Monday, February 2, 2015

Musical Monday - Pop Song 89 by R.E.M.

On Saturday I made a reference to the video for Pop Song 89, and how Michael Stipe censored it, but I didn't explain why. As one can see from watching the video, the primary element consists of four people dancing while dressed in nothing but long pants. One of the people dancing is Michael Stipe. The other three are women. Both the song and the video were intended as commentaries on the banality of so much of pop music and the sexualized objectification of women. The barely choreographed dancing, the somewhat unflattering costumes, the fact that the four all stand awkwardly doing nothing in the interludes between action, are all elements that support the somewhat confused lyrics that wander almost aimlessly from place to place.

This was back in thew days when MTV showed music videos, and when they saw the video, the network apparently demanded that the bared breasts of the female dancers be censored, which both proved MTV executives lack any real awareness of irony and more or less proved the entire point of the video. In response, Stipe put black bars over the chests of his fellow dancers, and also put a black bar over his own, which made the video even more brutally satirical by highlighting the hypocrisy of a society that thinks nothing of a man's uncovered pectorals but finds a woman's breasts too scandalous for anyone to see.

If anyone wants to see the safe for work and MTV version, it can be found here.

Previous Musical Monday: Uncle Geek's House The Doubleclicks
Subsequent Musical Monday: Space Oddity by David Bowie

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