Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Androgyny as spectacle

What to do with another faux industro-goth band with disturbing emo tendencies whose singer is a dead ringer for Gerard Way? Cringe? Theorize? In the case of Tokio Hotel, perhaps both. One of their videos seems to reference Fritz Lang's Metropolis, while another features comely girl-boy lead singer Bill Kaulitz being rescued from a suicide attempt by his only marginally butch-er second self. What's interesting is that Placebo made the same video ten years ago. The concepts are identical, right down to the Midnight Vixen nail laquer. Crowds point in slow-motion and gaze heavenward, a suicidal, roof-jumping girl-boy pouts angstfully from his perch and finally summons supernatural powers for a grand finale that draws a connecting line between gender blur and an ability to transcend the body completely. Apparently, the impulse to allegorize androgyny as public spectacle is still a strong one.

If you don't have much patience for industrial emo ballads, I recommend skipping the first two-thirds of the video and jumping in right at the big Lacanian payoff, in which Kaulitz faces down his mirror reflection, walks through it and then disappears. Kelefa Sanneh is right; this man needs a stage name. Something Teutonic, but still glossy. Dietmar, maybe? Helmut? "Bill" isn't doing it.

1 comment:

Anjanette said...

Molko's totally cuter than that Bill guy, though.