Wednesday, February 22, 2012

80's Rock and Contemporary Pop...

Guns N' Roses, arguably one of the biggest and most successful bands to come out of the 80's is now an iconic symbol of the time period because of several factors, all of which can be seen in the video 'Welcome to the Jungle' released in 1987. Firstly Guns N' Roses clearly represent the fashion of the 1980's with their big hair, ripped and leather trousers and assortments of unbuttoned waist coats and shirts along with other items. The fashion however is not the only component to this as the fashion is simply an accompaniment to the persona the band wishes to convey of hyper sexualised males, living a party/drug fuelled lifestyle and breaking away from the mainstream as much as possible.

The lyrics of the song also attribute to this image which is so iconic of the 80's, sex is an overt theme throughout the video/song as is violence. Several key lines from the song convey these themes and also make a significant statement about what was relevant in the 1980's. "If you got the money honey we got your disease" is a key line in the song as it is clearly referring to the purchase of illegal drugs, the drugs being the 'disease' but could also be interpreted as a comment on aids. "I wanna watch you bleed" is another key line in the song which displays the connection between sex and violence in the song as well as the simple fact that again the line can be interpreted as having an underlying sexual meaning. The line "You can have everything you want but you better not take it from me" is also interesting to analyse as it links fittingly with the movie Wall Street, another iconic symbol of the decade but is also in complete opposition of everything Guns N' Roses represent, or so it would seem. This is perhaps suggesting that the world of ruthless capitalistic gain at the expense of others is not so different from the drug fuelled world of heavy rock. Finally, in regards to the lyrics of the song, the final line "It's gonna bring you down" is significant as it reveals the self-awareness of everything that is wrong with the decade and the lifestyles of the 80's will eventually result in the downfall of the parties involved, but the care free attitude of the band suggests that they know this inevitable downfall is coming but rather than change their lifestyle they're going to enjoy it until that point.

Finally the content of the video itself is significant as it contains actuality footage of current events occurring at the time, specifically footage of wars, uprisings and police brutality. This is significant as the video is clearly as well as expressing its fondness for sex, drugs and rock n' roll also comments on what is wrong with America in this decade.

The music video i have chosen which I feel will either represent contemporary 2012 in thirty years time or still be relevant with contemporary audiences in thirty years time is Justin Bieber's song 'Baby'. This is because of an article I read suggesting that Justin Bieber is the Beatles of the 21st century as he is able to captivate with such intensity and fandom the same audience the Beatles had in the 60's. This combined with Bieber's age leads me to believe, as sad as it may be, Justin Bieber will likely be relevant and successful in thirty years time, hopefully producing better music.

However there is another element behind choosing this video, the content of the video itself is actually quite revealing in comparison to the Guns N' Roses video of 87'. This is because as i stated, Guns N' Roses had a distinct fashion sense which was centred at breaking away from the mainstream, whereas Justin Bieber in contrast is as mainstream and... branded as it is possible to get, whilst emulating another star of the 80's Michael Jackson who also had a 'unique' fashion sense. My final reason for choosing Justin Bieber is that the future will undoubtedly either bring about change and innovation in regards to the music industry in which Bieber's other talents e.g. being able to play the guitar and piano will play a bigger part in his recording than his hair style. Or the future will bring about more of the same, in which case Bieber's auto-tuned, monotonously repetitive and uninspiring rendition of 'baby' may become a timeless classic, auto tune perhaps replacing the synthesisers of the 80's. The fact that 770,000,000 people (twice the population of the US) chose to watch this video would suggest that Bieber perhaps has more longevity than is currently apparent and those 770 million people know something people above the age of 14 are missing out on.

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