This morning, I woke up thinking of The Beatles. There’s a reason for that, but it has little to do with the matter I wish to discuss here, so I’m not going to tell.
Anyway, cerebrally looped into the various marvels their discography has to offer (I sang ‘I Am The Walrus’ while I brushed my teeth – the “coo coo ca choo” bit’s ideal with a mouthful of foam – and I sang ‘Strawberry Fields’ as I washed, Etc.) I opened up my iTunes and indulged in a little Beatles session.
Before too long, the jubilant ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ started playing. I drifted off a bit – I danced with only my head as well – reflecting on not just the energy of the track and how much I love it, but how innocent its sentiment is. Everyone knows the song, so I won’t defrag too much, but basically speaking, the best thing EVER that could happen to a boy who fancied a girl was get to sit on a park bench holding hands. Okay; I threw the park bench in there. They might have been at a bop or on a bus, but you get the picture.
Fast forward nearly 50 years and what are the pop stars warbling on about these days? Well, pretty much full-blown sex quite frequently, with descriptions, often a few words that need to be fuzzed out so it can be aired on radio, frequently rounded off with soft porn posing as an accompanying video.
Look; I’m not a prude by any stretch. I’m aware of the fact I sound like my mother (nay, my granny), but when I was a kid, it didn’t get much worse than Damian or Berlin. Sure, there was that shirt scene in Top Gun to the backdrop of Berlin. What can I say? It’s hardly Skepta‘s idea of a sexy time. I suppose there was Madonna, pouring wax on her otter’s pocket or whatever she did, and perhaps the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing, but I didn’t get much further than The ITV Chart Show. Even then, it wasn’t on demand, plus they’d only cherry pick what videos they broadcast.
And so these days you’ve got the internet. Along with that, you’ve got a generation of people under 12-years-old who were more or less born with Intel programming in their blood and can skate their way around a computer like Torval and Dean. You’ve got pop videos now that are often movies in their own right. And then you’ve also got the likes of Rhianna and Lady Gaga…
My neighbour’s daughter is eight-years-old. At school, her and her friends devise dance routines to the aforementioned contemporary songstresses’ music. Countless are the times when she’s come round to my house and requested to overtake my laptop for five minutes with a YouTube video to show me her latest amendment to her skit. She navigates her way through YouTube without help and brings up either Rhianna or Lady Gaga songs, complete with their official videos. She dances, not provocatively, but perhaps precautious for a person who’s not quite four feet high, the whole time, keeping her eyes glued to the screen while she bodypops about.
Now, the lyrics are one thing and where it could be argued that the songs in this instance are lyrically suggestive at worst, the vids definitely ain’t. My young neighbour is Spanish so the words are more or less lost on her (although she appears to mime along pretty precisely…) but she’s not blind.
I chewed over the new Lady Gaga song, ‘Judas’, and, yes, its grindy wee vid resolving that there was no way I’d mention it on this blog, let alone post it up. However, The Beatles changed that this morning. To be fair, Gaga’s made fruitier songs and attendant moving pictures, but still; the three-way bath clip is a little implicit. And don’t get me started on her appropriation of Mary Magdalene and the apostles. I’m not remotely religious but cahm awn, Lady G.
There are three-year-olds adopting a Beatlemania type insanity for Justin Beiber. Music and their videos are accessed by children of younger and younger ages. Why then do the videos become more and more racy and the songs lewder? Or, should we not be outraged and accept instead that it’s level-pegging with how I took that Top Gun shirt scene and Dirty Dancing on the chin? After all, that alarmed the shit out of my mum. Whatever the case, we’ve come a long way since just holding hands was rock and roll…