Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In Fact, I Will Tell You What’s the Matter

I present to you Ellen Foley’s inexplicable performance of her cover of “What’s a Matter, Baby?”


I... have some notes.

First, this is the opening frame of the video.


I’m guessing that’s Andrea Martin handing Ellen Foley the mike? And she’s dressed like a colonial-era witch for some reason? I don’t know why I pose it as a question; there is no answer, clearly.

Furthermore, I can’t tell if the dancing girls in the spinning, translucent cube look more like they’re the victims of some sci-fi mastermind who’s torturing them or if their gyrations are actually powering the spinning cube. In this latter case, the cube is still a torture device. Obviously.

Ellen Foley, it should be noted, is dressed like a gym teacher who is also a superhero. From Texas.

The effect they used to fade from the spinning cube action to Ellen Foley’s album cover yields the following disturbing image.


Not that the album art itself isn’t disturbing on its own...



Here, Ellen Foley seems sad that the translucent cube seems to be filling up with sudsy water. Is she the dancing girls’ captor? Is she saddened at being tasked with executing them? Why do I keep asking unanswerable questions?



Ellen Foley is, however, a knockout, regardless of the many mysteries being presented in this video.


But the pairing of the lyrics “How does it feel?” with the spinning cube of gradual sudsy death nonetheless makes it seem like she truly is the evil mastermind, and she’s offering a pop version of “Prepare to die, Mr. Bond.”

“Oh no! The bubble level is rising! Who will save our oblivious dancing girls?”



Eventually, she sings “How does it feel / To be on the outside looking in?” It’s so on-the-nose that it’s leaving smudge marks on the translucent cube, but it’s also a question that Ellen Foley shouldn’t need to ask. She should know how it feels to be on the outside. That’s where she is now.

Then, at the 1:35 mark, the action abruptly shifts to a scene where a man points a gun at another and then a set well collapses. I can’t imagine why, other than the show’s director saying “Cut to backstage. We can’t show these dancing girls drowning on live TV.”


But no, we’re back to the cube again, death as imminent as ever.


Is the cube a primitive laundry machine? Just asking. Not asking this lady though. She doesn’t seem to be of sound mind enough to have consented to this.


This one: “Huh. Mom was right after all. I should have gone to nursing school.”


Among many, many questions, one thing is for sure: Ellen Foley is into this.


That title, in retrospect, seems like it should be attached to a song that explains basic scientific principles.

The official video for “What’s a Matter Baby?” is less strange, though far from normal.


Ellen Foley, by the way, is the singer who dueted with Meatloaf in “Paradise by Dashboard Light.” She’s also an actress, and appeared in Fatal Attraction, Tootsie and Cocktail, as well as on Night Court, but she’s somehow escaped my notice until today.

Finally, here’s the original, 1962 version of the song by Timi Yuro. Yes, that’s a woman. Can you imagine that voice coming out of this body?


Her voice is mesmerizing, even without a spinning translucent cube with which to pair it.

Weird things pop music did, previously:

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