March 7, 2010

Just Like Your Mother

It's difficult to write about a subject unless you know what inspires them. Why did Jack White name his daughter Scarlett? Probably because he likes red heads. So, what defines a Jack White muse?

Here are three music videos that probe the question. Superficially, they might be categorized as pessimistic vignettes that parallel the style of film noir. The art of exposing the black hearts of cynical people. There is certainly a tale of Gothic romance present in all three videos.

Like in a film noir, visible are  dramatic shadow patterns, skewed angles, skies painted hopeless and ultimately a story of people trapped in undesired situations. It seems there is an eroticism Jack White would like to evoke from lonely, frustrated women. While film noir is centered around women of questionable virtue, the temptress femme fatale is lost in all three.

That doesn't mean Jack White does not take his woman with a grain of salt. In the recent The Ghost Who Walks, Karen Elson sings: "she looked at him with pleading eyes, he softly spoke my dear the love has died and then he muffled her deadly cries." She is vengeful in her subdued tone, as the sarcasm also plays off the lifeless zombies in the background.

In What Can I Do? the Black Belles sing: "yeah i am sorry that i wasn't able to make you stay, i wanna make you happy, but I couldn't make you feel it every day." Heavy eye make up and a lot of black help them prove their point.

Let's call Treat me Like your Mother a fair fight in the battle of the roses.

While this doesn't necessarily answer my original question, let's not overlook those bad ass gingers like poison ivy and sleeping beauty.

1 comment:

Multicultural Friends said...

I like this. Underlying JW's efforts, perhaps, seems to be the noble, yet always hypocritical, desire for authenticity. He seems to recognize this, having recently deliberated on the subject publicly: "I don't know if Bob Dylan and Tom Waits are as authentic as I think they are. Perhaps they're not. Sometimes you start thinking that maybe Britney Spears or someone like that who's doing exactly what they want to do in the way they best know how, is more authentic than any of those people you could mention." It's similar to the debate when designing a pizza: strive to execute an authentic pie, or twist the ingredients for ingenious creations like island pizza...