Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The most fabulous that there is

I think I've figured out why "The Magic Position" is so sunny and shiny and satisfying: it's essentially a Motown song. It's the Four Tops; it's the Temptations. It's got the sweetness of "I Can't Help Myself," the ascending octave figure from "My Girl" (albeit sped up and compacted) and the full string section hooks of both. Which altogether makes for just about the most gloriously joyful four minutes since "Pillar of Salt." How Patrick Wolf got here from Lycanthropy or even Wind in the Wires I have no idea. What happened to "sorrow by name/ and sorrow by nature"? It's nice to see him holding on to the flamboyance and the vamping, and morphing it into a completely different genre.

We need more flamboyant boy vamps in the tradition of Bolan and Bowie and Freddie Mercury et al.--not just eyelinered emo-goth fusion teases like Gerard Way. Can Gerard Way really be said to vamp? Aesthetically he doesn't seem to recall anybody so much as Adore-era Billy Corgan at this point--with hair, of course. There's something about him that's just too naff, too humorlessly self-serious and too fundamentally emo to project real go-for-broke flamboyance. Emo, after all, is all about conservatism--disturb the paradigm of the wronged straight white boy raging against the cruel world/girl that ignores him and it falls apart.

1 comment:

PAOLO CRUZ said...

What's both problematic and fascinating (in a train wreck kind of way) about My Chemical Romance's schtick is how they appropriate so many things stereo-typically asscoiated with gay/queer-oriented pop culture -- the operatics, the glam make-up, heck they've even got a cameo from drag queen icon Liza Minelli on "Mama". And yet somehow, their cult of personality allows them to repackage and market these elements in a way that's palpable and non-threatening for vaguely disaffected suburban guys, by subsuming them into the generalized mopiness of emo sensibilities.

They *could* have been potentially subversive, and queered the boundaries of gendered performance within the rock mainstream (well, aesthetically, at least). But instead, they may end up being remembered as the 00's equivalent of Marilyn Manson, in terms of cultural relevance.