What is with being a mermaid these days? Everyone is like my childhood friend who was so obsessed with Ariel from The Little Mermaid, he grew up, moved to Australia, became a drag queen and put together a show called The Little Merdrag. I’ve never been one for a tail, but I can see the attraction. Half naked, perpetually wet, sings like a nightingale? Boom, sex. And sex sells. Mermaids are everywhere, and my only explanation for the obsession with this particular magical creature is that we all came from the sea and some buried part of our subconscious yearns for it again. Or it could just all boil down to one word: pretty!
Cher, The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)
What better way to introduce this particular k-hole’s theme than Cher, with the theme song to the movie Mermaids? My mom rented this on VHS back when Tops and Bottoms had a whole section devoted to movies you could rent, like Dumaguete’s very own bootleg Blockbuster. (In hindsight, I don’t think any of those tapes were originals at all.) She got this along with Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, and I remember a young me having a raging crush on Michael Schoeffling, the cute gardener Winona Ryder obsesses over. I don’t blame her one bit for going crazy and seducing him in a bell tower on the day JFK was shot. To this day I still have no idea why the movie was called Mermaids although Cher dons a mermaid costume for Halloween and little Christina Ricci is a swimmer who almost drowns, but who cares?
Sade, No Ordinary Love
The alluring Sade Adu is a sea siren who seduces a sailor during Fleet Week. I’m assuming it was Fleet Week, why else is he in that fun little costume? Running barefoot through the gritty city streets because mermaids are immune to tetanus, Sade throws her own rice grains in anticipation of her own wedding, but Fleet Week is over, the sailor is gone and she’s left on the dock sadly chugging seawater, unaware of how plastic bottles would soon come to pollute the ocean. (It was the nineties, we hadn’t trashed this world quite as much just yet.) With that lovely, seductive beat, Sade’s sultry vocals and the alternating themes of sadness and hope, this is still the best depiction of a music video mermaid.
Lady Gaga, Yoü and I
Never mind Nebraska being completely landlocked, here’s Lady Gaga with fins and a tail thrashing around in a bathtub somewhere outside Omaha, because art! Art, and Taylor Kinney. Although anatomical realities make human to mermaid sexy times an impossibility, I’d try doing it anyway if it was with Taylor Kinney, wouldn’t you? Yoü and I is a mess, but it’s a glorious mess, all bionic haute couture, boy drag and piano-playing in the middle of a cornfield. Gaga toes the line between avant-garde and just plain weird, a balance only she could get away with. Ah, the halcyon days before Artpop.
Nicki Minaj feat. Ariana Grande, Bed
And finally, the clip that started this particular k-hole. Nicki Minaj goes from one slithery creature to another in her latest music video, from anaconda to mermaid! Bed, which features preternaturally pony-tailed Ariana Grande, has all the hallmarks of a Nicki Minaj video – boobs, butt, and highlighter for daaaaaaayyys. Other than that, it’s your standard girl on the beach/sea-side condo, inviting you over for a little Netflix and chill. If Sade’s version was about true love, Nicki’s version is a drunken Tinder hook-up that’ll last for all of two hours before you’re both bidding each other goodbye, washing the sand out of your nethers and booking an appointment at the free clinic the very next day. Oh well. Mermaids!