Archive for the ‘Video’ Category
The Grimes song “Kill V. Maim” is one I’ve been playing a lot this week, with its video set partly in Toronto’s abandoned Lower Bay Station and a threateningly manic song with a chorus–“Are you going to the party?/Are you going to the show?”–inspired by Godfather‘s Al Pacino and by Harley Quinn.
Grimes, a.k.a. Claire Boucher, appears on the latest episode of the “Song Exploder” podcast, a must-listen for music fans who want to hear their fave artists talk about how they created their own songs. In it, Grimes breaks down her thrashing Art Angels cut “Kill V. Maim,” revealing the impetus of it was a friend who doubted her ability to be musically aggressive.
“He kept doing these cute little plucky things, and I was like ‘No, no, let’s make a hard song.’ He was like ‘No, no, you make cute music.’ I was so horrified,” Grimes recalls. “So I went home after that sort of wanting to prove that I could make something that’s going to be really aggressive that I would want to play during an action sequence in a movie.”
After that, she set out to make something that could soundtrack the trailer for a fictional crossover of The Godfather and Twilight. Add in a lot of kick drums, some cleverly buried samples of cheering crowds, and what Grimes calls a “scary, demon chorus” inspired by Harley Quinn, and you have “Kill V. Maim,” which she reveals is “probably my favorite song I’ve ever made.”
I really like it. This song is one of the things, incidentally, that made me decide to buy tickets for Blondie’s show this July here in Toronto. (Garbage will be touring with them, too!)
Roxette’s 1988 song “The Look”, the Swedish group’s breakout song, is something I’ll always have fond memories of. Is it a very 1980s song, full of synth riffs and guitar? Are the lyrics somewhat simple?
Walkin’ like a man
Hitting like a hammer
She’s a juvenile scam
Never was a quitter
Tasted like a raindrop
She’s got the look
Yes. It doesn’t matter. Their Look Sharp! is one of the first albums I ever bought–on cassette, even!–and this song, like so many of their other songs, is fun. We could even see Roxette in its historical context, as the first Swedish musical group of international stature to appear after ABBA, hinting at the era of Swedish pop dominance to come. Why not enjoy the music?
Her musical career is more storied than this, with Gallant carving out a career in music and theatre in Québec and France, largely unknown to an Anglophone audience outside of chance events like Gallant’s 2013 performance at Pride in Toronto. In this Gallant, a Francophone born in small bilingual town of Campbellton in New Brunswick, shares in a common experience of French Canadians in being overlooked.
What interests me most about the song is not the music but rather the deeply ambivalent lyrics. “From New York to L.A.” opens with the singer dismissing her love as less important than stardom.
In my mind there’s a face
On my lips there’s a name
In my life there’s no place
For the man that I love
Cause I’m livin’ my life
Just to sing and be free
Later, we hear the singer tell of a much darker world, one filled with sleaze and death and one where even her love may not have been all that.
The city lights are often blurred
By stories we’ve already heard
Booze and drugs now break my head
Cause all the shining stars are dead
I sometimes close my tired eyes
Look at myself, be hypnotized
Findin’ a reason of lovin’ you
The man I thought was meant for me
But were you really meant for me?
Honestly, I don’t think that the song does a very good job of handling these potentially interesting themes. The consistently upbeat music contrasts poorly with the much darker lyrics at the end. This song’s importance in Canadian pop music aside–one of Canada’s first, and biggest, disco hits–I wonder if it could gone through another draft.