Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sex Mechanics From Planet Xanadu

A blog I’ve recently started following, TYWKIWDBI (“Things You Wouldn’t Know If We Didn’t Blog Intermittently” ) put up a post on “Tall Paul,” a 1959 Annette Funicello song that was the first rock and roll single by a solo female singer to make it on the top ten charts. It’s… bizarre. It hardly seems to qualify at rock and roll, by the standards of today or even the standards of pop culture just a few years after the song was released. The blogger makes a valid point about this strangeness: “It’s axiomatic that tastes in music and art change with time, but sometimes the degree of change within the span of one lifetime is so extreme that the mind reels.” I was rolling that thought around in my head when I watched the following video.

It’s the Dutch band Mistral, performing its 1978 song “Neon City” on German TV. Having thought about it quite a bit, I honestly can’t decide if this is a “Tall Paul” or not. Does it, in fact, demonstrate how far music has come from what at least what a few Europeans thought would sound hot so many years ago? Or is it even stranger yet because it’s not all that far off from what certain pop genres are doing today, if not in terms of sound then at least presentation? Would I bat an eye at all if someone like Jessie J or Ke$ha wore these exact outfits on stage, maybe to dress up a more modern but equally vapid, equally terrible song? No. I might wince, but I would nothing about my facial reaction would indicate that this was strange.

I suppose I should also note that Mistral’s first single — “Nectar,” whose album art alone is worth a few seconds of consideration — has aged much better and in fact sounds quite a bit like early Goldfrapp.

Either way, I suppose the mind reels.

Now That’s What Europe Called Music, previously:

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