Archive for the ‘Preliminary Glamspectorations’ Category

I wanna be your guy (x2)

I already know the way you walk home.

your three favorite movies and your telephone.

I wanna be your guy (x2)

you may find it funny but i noticed your hair, today.

you were wearing it in a slightly different way.

I wanna be your guy (x2)

maybe i’ll try and call you again.

i wonder if it’s okay to call past ten.

i’ll make you dinner and write you a song.

you’ll love me and leave me before too long.

I wanna be your guy. (x4)

The above song, by now-defunct Muckafurgason is one of the tracks featured on “The Gay EP,” their last release. Without having told you so, you might assume the song was from a 1950’s teeny bopper to the cutie in the poodle skirt next door. The music (which is, unfortunately not available on YouTube) is a throwback to 1950’s lounge music, which of course is meant to heighten the sense of irony. I was reminded of this track while reading through Philip Auslander’s Performing Glam Rock of University of Michigan Press – particularly during his discussion of Sha-Na-Na. The strange combination of 1950’s aesthetic riffs with post-counter-culture sexual ethics as a means of critiquing the limitations of those ethics is a kind of dissonance that I find fairly provocative. I am not attempting to say that Mucka is glam rock (or even, I suppose, that it is directly influenced by glam), but our discussion of the performance of homosexuality made me (myself a ‘mo) want to take the opportunity to toss a couple things out there.

I ‘m not even sure that Mucka’s members are themselves gay – information about the band and its members is a little tough to come by). If not, this would provide one connection with many of the glam rockers of the 70’s for whom exaggerated expressions of gender and sexuality were a means to…to…to rebel (fitting them into the Oedipal complex discourse of music history)? To create a wider space for people to accept / discover their own identities? To shock, to provoke? I’m not sure actually.

Bowling for soup’s “I’m Gay,” potentially has similar undertones (depending on whatever Mucka actually meant with the Gay EP tunes). “I’m Gay” plays off of the double entendre as a way perhaps of re-claiming the word for straight folks (they’re all straight). The song is a cheeky, cheerful diatribe against rockers that are too emo, the central thesis of the song seems bet summed up by the line “I think rock and roll is really funny when it’s serious.” Notable in the lyrics is the bridge section where a dialog develops between the lead singer and various members of the band:

Leader: It’s perfectly fine to be a happy individual

(One band member repeats)

L: Chris, Gary, you wanna join in

Chris : Yeah Man

Gary: Sorry Dude…

L: It’s perfectly fine to be a happy individual

Others: It’s perfectly fine to be a happy individual (in a fake campy accent)

How are we supposed to understand that little quip? What is it’s deliberate message? BFS obviously doesn’t want you to take them too seriously (Sha-Na-Na?) – I mean, the title of the album the song comes from is “The Great Burrito Extortion Case.” However, the song portrays a tenuous support, maybe a conflicted one, for the source of the songs pun – gay people. I tend to think it was inserted into the song to increase the appeal to people who are not affirming of LGBT folk – “hey guys, we’re just kidding, some of us aren’t comfortable with it either…”

Sigur Ròs’ Jonsi Birgisson, however, is the real thing. The FAQ page of the band’s official website reveals that yes in fact, Jonsi is gay. There is only one SR song I know of that deals with issue of homosexuality, the video for Vidrar Vel Til Loftarasa (Good Weather for Airstrikes) from ágætis byrjun (an alright start) features the story of a small Icelandic boy with a penchant for playing with dolls (hey! it’s gender performance!) and his father / community that provide a painful and difficult environment for his identity formation. Here’s the link:

Sigur Ròs presents a stronger, more direct activism – even if perhaps too literally-minded – than did the glam rock of the 70’s or the sarcasm-rock found in Mucka (maybe) and Bowling for Soup. There’s little symbolism here, nor reference to any other time but our own. Also, and most importantly, Jonsi self-identifies unambiguously as a gay man – which makes a big difference.

Anywho, this post is getting interminably long, so I leave you with a short list of some other interesting folks to check out: Matmos (and Martin Schmidt’s solo project Soft Pink Truth), Ani Difranco (of course), Tori Fixx (gay hip-hop artist), Jason and DeMarco (crappy gay contemporary Christian duo), Chris Garneau (a kind of clippy Sufjan Stevens), and Rufus Wainwright (esp. “Gay Messiah”). Let me know what you think.


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