Archive for dubious morals

57. ‘Dirrty’ by Christina Aguilera (2002)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by G.K. Reid

How fortuitous that I’ve just been banging on about the wonderful nonsense that is pop music, only to find that next on my list is this, arguably the most brazenly ludicrous pop event of the decade.  As the above picture succinctly demonstrates, ‘Dirrty’ is a towering specimen of camp self-affirmation, and a no-holds-barred assault on public taste and decency that John Waters would be proud of (oh, if only Xtina weighed 300lbs!)

Aguilera’s claims to independence and self-possession here can easily be dismissed as cliched, but they’re far from disingenuous – ‘Dirrty’ has a real violence of intent and tangible fury embedded within it, strongly evoked by the almost cacophanous force of the production.  That Aguilera figured a noisy embrace of (and insistence upon) sexuality as the key to liberating her from the deathgrip of the Disney Club was arguably as dubious and depressing as it was wholly successful; ‘Dirrty’ provides one hell of a text for feminist debate to pour over.  In response to any criticism, however, I suppose Aguilera can always say: ‘well, that wasn’t me with the shaved head and the umbrella and the parasitical husband and the baby driving the car. I’m just sayin”.

Bonus points: Redman is a strong contender for the ‘Best Guest Rap of the Decade’ award. So many choice lines, but my favourite will probably forever remain: ‘I keep my car lookin’ like a crash dummy drove’‘waiting for Sister to Act, like Lauryn Hill’. ‘We blessed, and hung low, like Bernie Mac (b’nnie mck!)

77. ‘Gimme More’ by Britney Spears (2007)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

She’s fine!

Even without the coinciding Greek tragedy of Britney’s tabloid-salivating meltdown, this track would retain its authentically sinister, seedy undertones.  The way the backing vocals warp as they intone ‘more!’, alternating between an exaggeratedly feminine and macho question and demand, and peaking with a compliant, orgasmic exclamation; the lyrical references to both sides of the voyeuristic gaze (which Britney insists is thrillingly erotic, but the queasy and primal musical arrangement suggests is a much darker, baser human impulse); the ‘Danja!/danger!’ sirens as the demands for ‘more’ are clearly being satisfied. Gimme More is very much a song for this century, as it positions the sexual act as audience entertainment and can’t conceive of an existence where someone isn’t watching, and there isn’t something to demand for oneself. 

Bonus points: This made for an excellent twofer with the hilarious philippic that is Piece of Me.

82. ‘Jumpin’ Jumpin” by Destiny’s Child (2000)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

 

Three of these people might as well be dead. In fact, for all I know, two of them are.

This marks Destiny’s Child’s only entry in my top 101, which is odd because they’re clearly one of the most almighty singles bands of the last decade (and beyond).  I guess it’s because hits like my chosen number, ‘Bootylicious’, ‘Independent Women’, ‘Survivor’, ‘Say My Name’, and ‘Lose My Breath’ all more or less cover the same aesthetic and thematic ground, so it’s almost gratuitous to include more than one. 

My fondness for those aforementioned stonkers vacillates, however, whereas my regard for ‘Jumpin’ Jumpin’ has been consistently high.  This is despite (or because of?) the flagrantly dubious morality on display, as Beyonce essentially advises everyone to cheat on everyone with everyone else.  She doesn’t half make a compelling case though, aided by the thrillingly staccato arrangement and that pulsating drive to the chorus. She really does love this club quite a lot.

Bonus points: ‘I ain’t thinking ’bout my man at night’ / ‘I ain’t worried ’bout ma guhl, a’ight?’

94. ‘Ignition (Remix)’ by R. Kelly (2002)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 8, 2009 by G.K. Reid

How, exactly, is it ‘like Murder She Wrote’ once R. gets her outta those clothes?
Why is there food everywhere if the party wasn’t catered?
After the show, and after the afterparty, and then – finally – after the hotel lobby… is it a bisexual orgy?

Ignition throws up these questions and more. But while it’s all too easy to mock the lyrical content of this song – or, indeed, any R. Kelly song – there is no denying the deftness of his rhymes and the just flat-out inspired turns of phrase.

And yeah, when I say ‘inspired’, I mean ‘lunatic’. But I also mean it in the sense that Joan of Arc was ‘inspired’ by God. Because, perhaps the most fascinating thing about Mr. Kelly, as conclusively proved by the farrago/masterpiece that is Trapped in the Closet, is his almost religious zeal for what he is doing, for what he is gifting the world. He isn’t just an entertainer, he is doing his “work” here on Earth. Except, in this scenario, R. Kelly is playing both Joan of Arc and God.

But, aside from whatever questions we have and would like to pose to R Kelly (and it says something when the whole “paeodophile” thing ranks somewhere around number 10 on the list), let’s just answer the question he poses himself in this corking song. Yes, R, you can indeed get a TOOT TOOT. And you will always be worthy of a BEEP BEEP.

Bonus points: When R Kelly is inevitably indicted on a murder charge, just think how much he could out-fro Phil Spector.