• Before I begin, as this is a contentious, feminist issue, I want to assure that the opinions expressed in the following are that of my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of PhantEye as a whole. (MB) That said, SEX. Got your attention? Did I rile you? Then I just committed pornography, which according to my friend Merriam-Webster, is "the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction." And that seems to be the goal of most music videos these days. The rules got rewritten last decade when MTV ran away from its original purpose of delivering music to the cable-subscribing masses. The Internet is such a cacophony of content that artists, directors and other "visionaries" needed a way to... erm... rise above the cream. Now enter the era of the not-safe-for-work video, or NSFW for short. What trend-watcher, accountant or red-blooded American male can argue with such a development? When Robin Thicke's (a pornographic name unto itself) "Blurred Lines" racks up more than 121 million views, and YouTube alters its terms of service to keep Justin Timberlake's boobfest, "Tunnel Vision" on the site, everyone's happy... right? First off, the term "not safe for work" is ludicrous because unless you work in the entertainment or media industries, every music video should be NSFW! Hey, slacker, that's not what your boss is paying you for! And even if you are blessed to have a workplace where music-listening is encouraged, why not use any number of audio services that won't risk the five-second flash of T & A? Or can we just admit that songs with videos that rely on such overt pornography are actually kind of lame? "Tunnel Vision" stays on the same silky but sleepy plane for seven minutes. Anyone would need aural Viagra to get through such a snoozer. And Foals' "Late Night" (which features auto-erotic asphyxiation and a very graphic bed romp) plods and mewls. So not sexy. What's more, "Late Night," directed by provocateur Nabil Elderkin, is not an equal-opportunity porno. Breasts are in full view, but come the scene where the man is drilling his conquest, his butt gets blurred. And do we see Thicke or Timberlake giving us their dicks in a box, as naked women frolic around them? Of course not. The roles of power are firmly in place. Naked equals vulnerable equals feminine. Mod Carousel has its heart in the right place, as the male burlesque group took on "Blurred Lines" in the gender reversal seen above. It's kitschy; it's fun. The female vocalists do a heck of a better job conveying lust than the Lothario Thicke does. But it's not a means to an end. Just like comparing a hetero-catering gentleman's club to Chippendales, stripping entertainment for straight women almost comes off as comical because hetero females are generally not as turned on by visual stimuli as males are. We get a laugh out of Mod Carousel's production, maybe a high-five over its messing with the misogyny of the song. Then there's the curious case of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Sacrilege." The video reeks of slut-shaming, as British actress Lily Cole is burned at the stake by a cadre of lovers. But it becomes a conundrum when considering the song is sang by one of rock's most fearsome women, Karen O. Are the visuals actually a commentary and damning of slut-shaming, and not a glorifying of such? But then, considering the divine Miss O was never into "the whole feminist movement or anything like that," maybe it's just apologetic porn. Musicians, come on. You can still titillate without the tits. Yes, in this SEO-driven world, the meta data of "boobs and more boobs" will possibly rank your video above those on YouPorn. But what of true artistry, something an entire family can be wowed over? Are you so afraid the songs can't stand on their own that you have to be crass to get noticed? It's a sad state of affairs when an anonymous actress's rack becomes more important than the pursuit of a killer riff.

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  • Kokoba Kokoba
    3 years ago

    Terrible as the song/music video is, it's catchy as hell. So many conflicting feminist feelings about enjoying it.