Posts from 1st June 2001

1
Jun 01

DESTINY’S CHILD – “Bootylicious”

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DESTINY’S CHILD – “Bootylicious”

The mood is set from the opening guitar lick, a one note riff lifted from Stevie Nicks’ “Edge Of Seventeen”. The beat stutters, the girls of Destiny ask each other if they can handle it, then BAM! The swerve is on.

The interesting thing about “Bootylicious” isn’t its triumphant clarion-call to the dance floor or the feeling that it’s just the first of a slew of great summer singles that will have parties across the globe dippin’ and boppin’ until September. It’s the construction of the song itself. One thing for which Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle have become known is their legendary ability to run a chorus into the ground. All of their singles prior to the Survivor album seem to be four minute songs that contain about twelve hours worth of chorus. (In fact, I defy ANYONE to list some of the lyrics to the verses of “No, No, No” or “Jumpin’ Jumpin’ “. You can’t do it. The verses might as well not exist.) “Survivor” introduced the radical notions of including more “substantial” (meaning “longer”) verses, an actual bridge and coda, and switching up the lead vocals. “Bootylicious” continues this trend of more mature songwriting, adding chanted preludes to the verses and a more subsantial bridge.

Michelle also gets another chance to sing lead. OOPS. This is the song’s one serious flaw. Listening to Michelle’s alley-cat-in-heat screeching makes me wonder why people complain about Beyonce’s wanna-be-virtuosity. Fortunately, the girls distract from the ear-bendingly awful aural assault by reminding us that they shake their jellies at every chance. Crisis averted!

Really, you don’t need me to bust out with a bar-by-bar analysis of the song to know it’s bad-ass. The bounce of the beat alone will tell you that. It’s fairly obvious that “Bootylicious” is going to be this year’s “Thong Song”; the insidiously catchy party song that pops up everywhere and refuses to go away. I know that I can handle this. Can you?

LOOKS 10, ROCK 3

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Moulin Rouge and Conservative Chaos 

It’s official. The world-historic death of the musical film is upon us. It’s been said before, but usually followed by some caveat about how (Woody Allen/Lars Von Trier/Rivette/Parker&Stone/etc.) intends to resurrect it. But the musical is no longer a mode of expression, a cultural norm, a form in concert with an era. Rather, it is another tool in a directorial canon, a device to comment with and to comment on. Passed from the realm of the living, it resides in a cultural graveyard of tropes subject to periodic reanimation. To produce a musical film is not a reflex action, but a deliberate semiotic act.

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