I’m trying to keep from thinking about the e-mail my neighbourhood Shoppers Drug Mart just sent. One of their employees just tested positive for the COVID-19 virus last Thursday, the very day I had to go in for some female things. Ugh. My anxiety levels are high, and I’m distracting myself with YouTube videos featuring themes of prison, jail, cages, being trapped, etc., etc. I’m not sure if it’s really helping, but it’s this, or escapist videos of beautiful lives and butterflies, and I do love a timely theme, so let’s start off with an angry, incarcerated cry for help in the form of…
They Don’t Care About Us – Michael Jackson
The prison version of They Don’t Care About Us is lesser known than the one set in a Brazilian favela, and came with a disclaimer, because not only was the song (and its lyrics) controversial at the time, so was the imagery of human rights abuses.
Michael Jackson was a true creative genius who used the chaos of his personal life to fuel his creative output. His songs of love, isolation, hate and injustice still ring true, decades after he first came out with them, and his vision was always prescient (also see: Earth Song). It’s a shame his legacy has been left so tarnished.
The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani
Now why does this look familiar? Oh, yes. Do you know anyone working from home right now, complaining about how life is so hard, they’re going to need therapy when all this is over? What about the ones going “we needed this” from the safety of their own homes, secure in the knowledge that they don’t necessarily have to go out to earn a livelihood? This video is for you. Here’s Gwen Stefani in the bougiest gilded cage known to man, singing about how she yearns to be free, while us poors putting ourselves at risk look on, wanting to kick her in the tits. I know, I sound bitter (and really, that’s not what song is about, lol). But like I told someone earlier this week, if you’re happy and not in any way, shape or form endangered by homeless crack addicts at the moment, I’m not interested in hearing “we needed this” from you.
Telephone – Lady Gaga (feat. Beyonce)
Speaking of we needed this, Lady Gaga’s Telephone (featuring Beyonce) is arguably the music video that established her as a musician with a definite point of view – she was going to be weird, she was going to be out there, she was going to be seen, godamnit – and she wasn’t going to be cheap about it. I’d argue that Gaga injected some much needed energy into the (then) fading music video landscape with this short film masquerading as a music video. It was a throwback to the glory days when music videos that had stories to tell ruled the airwaves, and you can bet Beyonce never allowed herself to be this upstaged ever again.
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
“Number forty-seven said to number three, you’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see, I sure would be delighted with your company, come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me…” Homo-erotic? Scandalous? For 1957, this is a big fat yes. I never really saw what about those hips made the girls scream and quake and throw their underwear, but I saw parts of Preseley’s leather-clad comeback in HBO’s The Searcher, and finally, finally got it. He ruled for a reason. Elvis Presley in his prime was hot.
I started this post with the King of Pop, and I’m ending it with the original King of Pop – you didn’t think I was going to leave out The King, did you? Elvis Presley is in the building with those wicked, wicked hips of his, singing about having yourself some good old fun in the clinker. And we should take note of his advice. After all, if we can’t find a way to amuse ourselves right now, we’re going to go nuts.