Posts Tagged ‘annie lennox’
This Thursday, a [MUSIC] day, also happens to be World AIDS Day. My song choice was inevitable.
I blogged Annie Lennox’s cover of the Cole Porter song “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” back in January 2009. This cover, taken from the 1990 AIDS fundraising album Red Hot + Blue, is perhaps her most beautiful song. The sound of her full voice against the sparse piano and Paris cafe accordion sends chills down my spine. She evokes love and loss–of the epidemic, of the human condition in general–so superbly here she could make me cry.
When the leaves turn from green to brown
And autumn shades come tumbling down
To leave a carpet on the ground
Where we have laid
When winter leaves her branches bare
And icy breezes chill the air
The freezing snow lies everywhere
My darling, will we still be there?
I mentioned The Blue Nile’s 1989 song “The Downtown Lights”, off of the group’s lauded 1989 Hats, back in August of 2008. I’d actually first heard the song in 1995, when I bought Annie Lennox’s covers album Medusa.
Medusa is more of an uneven album than I thought on first listen, but Lennox’s version of song definitely holds up on re-listening two decades later. I suspect this might be because Lennox and The Blue Nile’s songwriter Paul Buchanan share the same ethos, of the careful construction of quietly passionate songs. Back in 2008, I was struck by this lyric:
Tonight and every night
Let’s go walking down this empty street
Let’s walk in the cool evening light
Wrong or right
Be at my side
The downtown lights
I was in love, then.
Now, it’s the final monologue, about the dead ends of city life and hopes dashed, that gets me.
The neon’s and the cigarettes
Rented rooms and rented cars
The crowded streets, the empty bars
Chimney tops and trumpets
The golden lights, the loving prayers
The colored shoes, the empty trains
I’m tired of crying on the stairs
The downtown lights
The cover of the Eurythmics’ 1983 album Touch is iconic, featuring Annie Lennox in her short dyed orange hair, wearing a leather face mask and flexing her muscles.
He did many more album covers, as the below photo hints at.
Well, not real drag in the sense of adopting another gender. But I was inspired by a Facebooker’s comment on the video of a Eurythmics song being drag did inspire me to try something new.
Jerry took the below picture of me in full uniform.
Below, in lower webcam resolution, is the hat. You can see the rainbow-coloured lei wrapped around the top here.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted the official video of the 1987 Eurythmics song “”Beethoven (I Love to Listen To)” to my Facebook account.
Let me quote Wikipedia’s description of the video.
As the first part of this loose narrative, the “Beethoven” video begins with Lennox portraying a repressed, middle-class housewife, knitting in her apartment. She exhibits characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder through her habitual cleaning and chopping of vegetables. The video also includes a mischievous little girl who has blonde hair, and a man who is wearing make-up and an evening gown, neither of whom are directly noticed by the housewife even though they are in her living room with her. These characters are seemingly components of a new character that the dowdy housewife becomes as she has a nervous breakdown and transforms herself into a blonde, overtly sexual vixen. In this new extroverted persona, she then trashes the apartment that, as a housewife, she meticulously kept clean. The video ends with her walking out into the street laughing.
One commenter, Jonathan, said that this video showed Annie Lennox in drag. It was a special type of drag, though. She was not impersonating a gender different from her biological sex, not impersonating a male (though she has done that on ome occasions); rather, she adopted in the video a model of gendered behaviour, that of an entirely conventional housewife doing the sorts of entirely conventional things that inspired Betty Friedan to write about the housewife’s despair, that Lennox has never adopted in her public persona. It’s somewhat subversive of her image, her audience knows this, and they expect it to collapse.
That got me to thinking. I normally dress fairly conservatively and unimaginatively. (Tell me if I’m wrong, people!) Pride is a time when people step outside the norm and doing something … extravagant. Even over the top.
All I’ll say I that I love inexpensive costume shops.
Subversion can be so fun.