MUSIC 162 CD 10 notes - MUSIC 162 - SPRING 2008 American...

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MUSIC 162 - SPRING 2008 American Pop Song Shannon Dudley Listening Examples CD #10 A. MTV 1. Eurythmics (1983): "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" The Eurythmics, a Scottish group, exemplifies MTV's early commitment to including white rock acts from nations other than the U.S. (while still excluding artists of color, of course). But vocalist-songwriter Annie Lennox and songwriter-musician Dave Stewart managed to use the position to create a musical image that tested and played with politics and gender conventions. Featuring a techno-pop sound and Lennox's haunting melodic hooks, the video for "Sweet Dreams" features Lennox in drag in order to play with androgyny and power. In Eurythmics' subsequent hits, Lennox continued the costume trend, dressing as everything from a platinum "floozy" to a postmodern Elvis. Her tactic was to use the over-the-top glamour and excess of video to garner serious clout as an artist and to make some sort of social commentary, a technique she has continued as a successful solo artist. 2. Michael Jackson (1983): "Beat It" With "Beat It" and "Billie Jean," from the album Thriller , released almost simultaneously, Michael Jackson became the first artist of the 1980s to have two songs on the Billboard top five at the same time. MTV had previously billed itself as a rock channel, refusing to play videos from or feature Black artists or genres, in one of the most insidious displays of racism since the payola scandal. But Michael Jackson's enormous mainstream success forced the station to begin including African-Americans. Michael consequently made MTV famous and became one of the first and biggest video stars. A great innovator, he pushed the limits of the video medium by spending relatively large amounts on production and hiring a film director to shoot his fifteen- minute mini-movie "Thriller." The video for "Beat It" depicts a gang fight in the form of ensemble dance and features professional dancers as well as actual L.A. gang members. Rocker Eddie Van Halen is the guitarist and also serves as evidence of the influence of rock as well as funk and dance music on Jackson's sound. Michael's skill as a dancer and vocalist, as well as his charismatic (if sometimes shocking or troubled) personality, are demonstrated here. 3. Madonna (1984): "Like A Virgin" Madonna, a former dancer, club star, and dance/disco diva, used the medium of video to become a rock/pop star and to challenge conventional notions of morality and propriety. Starting with songs from Like a Virgin (the album), Madonna had 12 top ten hits in a row between 1984 and 1987. Her emphasis on sexuality and her penchant for Christian iconography have made her a
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shockingly disturbing figure for parents and shockingly tantalizing for their kids. This ability to generate controversy has served Madonna well over the years and, along with her inimitable talent for reinventing herself to fit the times, can be credited with establishing her prolific (and apparently never-ending!) career. Madonna's performance of "Like a Virgin" at the MTV Video
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MUSIC 162 CD 10 notes - MUSIC 162 - SPRING 2008 American...

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