Thursday, June 13, 2013

Generic, Viral, Exploitive, and Career Making: #Thicke

From time to time, as a public service, I post viral videos that most of us in the, ahem, grayer demographics are most likely unaware. Most of my tips come via my teenage daughter and other millennials (as was Gangham Style and Fatty Boom Boom).

Such is the case with Blurred Lines (below). Watch a snippet of the first vid below—the YouTube edit—for comparison purposes and then go to the second version. (When the distance between the G and R rated versions is only a click away it does seem kind of silly.) What would a culture look like if it'd been raised on free and easy porn and Seth McFarlane grade humor? The second video could be the answer. It's a place, apparently, where subtlety has no currency. Why don't we do it in the road seems abstract by comparison—the do it leaving too much room for interpretation.

Oh, and Robin Thicke says he has a large package. Just in case you're interested. (He's apparently a dick in real life as well.)

And what about Feminism and the Objectification of Women? What year is this? Ah well, that's another discussion. Otherwise, the exploitative video did exactly what it was designed to do: So far 46.1 million hits on YouTube alone (clean version) and counting. The Daily Beast explains why the song and video are actually kind of rapey.

Honestly, the boobs are the video's only redeeming feature. It was probably made on their lunch hour. (Though, stylistically it looks more like Happy Hour.) The video was recently brought to my attention by a young Frenchman. Hearing it for the first time I said, "It sounds awfully generic." He didn't understand the word so I explained: "It sounds like Pharrell has a machine that makes these." Apparently, this confectionary earworm was assembled in the studio on the fly by Thicke and Pharrell in about an hour. Paul McCartney claimed he took as long on Live and Let Die, but even C-level Sir Paul this ain't.

Of course, none of that matters. The song is going mad viral (the 20-teens version of a hit record) and is apparently blowing up Robin Thicke's career. It'll probably net Pharrell another sick stack too. The song is catchy, I'll give you that. Pharrell is probably nearing the crest of his peak now. He's 40. If he's as smart (I think he is—his blog is cool too) he should be banging this muse for all she's worth. Soon, she may be too dry to hump out those destined-to-go-viral one hour songwriting sessions.

It's trending: Justin Timberlake's "Explicit" video for Tunnel Vision gets approved for YouTube despite it's similar displays of feminine baggage. Here, the frontal nudity was deemed "artistic" and tasteful. The degrees of separation are at best slight, the main difference being that Justin Timberlake isn't drooling over the models in proximity. 

Both are essentially the aesthetic equivalents of titty bars but with better lighting. There's your artistry. 

And this just in: A "feminist" remake:

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