The Weird And The Disturbing
By Sarwat Yunus
By now, we should have become indifferent to weird music videos but the truth remains that we are attracted to anything and everything that is bizarre. Weirdness itself can have different levels - check out the following videos, and see for yourself.
LEVEL 1: I Want to Break Free by Queen
Yes, we all do want to break free, don't we? It so happens that the legendary Freddie Mercury was no more different from us in this case. The only difference is that while we wreak havoc in our immediate surroundings, he makes a parody of a British soap opera, with all the band members dressed in drag - with the signature Freddie Mercury moustache as intact as ever. Seeing a mini-skirt clad, moustachioed Mercury vacuum clean the carpet was not pleasant. For some strange reason, he found it necessary to shave his moustache off for a ballet piece in the same video.
LEVEL 2: Alejandro by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has probably realised that the likes of yours truly have gained immunity to her antiques; hence the entry of freaky Nazi dudes with bowl-cuts performing weird marching, dancing rituals and… etc. However, dressing up as a nun and swallowing a rosary, Gaga has disturbed a lot of Catholics through this one video and yet there was a time when they thought Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' was blasphemy.
LEVEL 3: Pink by Aerosmith
Ah…this song used to be a favourite; it still is, but the love has been somewhat marred by the music video. As if close-ups of Steven Tyler weren't bad enough, he also wears a lungi *shudders* and transfers his face onto a body builder and a little kid. However, for a much larger portion of the video, one shall witness a wide array of freaks doing a special catwalk for you. Oh joy. To summarise, this video is a pure freak show.
LEVEL 4: Come to Daddy by Aphex Twin
Not much of a song, like most of the songs produced by the dude but quite a music video. Aphex Twin could have been a superb horror movie director, but he seems to be quite content with making music videos. In Come to Daddy, he transplants his grinning face onto those of fiendish little girls causing mayhem and their guardian demon, which draws energy from their chaos. The effect is profoundly disturbing and creepy.
LEVEL 5: Stinkfist by Tool
Tool's music videos are worthy of being considered a whole new art form - one that challenges the eye and the ear .The meaning of their music and the videos vary with the mindset of the audience. Like most of Tool's disturbing yet remarkable videos, stop motion animation has been used in Stinkfist and the actions of the characters are highly symbolic. This video shows two 'sand people', a male and a female, who try to overcome the fear and giving a chance to compassion - as docile as the concept may sound, the manner of portrayal is extremely eerie.
The Future of Pop
By Musarrat Rahman
Everyone knows who Lady Gaga is. Not everyone loves her as much as we, her little monsters, do (and those people clearly don't matter) but EVERYONE and their mother knows about Lady Gaga.
So how did Gaga, Stefani Germanotta, become the biggest self-invented, manufactured, accidental, totally on-purpose creation and the world's biggest sensation?
Think of her as Blondie meets Madonna meets the Scissor Sisters and Junior Senior but with lots of glitter and glam.
During her first New York interview Gaga said, “What I've discovered is that in art, as in music, there's a lot of truth and then there's a lie. The artist is essentially creating his work to make this lie a truth, but he slides it in amongst all the others. The tiny little lie is the moment I live for, my moment. It's the moment that the audience falls in love.”
With every song she releases being a No. 1 hit single, Lady Gaga knows what the world wants. But that is only a quarter of what makes us go gaga over Gaga. It's her bold fashion choices, her stand as a feminist icon, her involvement in politics and just her whole persona of not giving the haters a chance to get her down Gaga is more than just your regular Diva.
She's completely overthrown the era of bimbodom we seemed to be having this last decade, giving it a major makeover by stealing the limelight from women who made their careers by playing the dumb blonde card, like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson. She's rocketed to supernova-esque fame; surpassing pop acts Katy Perry, Rihanna, Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Fergie etc, leaving them in the trail of her stardust. As big as they are, she's just eons bigger. She's mesmeric in any language and effortlessly global.
Gaga's presence also introduces us to the formerly unthinkable idea that Madonna - former queen of pop, current leathery old cradle-snatching hag - may really, truly, finally be on her way out. Because, let's face it, Madge hasn't released a hit single in years. Gaga's platinum blonde locks, darkened eyebrows and ruby lips have major influences from Madonna's look circa her Blonde Ambition years, and her music-director Jonas Akerlund is a major latter-day collaborator of Madge's too.
But don't let that fool you into thinking she's just a modern day Madonna. While she may be influenced by the once queen, the two are very different: Madonna hasn't had a sense of humour about herself since the nineties, where as Gaga is all fun and play. At heart, she's still a young art-school student, full of optimism, kindness and childlike wonder at the strange, beautiful-yet-sometimes-grotesque world.
Her fashion choices keep her completely in the limelight. Here's a beautiful blonde starlet wearing... a meat dress? An outfit made of Kermit heads? She's got the world on their toes waiting with bated breath to see what crazy stunt she will pull next. But that's the genius of Gaga - her willingness to be a caricature, a cartoon. She's got an awesome sense of humour, giving us our thrills every day like the gigantic bow made of hair she popped on her head last year. “One day, I said to my creative team, 'Gaultier did bows, let's do it in a new way,'” she says. “We were going back and forth with ideas, and then I said (snaps finger) hair-bow.” She giggles. “We all died! It never cost a penny, and it looked so brilliant. It's just one of those things. I'm very arrogant about it.”
Her videos have the same Gaga-ness to it too. “She doesn't care so much about the technical part, but she's involved in every creative aspect,” says director Åkerlund. “We just allow ourselves to be very stupid with each other, and then you get ideas like sunglasses made of cigarettes and bubble outfits.”
Her broad-mindedness in a world full of hypocrites is also another thing to be admired. Her politics, her fashion, it is all a reflection of her free spirit. Recently, she's been speaking out and trying to raise awareness about equal rights for everyone regardless of their sexuality. Her impassioned speech to repeal the military's 'don't ask don't tell' policy has gotten immense support.
Video's like Bad Romance portray her feminist nature which she does by simulating the trafficking of women as commodities in the music industry. “I want to free my fans of their fears and make them feel they can create their own place in the world,” Gaga told Barbara Walters in December 2009, a quote that cemented her role as a feminist icon. What is a more feminist stance that creating an inclusive atmosphere where people feel accepted?
Lady Gaga is a young artist who seems to renegotiate her image and undergo a self-makeover with each bit of education she receives. Yes, she has made plenty of feminist and social faux pas, but to her credit, she learns from her mistakes and comes back with a bang. She thinks about who she is and how she presents herself. Most of all, she brings back entertainment to the world of entertainment.
And also, she is awesome.
By Shaer Duita Phish Reaz
For some unexplained reason, people all over the globe like to be scared and horrified and disgusted by what they watch on TV. While this may be only a small part of the population, they are still out there. Which is an ironic phrase, considering their main TV staple seems to be along the lines of the old X-Files.
Fans of the mystery-horror TV genre didn't have much to look forward to after X-Files ended. Nothing else seemed to provide the intrigue that these people needed.
Running for two seasons now, Fox Network's Fringe seems promising in this category. Originating from the head of J.J Abrams, the man who gave us Alias and the extremely overhyped Lost, Fringe is one of those shows, which takes off very slowly and manages to capture a major fan base through word of mouth.
Revolving around Fringe Science (traditionally meaning phenomena that cannot be explained by the current laws of physics and nature), you'll hear words like neural networks, reanimation, retro cognition, telepathy, pyro kinesis, etc a number of times. If you think this is like a physics nerd's paradise, you'd be right, but it all makes sense to the 90 IQ idiots out there too. Science and technology on the edge of reality makes for exciting TV.
In the pilot episode we're introduced to FBI Agents Olivia Dunham and her partner, John Scott. They're called in to investigate a mysterious commercial plane landing with no signs of life aboard. Once the cabin doors are opened, a whole new box of worms is discovered that leads to what is being called The Pattern: a series of mysterious occurrences that has no explanation and no detectable source.
Olivia and John Scott follow a lead that ends up in John being severely injured. Olivia, desperate to save her partner and love interest, heads to Iraq to convince a Peter Bishop to return to the US and help her get to Peter's father, Walter Bishop, a patient at a mental hospital and once a brilliant scientist. We learn that Walter has worked on secret government projects involving fringe science. Together, they look into what happened in the plane and how to save John's life.
After a series of rapid twists, Olivia and her crew is recruited by Phillip Broyles to head up the newly formed Fringe Division of the FBI. So begins their weird, somewhat supernatural and unbelievable journey through a world of human experiments, lies, deceit, and mind-bending physics. While it may seem all the science is made up, trust me, it can all be explained, more or less. The scriptwriters have done their fair share of research and having worked with actual physicists and biochemists to establish a storyline makes it slightly more believable.
Acting wise, it's all good, with Anna Torv doing a commendable job as Olivia, and Joshua Jackson as the supporting role of Peter Bishop. The best acting on the show by far is John Noble's portrayal of the mad scientist Walter, Noble - making tea and root beer in the lab right next to a dismembered body and blood and guts all over the place, he makes it seem almost normal.
Ratings: Acting: 8/10 Plot: 8/10 Directing: 7/10 Musical score: 6/10 Overall: 8/10