I flutter at the cluttered atrocities of popular music and entertainers. I mean, omigod, they preach the strange and enticing. An unexamined meaning persists, thrilling yet unqualified.
Years ago, I saw a picture of the New Kids on the Block, back when they were both new and kids. Everything seemed to be arranged, pregnant with meaning. The clothing, the rat tail, the postures, the gestures, the everything. They were selling something, they were selling everything.
Wham! constitutes just more more example. Two videos offer plenty to pursue.
First that ridiculously peppy “Wake Me Up Before You go Go Go.” It might drive your crazy, but you cannot take away how infectious this song is. I find it hard to imagine anyone wanting to sing that first line but it all works out. There’s no weightbearing structure but it is lighter than air.
One might be blinded by the cleanness and brightness of everyone involved in this video. Everyone shines. White is the choice for apparel colour. George and Andrew look happy and marvelous. They skitter about the stage in what we eventually realize is a rehearsal. The band and singers all look cheerful backing up the wonderful boys.
George dances an energetic but silly looking club sort of expression. Andrew wields his guitar like a prop. And everyone’s so happy. The lyric suggests the dark possibility of abandonment, but qualifies that with perkiness.
At one point, George at his gleamingest gets some face time. He sits with arms across his chest in a pose that recalls Marilyn Monroe. The lyric is something like “It’s cold outside but it’s warm in here”. He uses his eyes to point outside, and sort of rolls them to indicate in here. It’s all eye candy contrivance.
Midway thru the vid, the white pants of George and Andrew transform into shorts. You can see that George chooses slightly shorter shorts. I’m reminded of Officer Dangle on Reno 911. Tho an eager audience is intimated, we don’t really get that patented fake fun audience excitement that many vids have expressed. The camera’s too intent on the performers, especially and of course George.
There are some out takes, real or not. I mean, a couple of back up singers get their hand gestures wrong: that looks real. George and Andrew are supposed to meet center stage and bend forward toward the camera. In one instance, George overshoots the mark and winds up in front of Andrew. Andrew shoves him hilariously aside and laughs. Well, that hits close to home, we now know. Andrew now tells people he was that dark haired guy in Wham! Really!
I have no idea what Andrew contributes. It astonished me to hear years ago that George was voted Songwriter of the Year in Britain. On the strength of this??? I’ll grant he hits the high notes nicely, not falsetto but real singin’. This confection seems like the only song by him/them that isn’t mush, not to reveal my tastes too much.
The second vid is “Last Christmas”. I never heard the song until literally last Christmas. I remember that Michael had that sex song featuring his butt. I cannot recall the tune but it wasn’t upbeat was it? Seems like he eschewed upbeat after Go Go.
Anyway, “Last Christmas” is a dreadful, obnoxiously whiny song. George Michael, unlucky in love. It is as puerile as Go Go, but without the ameliorating energy. Having suffered a broken heart last year, this year he will give it to someone special. He pronounces special with embarrassing breathiness. Contrived and cheesy. That’s the song. You can sensibly hate it.
The vid goes classic with a gestured story. A gang of clean, attractive people gather at a chalet for a ski vacation. I presume that after finishing the vid they made a tooth whitener commercial to pay for it. Andrew is just one of the gang, smooching and hugging his girlfriend.
George arrives with a blonde. He sees a brunette who clearly is Last Christmas. The rest of the vid shows George with frownie face. His blonde friend melts into the crowd and George rests lingering eye on the brunette. Don’t worry, the entirely new and original tableau of the two having a snowball fight that ends up with them rolling together in the snow has been activated. And I guess things turn out well for George.
Now, I have suggested what became of Andrew but I do not know what happened to George. Did assignations in men’s toilets kill his career, or perhaps drugs. I’m thinking neither has to. Maybe his career is fine and I just don’t know it. He’s old now, tho.