A Tribute to Dance in General

Photo by Steven Klein

 
 

Hung Up is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It was written and produced in collaboration with Stuart Price, and released as the first single from her tenth studio album, Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005). Songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus generally do not allow anyone to sample any of their tracks, an exception being Fugees, who sampled their song The Name of the Game for their single Rumble in the Jungle.

Originally the video for Hung Up was scheduled to be directed by photographer David LaChapelle. He wanted the video to have a “documentary”-style look, much like that of his 2005 film, Rize, in which five of the dancers from the Hung Up video appeared. LaChapelle and Madonna disagreed on the concept, prompting the project to be reassigned to Johan Renck, who worked with Madonna in her video for Nothing Really Matters. According to an interview with MTV, Renck was directing Kate Moss for a H&M commercial when he received a phone call from Madonna who desperately wanted to work with him. The next day he went to Los Angeles to meet the stylist and the choreographer hired by Madonna, who mailed him with her ideas for the video.The director explained that he “kind of liked that we didn’t have time to over-think this and be too clever, I like being out on a limb and not know what we’re doing and why. Just deal with it, the mayhem, you know?”

Madonna clarified that the video was a tribute to Giorgio MorodeJohn Travolta and to dance in general. Her dance moves for the video, which were inspired by Travolta’s movies like Saturday Night Fever (John Badham, 1977), Grease (Randal Kleiser, 1978) and Perfect (James Bridges, 1985) took three hours to shoot. Madonna had broken eight bones in a horseback-riding accident a few weeks before shooting the video. Hence she faced difficulty doing the steps as devised by choreographer Jamie King. Renck said,

“She was such a trooper, […] She just fell off a horse! [Madonna said] ‘If you were a real dance choreographer, you could tell I can’t lift my left arm higher than this’ — and it was like, what, a 20-centimeter difference? […] But when she said it ‘hurts like f—,’ she’d take a break and sit down for two minutes. [Madonna]’I have broken ribs, remember that!’ I just can’t imagine dancing like that. Talk about priorities.”

 
 

Gucci creative director Frida Giannini designed this particular bomber model exclusively for Madonna in conjunction with her 2006 Confessions tour and television appearances supporting Confessions on a Dance Floor

 

To watch the music video, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

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A Warrior Who Had to Fight with Love

“The title of the album, in fact,  indicates that music comes from a same direction: straight from my heart, because home is where the heart is”
Björk

 
 

Homogenic is the fourth studio album by Icelandic musician Björk

 
 

A relationship with fellow musician Clifford Price (better known as Goldie) caused controversy for the singer, an American fan, offended by her dalliance with a black man, taped himself creating an acid bomb and sent it to her house before shooting himself in front of the camera. While the bomb, thankfully, never reached Bjork, she became extremely depressed and fled to Spain where she recorded her next album. The result, entitled Homogenic, was released in September 1997 and featured emotional, dark songs possessing sounds that had never been explored. So off the beaten path was the record that it failed to enjoy the commercial success that her last two efforts had. But it was her most personal record to-date.

The album was Björk’s first attempt to bridge the world of electronic music with more organic elements (including orchestral score and unusual applications of the human voice), and she approached Alexander McQueen to try to capture the album’s icy, otherworldly cool vibe in a cover image.“When I went to Alexander McQueen, I explained to him the person who wrote these songs — someone who was put into an impossible situation, so impossible that she had to become a warrior,” Bjork told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1998.“A warrior who had to fight not with weapons, but with love.”

Though the cover appears to be a straight illustration, Bjork actually posed for the image, photographed by Nick Knight. “I had 10 kilos of hair on my head, and special contact lenses and a manicure that prevented me from eating with my fingers, and gaffer tape around my waist and high clogs so I couldn’t walk easily,” she said. “I wanted to put all the emotion of the album into that image.”

 
 

A previous McQueen/Knight collaboration for a photo shoot clearly provided the basis idea for the imagery achieved

 
 

Björk’s vocals on Homogenic range from primitive sounding screams to a traditional singing method used by Icelandic choir men, a combination of speaking and singing as illustrated in the song Unravel. Björk wanted Homogenic to have a conceptual focus on her native Iceland. In an interview for Oor, Björk explained that “in Iceland, everything revolves around nature, 24 hours a day. Earthquakes, snowstorms, rain, ice, volcanic eruptions, geysers… Very elementary and uncontrollable. But at the other hand, Iceland is incredibly modern; everything is hi-tech. The number of people owning a computer is as high as nowhere else in the world. That contradiction is also on Homogenic. The electronic beats are the rhythm, the heartbeat. The violins create the old-fashioned atmosphere, the colouring.”

Aphrodite and All the Lovers

“No form of love is wrong, so long as it is love, and you yourself honour what you are doing. Love has an extraordinary variety of forms! And that is all there is in life, it seems to me. But I grant you, if you deny the variety of love you deny love altogether. If you try to specialize love into one set of accepted feelings, you wound the very soul of love. Love must be multi-form, else it is just tyranny, just death”

D.H. Lawrence

 
 

Still from the music video showing Kylie Minogue standing atop a pyramid of underwear-clad couples, which was inspired by the installations of American photographer Spencer Tunick.

 
 

All the Lovers is a song recorded by Australian recording artist Kylie Minogue for her eleventh studio album Aphrodite (2010). One of the last songs to be recorded for the album, All the Lovers was written by Jim Eliot and Mima Stilwell and produced by the former. Stuart Price, the executive producer of Aphrodite, was responsible for additional production and mixing of the song. Minogue felt  All the Lovers summarized the “euphoria” of the album perfectly and chose it to be the lead single from Aphrodite.

 
 

 
 

An accompanying music video for “All the Lovers” was filmed in Downtown Los Angeles by Joseph Kahn, and features Minogue singing the song from atop a pyramid of underwear-clad couples. As the singer wanted to pay homage to her large gay audience, scenes of homosexual couples kissing were included in the video. Critical reception towards the video was favourable, with many critics enjoying its concept and imagery.

 
 

A QR code, said to produce the word “LOVE” when scanned, can be seen printed on various items in the beginning of the music video.

 
 

Writing for New York Press, film and music critic Armond White deeply analysed the music video and found the flash mob, which consists of a few homosexual couples, a representation of the historic 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. He also compared the video to two documentaries based on the riots. White commented that through the video, Kahn had corrected directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner‘s “blundering” in their 2010 documentary of the riots. The critic said that Davis and Heilbroner had misinterpreted the riots and that Kahn and Minogue had offered a more accurate version which was similar to the concept of the 1995 historical comedy-drama film based on the uprising. He commented that the flash mob Minogue organises is “not a riot, not an orgy” and instead “an uprising as the swaying lovers amass and their joy takes them literally higher and higher.” He then concluded of the video:

Kahn’s gleaming fantasy of paradisical urban cleanliness is a creative act that idealizes an historical fact. Like Spencer Tunick, who photographs mass public undressings, Kahn and Kylie emcee a multiracial party; as critic John Demetry points out, restricting participants to the young, pretty, physically fit is part of their idealization. Importantly, Kahn and Kylie serenade their partiers by the Stonewall-era term “lovers” (out-moded by today’s “partner”). Stonewall Uprising is a whitewash; this is a resurrection of affection. Rainbow Pride expressed as Kylie’s bliss” [sic]

On 22 June 2010, American pop group Scissor Sisters performed a country-inspired version of  All the Lovers on the Live Lounge segment of the British radio station BBC Radio 1.  The group performed this version of the song for the second time at the annual Australian music festival Splendour in the Grass in Melbourne, which is Minogue’s birthplace. She joined the group during the performance.

Bear Pond on a Gold Day

Bear Pond (Little, Brown and Company, 1990)

 
 

“Toward evening find a silent shuttered room.
Sit or lie; let your eyes slide shut.
Your heart slows; your mind will likely race –
A smear of pictures, leering sideshows, tunes,
Bodies you’ve tasted, geeks, your private crimes –
All ways to bribe you from the dare you take,
this risk of a trek toward home, a healing journey.
But coax your lidless inward eye to find
The place where you knew broad serenity…”

“. . . Around one man, the perfect Earth
Unfolds one final day —
The golden day I find and dream to keep. “

Gold Day
Reynolds Price

 
 

 
 

Bear Pond showcases 100 photographs taken by Bruce Weber. They were shot in upstate New York Adirondack Lakes region and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The wilderness landscape, the study of male body in a primal state of grace and Richard Price’s poetry take us back to Walt Whitman and Thomas Eakins ideal of life.