AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

7 thoughts on “Monday Match-Up: Toni Basil vs. Major Lazer

  1. Major Lazer – one of the GREAT videos.

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  2. I am rejecting the rules set out previous “Match Up Monday” and voting entirely on a different aesthetic criterion:

    Tony Basil +1

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  3. Which is…? Given you're one half of the entire voting block, I'm not sure a switch is a good idea, especially this late in the season. With great power, comes great responsibility not to fuck around with the program by adopting a aesthetic criterion best promoting a general contrarianism. You'll throw all previous votes into question and up end the entire system. Who knows what might happen as a result: e.g., forced to go so far down the well to find unpoisoned waters, Warrant's “Cherry Pie” and Fat Boys' “Can You Feel It?” somehow wind up competing for the championship? Think about the children, Noah!

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  4. Perhaps Noah is commenting on the instruction to take the video more into a account, which I too didn't realise was such a concern. It certainly confuses the issue, as I maintain the song and the video are separate artworks. In any event I think Major Lazer wins on both accounts here.

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  5. Well, if it is for the children…

    There were two different evaluative schemes I used in making my decision in selecting 'Mickey'.

    First I determined the approximate aesthetic sophistication of each work. I take aesthetic sophistication as a factor in the work's lasting significance. To do this each work must broken down into its components and then how these components are used to develop the message of the music video. For both of these videos the performers were clearly in front of a screen. This immediately gives the videos a detached feel, separate from corporeal reality. Major Lazer replaces this disembodied background with a surrealist landscape. The performers in that video performed hyper-sexualized dance similar to other over-sexualized music videos. This combination of detachment, surreal landscape, hypersexualization and fun electronic music song produces a commentary on the production of music videos of the genre, basically amounting to calling out the shallow titillation of over-sexualized party music videos. I particularly liked the end of the video when there is a laughing face in the sun, reminiscent of the baby face in the sun of the Teletubbies. It is as if the sexualized party music video is baby-style entertainment for adults. Overall, it is very well done and good fun to boot. Tony Basil does not replace the background, but leaves it a blank white. The performers are in uformed cheerleaders who perform gymnastic cheer acts around the singer. Note the lack of blinking and almost mask-like make-up on Toni's face. Combine that with the marionette like dance moves performed, and we get the sense of someone being controlled by an external force. Since the song is about how the singer is under the love-spell of the person 'Mickey', the zombie/ robot-like performance is a tender-hearted commentary on people who lose themselves and their world when they fall in love/ enter a relationship. While performing technical athletic feats, they lose themselves, ultimately leading to Toni becoming posterized, just a flat image of herself. The detachment but compassionate look at how people find themselves when in love makes this a classic song of the 80s, and one that has rightfully lived on. Though Major Lazer's 'Pon de Floor' is an excellent, fun video with clever execution, Toni Basil's 'Mickey' tackles more difficult subject matter — the human condition, not just the state of music video — in a fun and kindhearted way. Hence Mickey +1.

    Second is that I have had crushes on each of Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku and Gabrielle Union, all of whom were in the cheerleader movie “Bring It On” which featured 'Mickey'. The song reminds me of them. Hence Mickey +1.

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  6. Thoughtfully and eloquently put, Noah. I declare “Mickey” to be the victor, let it be so now and forever!

    However, Kristen Dunst? I'm sorry, that's a clear -1.

    The correct answer is: Gabrielle Union (+1) or Jesse Bradford (+10).

    Finally Tally for “Mickey”: +1

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  7. Dude, you are so moving the goalposts. Now my 'whom have I had a crush on?' criterion isn't good enough if you don't like them?

    Anyway, what I really wanted above was to have a massively complex symbolic analysis, but I couldn't get it together quickly enough. So I opted for a wall of text that I hope forced everyone looking to read the second criterion first. I actually didn't want to be as rational as I was in the first part.

    Eliza Dushku > Gabrielle Union (though not by much) > [everyone else in Bring it On]

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