysis always saw me making real connections where others only saw thin possibility.]

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