Posts from 11th June 2003

11
Jun 03

LISA MARIE PRESLEY — ‘Lights Out’

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Oh, go ahead and project — it’s not as if you can discuss royalty without discussing lineage and history. Of course, Lisa’s doing much to dissuade folks from talking about her father, and that’s to her credit. Even a casual listen will have the following words standing out in boldfaced caps — MEMPHIS, FAMILY, SPACE, DAMN. ‘Damn’ gets a whole lot of play during this song; she hits the word with a full-on sneer every time it comes up, which gives the song another hint of meaning that a straight reading of the superficially dry lyrics can’t seem to muster. (As in a lot of cases with the pop music, the lyrics are better appreciated as mulch nourishing the song’s soil than as plants keeping the dirt in place.) Of course, noting the sneer might have one think that it’s intentional, a little sly wink towards that grassy plot in Graceland. Perhaps. But if you watch the video, the aforementioned unavoidable lineage and history slaps you right in the face — the face that looks a lot like her daddy’s face, naturally — and it turns out that intentionality might be conveniently (uncontrollably) dovetailing with atavistic learned behaviors. Even if the video goes out of its way to give you a glossy (yet gritty) behind-the-scenes stare at Making the Video, the gaudy lights and the angled hips summon ghosts of Vegas and ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ and, of course, gratuitous karate flourishes. Some might like to think that it’s possible to grow beyond one’s upbringing (especially if said upbringing wasn’t as perfect as one would hope), but family has a strange viral way of making its presence known.