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Posts Tagged ‘election’

You’ve all seen this by now, right?Aside from production issues, and they are legion–the green-screen problems periodically turning the woman on the left’s top or bottom ghost-like, John McCain’s weird disembodied head bouncing in a crazy zig-zag, the cheap electronic music, the fact that none of the “McCain Girls” are singers and “Rainin’ Men” is not an easy song to sing, etc.–this is an interesting entry into the election-year music video scene.

I’m interested in the ways that the song has been mangled to create pure political material. Not at all unlike “Rock Around Barak,” where the original had implications that are simply not part of the remake, there seems to be nothing but a formal reason to sing a version of “It’s Rainin’ Men” here. That is, nothing about that song, except for the notion of men (and John McC as one) seems to suggest the political content of the new version. It’s why, for me, “Yes, We Can” remains the only genuinely compelling piece of political art from this campaign season–it is the only one in which form and content are basically integrated.

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Did Will.I.Am read (and hate) Maureen Dowd’s post (linked here)? Did Obama? Did Scarlett Johansson and Herbie Hancock and Kareem Abdul Jabbar and John Legend and the lot of them?

Perhaps not, but this is a nice response to the notion of Obama-as-Smooth-Jazz-Modernity. It is certainly smooth, and like Hancock’s Joni Mitchell tribute (I wrote about it here) it has its jazzy-qualities; but this is a far hipper, somewhat younger Obama-music connection. And one that, like Smooth Jazz, has racialized overtones for some audiences, but that can be read as (and is explicitly) multi-racial.

And it is gorgeous.  I love the multi-voiced quality, the overlapping sounds of men and women’s registers.  As I love it in Leonard Cohen’s work and Helena Noguera’s.

Smart politics, smart music, well done.

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