Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thirteen ways (minus eleven) of looking at a rump

No doubt, you have alls been wondering about the Sad Billionaire's take on K-Fed's latest musical offering, "PopoZao." To be perfectly honest, I have not really known what to make of "PopoZao"... on the one hand, I like the Shaw Brothers style chop-socky aesthetic, and the spooky little "mondo cane" exotica flourishes, although the whole piece pales in comparison to its obvious inspiration, the "Indian Flute" hip-hop trope that was all over urban radio a few seasons ago... On the other hand, K-Fed's vocal performance fails to live up to the promise of "Y'All Ain't Ready." Instead of pursuing the tantalizing "line of flight" from musical conventions latent in "Y'All Ain't Ready," K-Fed lingers in the back, lurking in the beat's periphery. Here, K-Fed's monstrous and risible overconfidence leads not to heroic heights of idiocy but merely to atmospheric posturing and ambient braggadocio. Thoroughly creepy... which is nevertheless an accomplishment in itself, given how totally uncreepy the would-be creeps of Nu-Metal are, despite their best intentions...

Now, should we note that "PopoZao" is part of the twisted brazilophilia of which Femme Feral has recently written? As FF noted, this is an orientation that overlooks the virtues of, say, the Porto Alegre World Social Forums or Tom Ze, instead favoring the attractions of the polished pubus. In line with this neo-colonialist cult of the "Brazilian," K-Fed's refrain-- "PopoZao"-- apparently refers to the ample "rumpus" (to paraphrase Neil Schweiber) of a female dance partner.

Can this remind us of anything but the recent New Country hit, "Honky Tonk Badonk Adonk" by Trace Adkins? (NB: Could Derrideans be any happier with the name of this be-hatted rounder?) In the grand tradition of American popular music, this tune represents the migration from African American to Anglo American music of a "meme," in this case, the term "badonk adonk," a slang term for the female butt; we must conclude that, like the late phenomenon of caucasians greeting each other as fellow canines, this is a process from which neither culture profits.

But more importantly, especially for those who have seen the video for "Honky Tonk Badonk Adonk": this song captures the particular heinousness that is men expressing themselves with their voices. Watching CMT, one encouters that unique sense of abject inevitability familiar from sniffing expired milk. The tight-be-Wrangler'ed and enStetson-ed Adkins enters the frame, the name of the song flashes in the bottom left-hand corner, and the viewer/listener knows that within a few seconds this douchebag is going to be in a deep-knee squat, wagging a finger at the camera, and growling: "HON-ky TONK.... ba DONK a DONK!"

Why is this so brutal? Well, among other things, at least for me, I just can't stand such an undiluted expression of masculine self-confidence. I think I first became aware of this phenomenon as a child when Bruce Willis launched his musical side-career as the revanchist "Bruno." Ironically, I saw "Bruno" again for the first time in my adult life on my wedding day, on an E! THS, which provided ample documentation of Willis' ties to the Republican Party and American super-patriotic hyper-militarism.

Soon after I experienced my first preadolescent dry-heaves at the sight of the harmonica-blowing, one-foot-firmly-planted-the-other-foot-pumping-the-floor, balding party animal "Bruno," I was exposed to the horrific testostoronal braying of Jim Morrison. We should all be grateful to Canadian composer John Oswald for finding the anagram "Sir Jim Moron" to go with his Doors cut-up "O Hell." K-Fed, Trace Adkins, Bruno... Sir Jim Morons, all, no? Lately, Tom Jones, Roger Daltrey, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Fifty Cent, Nelly, Usher... all men too embarassingly manly for me to listen to without breaking out into hysterical fits of giggling or pained grimacing. Strangely, I am not either much attracted to the opposing dialectical cultural force: the vogue for gender-bending crooners like Antony of the Johnsons. Maybe I hate music now!


Michalle said...

Dissing Bruce Springsteen AND Antony and the Johnsons in one post! Oh Kurt!

Maybe you should listen to some ladies?


femme feral said...