The last two days I’ve been wanting to post two latest releases from two artists that I like, Alison Goldfrapp and Aimee Mann but I simply can’t stand the videos. I can’t bring myself to do it. With Alison it’s the dancers and with Aimee it’s the actors. Oh the glorious days when there was only the vinyl and the underground groups, successful because of their music. It wasn’t on the radio or the TV, there was no video, you just had see them live or listen to the record.
1968 – 1975 – 7 years of listening to albums, reading the sleeve notes, getting up to turn it over and then playing it again. Don’t get me wrong, I have deep feelings for Glam, the singles, the reverse mum’s blouse, the platform shoes, the glitter make-up, the leotards, the leopard skin, Top Of The Pops. But then these were mostly live or mimed performances. I think I just have an aversion to videos with actors or dancers – although Pan’s People/Legs & Co. live dancing on TOTP’s suited all those Glam rockers and the seventies Pop acts as an independent troupe, if their scantily clad gyrations seem un-PC and out of date, ultimately they must be considered what they always were – risqué cabaret parading as light entertainment.
Punk and New Wave and the scary eighties brought videos with them as MTV exploded (literally). I’ve lost count of the amount of videos I’ve appeared in in various incarnations, all of them nothing to do with the original idea behind the lyric, the composition and the recording. It’s that nasty word “promo”, raising its ugly head, forcing musicians to do things that they simply don’t want to do, taking away time for the ultimate task – to write, to record and to perform. Of course many people see the opportunity to ham it up in front of the camera as a pleasure or at least a stepping stone to success, performance is part of the package, image sells the concept but non image is an image too. Print interviews, radio interviews and TV shows are simply time consuming distractions that take you away from your creativity and often place you with media personalities that can be as easily antagonistic as they can be eager and supportive. And really, does anybody care what these people say. I began to work on the theory that a bad review meant I’d probably like it, a good review a caress before the punch.
So please, listen to Aimee Mann’s new record, listen to Alison Goldfrapp’s new record but don’t buy into the promo, don’t distract yourself from their MUSIC! They are forced to come up with these trite meaningless interpretations of their songs because the competition is tough – it’s like nuclear weapons, they’ve got them so we have to have them (allegedly) and when one missile flies they all fly and it’s mass destruction – rather like video directors, destroying music with images.
If you like these tracks, Aimee’s Mann’s Mental Illness and Alison Goldfrapp’s Silver Eye are out now and you’ll just need your ears, so close your eyes and listen.