June 17, 2018

Some fascinating photography and dance at the Louvre...

... in this new Beyonce and Jay-Z video, which is called "Apeshit":



There's lots of "Mona Lisa" in that video, but there's other Louvre art shown very well. Watch for "The Coronation of Napoleon" (beginning at 1:37 and then at 4:01). And the "Winged Victory of Samothrace" and the museum's beautiful staircase make a stage set for lots of interesting dancing.

I've got nothing to say about the music, because I don't listen to this kind of music enough to be able to hear it, let alone have an opinion, but I'm extremely interested in the use of artwork — the long views, the closeups, the combination with dancers.

I can hear some of the words, and they seem to be just expressing gratitude about having become rich and famous. The title — which had me thinking about Roseanne's recent ape-related screwup — seems to be simply a reference to the enthusiasm of Beyonce and Jay-Z's fans — "Have you ever seen a crowd going apeshit?"

Let me look up the lyrics and read them. Here. I see there's something about pay equity:
Rah, gimme my check
Put some respeck on my check
Or pay me in equity, pay me in equity
Or watch me reverse out the dick (skrrt)
The annotation explains that last line as "a simple threat: she’ll leave projects and especially men that are cutting her a less-than-satisfactory check for her work."
He wanna go with me (go with me)
He like to roll the weed (roll with me)
He wanna be with me (be with me)
He wanna give me that vitamin D (D!)
I did not need to click on the annotation or use Urban Dictionary to understand the term "vitamin D."

When Jay-Z finally gets his closeup, he begins:
I'm a gorilla in the fuckin' coop
Finna pull up in the zoo
I'm like Chief Keef meet Rafiki
Who been Lion King to you
Pocket watch it like kangaroos
Tell these clowns we ain't amused
Banana clips for that monkey business...
Last night was a fuckin' zoo
Stagedivin' in a pool of people
Ran through Liverpool like a fuckin' Beatle
Smoke gorilla glue like it's fuckin' legal....
All that "ape" and "gorilla" business seems like an invitation to white people to Roseanne ourselves. According to the annotation at the lyrics link:
Jay directly quotes rapper, Chief Keef’s “Faneto”, the first of many animal references he makes throughout this verse.

I’m a gorilla in a fuckin' coupe, finna pull up to the zoo...

“Gorilla” is a racial slur directed towards black people who are perceived by some to be primitive or ape-like. Jay embraces this word proudly and uses it as a sense of empowerment.

“Coupe” or “Coop” are interchangeable. The latter continues Jay’s animalistic theme, saying he is a Gorilla among chickens.
ADDED: This is missing all the art, but musically, it's so much more my style (from 1970):



The lyrics are as fresh as ever:
I think I'm so educated and I'm so civilized
'Cause I'm a strict vegetarian
But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I don't feel safe in this world no more
I don't want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man
We had crazy politicians and a threat of nuclear war back in 1970s. That's not just some new thing cooked up for you kids today.

103 comments:

Darrell said...

It's as if Robert Browning lives.

rhhardin said...

If you weren't impressed by the previous ape rage you may miss the connection.

Rick.T. said...

From the perspective of older white Western male privilege, the qualitative difference between the modern song and dance arts with the older painting and sculpture arts is....stark.

tim in vermont said...

Chris Rock made a movie like Heaven Can Wait, where he died by mistake and an angel brought him back white and he did his comedy routine at the Apollo about “two kinds of malls.” Seems like Chris Rock is a stone cold racist.

tim in vermont said...

The most fascinating part about the whole thing is to see the Louvre empty of the massive crowds.

rhhardin said...

There's a possibility of irony. Zoos have replaced cages with habitats.

So it's an ape habitat for a very rich monkey.

rhhardin said...

Metairony: it's a deep analysis that white people can't mention, and it's white to do deep analysis.

Darrell said...

"Underground"

Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Rushing water,
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.

--Barack Obama

FIDO said...

They are trolling. No doubt.

It's like that Netflix show Troy w a Black Zeus (and White Hera) and Achillies: begging for anyone to comment on the ridiculous casting choices.

Since every white male is a racist, I no longer care about racial civility per se.

And the stark contrast of 100 people and singers operating in unison and or counterpoint, with swelling instrumentals all hitting the same beat and pitch, compared to low range rhythmic grunting to an electric beat...just ridiculous and weak.

They seek grace and culture on the cheap. They aren't artists but products.

Darrell said...

I suppose there is a world where everybody sounds better in autotune.

Owen said...

When alien anthropologists sift the debris of our dead world, these lyrics will puzzle them. Perhaps one of them will compose a poem like Shelley's "Ozymandias" --

I am Ozymandias, king of kings!
Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Ray Visotski said...

The future of urban America.
They just don't write 'em like that anymore.

tim in vermont said...

I don’t think that casting a black man as Zeus is necessarily a bad choice, if one could somehow leave racial politics out of it. Zeus was a mythical figure, after all. But Netflix has become a purveyor of little morality plays illustrating for us how we are supposed to think and live. Anne With an ‘E’, the reboot of Anne of Green Gables is one. In many formerly heavily Catholic cities, like Boston and Montreal, church leaders used to have control over what movies were shown when. Now the tiny number of families that control these conglomerates that formerly produced entertainment make those choices.

rehajm said...

Quoi?

FIDO said...

I have less of a problem with a black Zeus than black Greeks and Trojans. And even if one wanted to make the tedious overdone lecture of monochromatic Greeks vs multicultural Trojans, one would expect the TROJANS to comment at this: 'when you came to us from Egypt, Aneas, we didn't know who you were but you repaid our trust tenfold.' Or some such rot.

I don't like being trolled and the quality did not bear more watching.

Darrell said...

I suppose there is a world where anybody sounds better in autotune.

David Begley said...

I only hope the French got at least $100k from those two to rent out their IP.

The dance and photography were very interesting and good, but the music and lyrics were completely horrible and devoid of artistic quality. I am no fan of the Kinks but their music was 10x better.

The music from today’s black community reflects their moral bankruptcy and lack of talent.

Compare “Apeshit” to “Color him Father” by Richard Spencer and the Winstons (1969).

J. E. Malthaus said...

The juxtaposition of modern black culture against the backdrop of white-European curated culture has the possibility to be potent.

I Googled the Louvre and Slavery and came across a piece in Manifesta Journal:

"In France, the shift between analysis of representations of the “Black Man” and the “Slave” tends to repeat what colonial slavery has constructed: an equivalence between the two figures—yet two figures between which I believe it is important to mark a distinction. When did the slave become “black”? When did freedom become “white” and servitude “black”? Otherwise, this absence of analysis allows, without any critical distance, the endless reproduction of paintings such as François Auguste Biard’s Abolition of Slavery, 27 April 1848. The sentimentality and its prefiguration of the civilizing mission do not appear to cause any problems even among postcolonial critics, for whom they have become iconic. Yet, the painting transforms abolition into a gift; it masks the bitterness of the slaves’s struggles, and the difficult and long battle that the abolitionists underwent. It shows a “white” man carrying a French flag, bringing freedom to the black slaves. A black woman on her knees kisses the feet of two white women, and two black men embrace each other, brandishing their broken chains..."

Beyonce and Jay-Z moving through an empty museum can be seen to have an apocalyptic feel: the remaining man moving through the remnants of a past that has been mostly destroyed is a key scene in such post-civilization films.

In this manner, the contrast of who they are -- and may be seen to represent -- puts the past further back in the rear-view mirror: it is their world now, they have inherited the ruins and the isolated outposts of beauty.

Black culture is viewing the previous culture's jewels in a museum that is more than a collection, it is hermetic: they are outsiders, and the video samples the art like rap music samples previous recordings for a snippet here, a drum-fill there -- it exists only to be repurposed.

However, the song is divorced from the imagery: the same lyrics could be performed over the journey through a Seven-Eleven's aisles, and the change would be inconsequential in context of the music.

The video sees an opportunity to be art; the song is the acknowledgement of disposable commerce.

From the internet article "15 Fine Art References in Hip-Hop Music":

"Hoes pop up at shows to get escorted out
I'm like the Statue of David, except I'm more endowed"

"Victory to me is when you get your moms right, niggas
Got this shit twisted like Jean-Michel Basquiat destroyed his pictures
Self-inflicted homicide, don't pull the trigger"

"Neidhart, ride dirty in the five sharp
Hand skills, Jean Claude, fine art
Put my head right through the Monet, ole
All the drugs I smoke, my lungs are probably coal gray
Ice on the Rollie, dykes on the pole play"

I will say I am disappointed.

But I did get an amused smile from this one:

"I just want a Picasso in my casa, no, my castle
I'm a hassa, no, I'm an asshole
I'm never satisfied, can't knock my hustle
I wanna Rothko, no, I want a brothel"

But for a meme-style version of the video in question there is this site: If he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster.

-LWL

tim in vermont said...

I don’t like being trolled

The reason I cancelled Netflix.

Darrell said...

The link for the lyrics goes to the Roseanne article--same as the previous one.

J. E. Malthaus said...

"Beyonce and Jay-Z moving through an empty museum can be seen to have an apocalyptic feel: the remaining man moving through the remnants of a past that has been mostly destroyed is a key scene in such post-civilization films."

This brings to mind the 2007 film "I Am Legend", where " a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants. He wanders alone through New York City, calling out for other possible survivors, and works on finding a cure for the plague using his own immune blood."

The brilliant scientist is former rapper Will Smith.

The film is a re-make of 1971's 'The Omega Man', which starred Charlton Heston.

So: in 1971 Ben-Hur/Moses wanders through the Apocalypse.

36 years later, the apocalypse is wandered through by the guy who did "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."

36 years: some apocalypses are slower than others.

-LWL

Darrell said...

Will Smith was supposed to be in the new Dumbo, too, until he found out that English paychecks don't have that many zeroes at the end as he's used to.

David Begley said...

Is it okay to say that Jay-Z (real name unknown to me) looks completely ridiculous with that chain around his neck?

David Begley said...

Shawn Carter and his wife have a net worth of $1.16b. Crime does pay.

rehajm said...

The Kinks are kind of stale- inflation and core cpi has been low and trending lower in developed world and you need to go full vegan or worse to signal any virtue. Vegetarianism doesn’t cut it anymore.

Ann Althouse said...

"The link for the lyrics goes to the Roseanne article--same as the previous one."

Thanks for telling me. I've fixed it.

Darrell said...

I'd bust a cap in somebody's ass if I got all the way there and didn't see the sisters rolling around and dancing on the steps.

Eleanor said...

I'd tell you what I really think about this, but I'm already in the doghouse this weekend for saying an ad's picture of a vegan snack made the food look completely unappetizing. I can only handle one wing of the SJW brigade at a time. Reinforcements have arrived on that battlefied so maybe before the day is out I can address this sacrilege.

Bay Area Guy said...

Where is Nat King Cole when you really need him......

tcrosse said...

Where is Nat King Cole when you really need him......

With Ella Fitzgerald.

jwl said...

Metallica's song Whiplash is by far the best song about fans going apeshit.

Quaestor said...

I have watched barely half the video through yet, but so far Jacques-Louis David is overwhelmingly represented — starting with The Oath of the Horatii, later showing many others including The Intervention of the Sabine Women, The Coronation of Napoleon, as noted by Althouse, and several of his portraits, including Pope Pius VII, Madame Recamier, and two of his self-portraits.

J. E. Malthaus said...


This has also made me remember the cover to the first Bow Wow Wow album.

From Wiki:

"The album cover of their debut album, See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! depicted the band recreating Édouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, with a then fourteen year old Lwin posing nude. Photographed by Andy Earl, the cover caused outrage that led to an investigation by Scotland Yard, instigated by Lwin's mother.[12]"

The pictures:

Édouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l'herbe,

Bow Wow Wow

In reference to apes and the jungle, here are a few thematic song titles from the album:

"King Kong"
"Orang-outang"
"Jungle Boy"
"(I'm A) T.V. Savage"

And, in reference to the album name:

"It was also charged that Bow Wow Wow plagiarised melodies from Zulu jive songs and Zulu pop songs and turned the original Zulu lyrics into English mondegreens, as with the origin of the lines "See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah! City All over Go Ape Crazy!", "Golly! Golly! Go Buddy!" and "Hey i-yai-yo". "

-LWL

Paco Wové said...

I am eagerly awaiting the day when the nation's founding documents are translated into Rap.

JackWayne said...

It’s good rock ‘n roll because it’s over the top pretentious. Painfully pretentious.

Owen said...

LWL: Likin' yo' riff, makin' me stiff,
All that talk of an Apocalypse
Poppin' like a weapon clip
No stoppin' that refrain
No hoppin' off that train
Headed down the cosmic drain

Quaestor said...

Apparently, the Louvre administration was unwilling to give Jay-Z et al free run of the joint, hence the abundance of Davids. Didn't see my favorite though, Napoleon Crossing the Alps.

tcrosse said...

Please exit through the gift shop.

Jersey Fled said...

Amazing what passes for music these days.

holdfast said...

Will Smith may not be the best actor out there, but he's got a lot of charisma and turns in reliably engaging performances. I had no problem with I Am Legend, except maybe the writing at the end - and that's hardly Smith's fault.

Quaestor said...

On reflection, the overabundance of Davids fits the "Apeshit" crap rather nicely in an ironic sort of way. David rose to acclaim in a period when art was judged on its political content. During the Revolution several top dogs, including Danton, St. Just and the arch-guillotiner himself, sponsored salons where approved artists were invited to exhibit their instructive works, the most acclaimed receiving a laurel diadem and a fistful of assignats as reward. Then, as later in Soviet Russia, and now here in the good ole US of A, aesthetics being not even secondary to righteous political content.

Gahrie said...

I believe "coupe" is referring to a car.

J. E. Malthaus said...

Althouse wrote: "I did not need to click on the annotation or use Urban Dictionary to understand the term "vitamin D."

You probably don't need the Urban Dictionary for these food-related euphemisms, either:

From Bustle's "Top 10 Best Euphemisms For Sex From Your Favorite 00s Rap Songs":

"I'll take you to the candy shop, I'll let you lick the lollipop..."

"Girls call me Jolly Rancher, oh, 'cause I stay so hard, you can suck me for a long time, oh my God..."

"Go downtown and eat it like a vulture..."

"My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard..."

"Gimme some of your butter pecan, put it right there on the tip of my tongue..."

""If you hold the head steady I'mma milk the cow..."


And there are rap lines like these:

"My dick is made of carrots/Bunnies wanting to get fed..."

"Killin bitches sniffin' panties/Willy Wonka candy semen..."

"And still fucking with them freak hoes/Stank pussy smelling like Cool Ranch Doritos..."

"Her pussy hole smelled like sour cream and onion/But once I got started, there was no stoppin/I hit rock bottom and the pussy started fartin'..."

"I'm repping 6 Kiss cause I'm smooth like silk/Fuck your ho in the ass and her pussy squirted milk..."

Maybe these tracks could've been filmed in a Food museum.

-LWL

Fernandinande said...

With the sound off it was cultural disapprobation.

Speaking of French videos, here's the last public execution by guillotine, (17Jun) 79 years ago in Versailles.

Sebastian said...

"I'm a gorilla in the fuckin' coop
Finna pull up in the zoo
I'm like Chief Keef meet Rafiki"

Poetry for people who despise poetry.

Anyway, this culturally-appropriating romp through an empty Louvre is just the latest example of black privilege.

madAsHell said...

That's not just some new thing cooked up for you kids today.

I'm guessing your demographic was mostly born on the wrong side on 1989.

FIDO said...

Well, to be fair, Mozart supposedly wrote a song about farting and bowel movements. Granted, it was more complex and musically engaging than apeshit

Birkel said...

The heyday for rap music was the late 70s through the early 90s. That era's music consisted of people telling stories about the lives they saw - often glamorized and perhaps even fake. The value of the music was to hear about things one hadn't actually experienced personally. To see life through the artists' eyes was the point.

I do not need people to tell me what it's like to be extremely rich. My strong belief is that I understand what it would be like to control even 100 million dollars. (If somebody wishes to challenge this belief, provide the $100 million and test me, bro.)

Country music is best when it tells a story, similarly. And if Tim McGraw and Faith Hill start telling people about their lavish lifestyle their fans will abandon them.

Robert Cook said...

"This brings to mind the 2007 film 'I Am Legend,' where 'a brilliant scientist, is a survivor of a man-made plague that transforms humans into bloodthirsty mutants. He wanders alone through New York City, calling out for other possible survivors, and works on finding a cure for the plague using his own immune blood.'

"The brilliant scientist is former rapper Will Smith.

"The film is a re-make of 1971's 'The Omega Man', which starred Charlton Heston."


More to the point, it is yet another adaptation of Richard Matheson's short novel, "I AM LEGEND." (The title only makes sense at the very end of the book, when its ironic meaning becomes apparent.) The first adaptation of the book was "THE LAST MAN ON EARTH" in 1964 starring Vincent Price. No film will be able to achieve the effect of the novel, given that its meaning and impact are conveyed via the protagonist's first person point of view.

George Romero credited Matheson's novel as an inspiration for THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Gahrie said...

Smoke gorilla glue like it's fuckin' legal.

I believe Gorilla Glue is a 'flavor" of marijuana.

FIDO said...

Mozart was also a musical outlier of his day as well. And Beyoncé doesn't have as much talent as Mozart had in his farts.

BUMBLE BEE said...

It is actually worse than you folks have described! However, quoth Titus, "TITS"

wwww said...


"I'm guessing your demographic was mostly born on the wrong side on 1989."


This demo was born on the other side of 1960. Wrong side of 1989 is one of younger demographics. but not as young as the adults born in 2000.

Baby boomers dominated everything, from the time of teenage years until a few years ago, when millennials became adults. It must be strange, now that they are less then the millennial gen.

All the advertisements, everything, was geared to the tastes of the Boomers, until a few years ago.

khematite said...

Can't wander into ape territory without a nod to Ernie Kovacs' Nairobi Trio, performing Robert Maxwell's "Solfeggio." Visually great, in its own way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=416o9b_pjQk

William said...

Back when The Kinks had the shock of the new, I liked them, but old people, i.e. people of my current age, thought the music was trash, especially when compared to the glories of Gershwin and Rodgers. Maybe old people were right, but some of the Kinks music still sounds fresh and it illumined the moment. My judgment in such matters is ignorant and unqualified but I think Beyoncé is good looking, the music isn't catchy, and the lyrics are execrable. Maybe in fifty years people will view them as the Captain & Tenneille or maybe they'll be Ella and Louis. Tough race to handicap.

Phil 314 said...

And the Trump voters are the deplorables?

jaydub said...

Very avant garde of Althouse to surface this depravity, rub her readers' noses in its filthy lyrics and then explain it all away as art and dance appreciation. But, you're just gaslighting us aren't you? Regardless, a new low for this particular blog. Congratulations!

Darrell said...

Regardless, a new low for this particular blog. Congratulations!

Everybody's a fucking critic. Give us a link to your wonderful blog.

Jupiter said...

Interesting. Their "music" is obsessed with sex and money, the debasing passions that make life possible. And their celebration of their own debasement has brought them wealth and fame. Yet they seem to have some appreciation, however dim, that there are other obsessions available. They sense the beauty, in this civilization they have discovered. They want to be part off it, to join it, to be as it is, perhaps ultimately to surpass it. But failing that, they want to destroy it.

todd galle said...

The Kinks were one of the best stage concert shows I have seen, and I've seen many like most here. Early 80s in Philly. Phantastic. The concert T shirt is one of a lot my wife gave to our kirk for charity, including several early Suicidal Tendencies and Fear shirts. I might have sold them on ebay and satisfied a mortgage payment, but now someone in a Third World county is wearing my mosh pit duds and mugging for a PBS camera.

Seeing Red said...

I watched it last night. The first thing I thought is that’s not the Mona Lisa since the Mona Lisa is a lot smaller. (The things you learn when you travel and before the internet)

Money can’t buy class. And art changes.

Ok you made it, Congrats, only in America, now what are you gonna do?

I was also thinking, hey, let’s write a song about making it.

Are they paying their fair share?

buwaya said...

The barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire seem to have had a similar attitude, on the whole.
They liked the bling but lacked the will to adopt the culture sufficiently so as to create such bling.
Or even different bling of comparable quality.
Hence the grotesque disaster that was the fall of Rome.

It was Roman politics that led to the military failure that let the barbarians crack the Roman frontiers.
It is a similar sort of failure that is permitting this modern situation.
Granted, the barbarians of the fourth-fifth century had, and required, considerable military skill, which the modern ones have not demonstrated.

Here you have barbarians dancing among things they can at best vaguely feel.
The cinematographers most certainly were very different people than the performers and songwriters.

Seeing Red said...

Smoke gorilla glue like it's fuckin' legal.

That’s the message the young need to hear! Sit around stoned! You’ll make it, too like us!

Seeing Red said...

OTOH, that might be the first time a lot of their viewers ever saw Old Masters. It was nice the New Masters gave us a tour.

Seeing Red said...

to take it a step further: The Carters have the money and contacts to build their own wing at any museum.

buwaya said...

In Los Angeles this weekend, family thing, there were a couple of hours free, and so we dropped by the LA County Art Museum.
Not one of the worlds great museums.
Sadly most of it was closed for renovation. The best part open was the South/Central American section, with a great deal of precolumbian sculpture and pottery. And a section too of paintings and etc. from the Spanish colonial period.
These are not "academic" art at all, by any means, compared to the European 19th century, but what they showed was skill and effort.
The colonial paintings are tremendously detailed, intricate.

tcrosse said...

They missed the dogs playing poker.

tim in vermont said...

"Girls call me Jolly Rancher, oh, 'cause I stay so hard, you can suck me for a long time, oh my God..."

What a treat for the ladies.

wholelottasplainin said...

Paco Wové said...
I am eagerly awaiting the day when the nation's founding documents are translated into Rap.

*****************************

I've seen a spoof on Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech rendered in Ebonics. It begins:

"DAMN!! I be dreamin'!!"

Portlandmermaid said...

The artwork didn't elevate the performances and vice versa, but the closeups of the brushstrokes were nice.

Robert Cook said...

"Their 'music' is obsessed with sex and money, the debasing passions that make life possible."

The prevailing passions of humankind and of its societies, however disguised or prettied up. As The Dictators, a white punk group (pre-dating the Ramones) sang in a fairly recent recording (early 2000s):

"What's it all about?
Pussy and money
I ain't tryin' to be cute
I ain't tryin' to be funny
Everybody lies about
Pussy and money"


In another verse, the "lies" becomes "cries."

Robert Cook said...

Pussy and Money

The Dictators have always been pretty funny, too.

Annie said...

Seeing Red and Buyawa nailed it -

"Money can’t buy class."
.
.

"The barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire seem to have had a similar attitude, on the whole.
They liked the bling but lacked the will to adopt the culture sufficiently so as to create such bling.
Or even different bling of comparable quality.
Hence the grotesque ..."

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Speaking of French videos, here's the last public execution by guillotine, (17Jun) 79 years ago in Versailles.

6/17/18, 8:32 AM

It might have been the last public execution by guillotine, but the last execution by guillotine in France was more recent than I would have guessed:


"The last execution took place by guillotine, being the main legal method since the French Revolution; Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian citizen convicted of torture and murder on French soil, who was put to death in September 1977 in Marseille."

Seeing Red said...

Lololol it just dawned on me. Olde Europe and the young American vulgarian upstarts!

Seeing Red said...

Oversexed, overpaid, and over here!

Howard said...

trolling for racists, the creel's full

Michael said...

The audience for that crap would rip the art to shreds given the chance. Western culture is a never ending insult, all that beauty, craftsmanship, imagination set off against that offal noise. It has to sting at some level knowing that no such building with any such contents has ever existed south of the Sahara. Or will.

Alex said...

Why is Althouse posting about this pop culture shit?

daskol said...

Even with that goofy calypso beat, that's one of my favorite Kinks songs. Because of the lyrics.

Alex said...

The pinnacle of human civilization was June 1967 when Procul Harum & The Beatles ruled the charts at the same time.

daskol said...

Jay Z is a good writer. Beyonce's material has improved dramatically since their union. In the world of hip-hop, though, Kanye is the one doing his own thing. I'm no expert by any stretch, but he's changed the sound of the genre since he came on the scene. And the story he tells across his oeuvre--it's one story, the story of Kanye--is fascinating. I'd pay attention to him, because he and Kim are going places. Here are the titles to his albums, in order: 1) The College Dropout, 2) Late Registration, 3) Graduation, 4) 808s and Heartbreak, 5) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 6) Yeezus, 7) The Life of Pablo, 8) Ye

He's chronicling his personal development. Some might say (Yeezus) that he has a "God Complex," but that's such an inartful term for someone who genuinely believes he's destined for greatness.

Sebastian said...

"to surface this depravity"

And that's not the worst of it: the sheer f**-that cluelessness is the real nihilism.

It's enough to make a conservative cynic nostalgic for the nihilism of old.

Once upon a time, avant-garde artists who rejected a tradition at least knew it and tried to create something plausibly better.

daskol said...

Alex, I'm not going to argue with that. It's a matter of taste. But I will say this: while I've played the Beatles for my kids, and my daughter is currently a fanatic for them, I've neglected Procul Harum when it comes to their musical education. Thanks for the reminder.

daskol said...

I will say that the times in which the Beatles and Procul Harum topped the charts may have been exciting, but they were also times in which some very nice things were destroyed and are now lost to us forever. Replaced, however, with new things.

daskol said...

Ray Davies has as much talent as any single one of the Beatles. As did his brother Dave, not merely a great guitarist: some of the best Kinks tunes are Dave's. Too bad their egos couldn't survive with both of them in one band. The Kinks never got a chance to be part of the British invasion of the US due to some visa issues. Instead they stayed in England, and Ray wrote songs about ever smaller and more personal matters. Cameos. In my opinion, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society is the best thing to come out of the 1960s. It remains my favorite record, and we play it during dinner every Friday night and whenever else I feel like it.

eddie willers said...

Here you have barbarians dancing among things they can at best vaguely feel.

My thought as well. "Sampling" is like tearing down the Colosseum brick by brick to build huts.

MikeD said...

Althouse needs a tag for "Tarzan". While a cis-gendered, hetero normative,white supremacist, Tarzan was also the first widely recognized "ape-man".

daskol said...

If Ray could have let Dave get more songs on their records, maybe they'd have enjoyed playing together more, and stayed together longer. Certainly, there would have been fewer instances of them getting into fistfights on stage right before or during concerts. But then, that anger, that struggle, may have fueled some of the passion that went into their music. I don't know. Still makes me sad that they don't speak. Ray's "unauthorized autobiography" is a great read.

eddie willers said...

As did his brother Dave

I was watching a rock & roll documentary and Dave told how he was mad and sliced the speaker in his amplifier. Then he gave it a strum just for the hell of it. The next thing you know...."You Really Got Me"

cubanbob said...

Turn of the sound and its a nice video with good production values. Turn on the sound and its Hood's Night Out At The Museum.
Musically, for my taste its shit. But then again, I'm not a billionaire. So obviously one can get filthy rich selling selling good shit if one has shittons of talent in writing and composing and selling the right shit. Unfortunately for me ( when it comes to this oeuvre ) I'm old shit and the wrong shit.

Leora said...

The choreography seemed awfully dated though the photography of the paintings and sculpture was nice. Pretty sure I've seen the staircase effects before - maybe in a Busby Berkeley musical? Movement might have been avant garde when Bob Fosse was alive. Beyonce looked good. Didn't listen to the sound.

Seeing Red said...

I thought B looked like Janet Jackson in the beginning.

Bill Peschel said...

Musically, it's the same shit I've heard over and over: This is my life as a rich motherfucker. Listen to my hip rhymes!

It's like all those rock 'n' roll love songs which boil down to "baby you're hot, let's do it."

The fact they could hire the Louvre to film there is simply a demonstration of how much money they've got.

What I would love to know is if it was intentional that they juxtaposed French culture and contemporary black hip-hop. I would bet not. If they thought it would be a stronger power move to film at Buckingham Palace, or Trump Tower, they would have.

After all, to borrow a line from a Stones song: It's only hip-hop (and I like it).

FleetUSA said...

I silenced the music and looked for the original Code of Hammurabi which didn't show up. My favorite piece there. It is almost hidden and never has a crowd despite its 1754 B.C. and legal historical significance . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Hammurabi

Alex said...

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, 'There is no reason'
And the truth is plain to see
But I wandered through my playing cards
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might have just as well've been closed
And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly
Turned a whiter shade of pale
And so it was that later

Alex said...

Please could you stop the noise
I'm trying to get some rest
From all the unborn chicken voices in my head
What's that?
What's that?
When I am king, you will be first against the wall
With your opinion which is of no consequence at all
What's that?
What's that?
Ambition makes you look pretty ugly
Kicking, squealing Gucci little piggy
You don't remember
You don't remember
Why don't you remember my name?
Off with his head, man
Off with his head, man
Why don't you remember my name?
I guess he does
Rain down, rain down
Come on rain down on me
From a great height
From a great height, height
Rain down, rain down
Come on, rain down on me
From a great height
From a…

Morsie said...

What language are the using?

funsize said...

why is beyonce autotuned and rapping? she has a beautiful voice. Interesting video, but I like my hip hop to be a little more lyrically intetesting.

Jupiter said...

Blogger Robert Cook said...
"Their 'music' is obsessed with sex and money, the debasing passions that make life possible."

"The prevailing passions of humankind and of its societies, however disguised or prettied up."

We are all in the gutter.

Robert Cook said...

"We are all in the gutter."

No...we're just animals. As with animals in the wild, our two most compelling natural drives are to reproduce and to find food. As for whether preoccupation with such subjects makes one "in the gutter," well, as with so much else: It's only thinking that makes it so.

Robert Cook said...

As for talk of the Kinks, I saw them live in 1975, and they were ferocious and wonderful!

Rosalyn C. said...

My takeaway was that Beyonce and Jay Z weren't proclaiming their love of European art but proclaiming their superior economic achievements, while they are perpetuating the stereotype that "high art" is the classist possession of the very wealthy. The Carters, being extremely wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, are now powerful enough to appropriate the masterpieces of European art. Beyonce and Jay Z are not just ordinary spectators at these historical paintings of emperors, Beyonce and Jay Z have their own private viewing and see themselves at the level of the emperors. JayZ is at least as important as Napolean, if not more so. I don't know that this statement advances society, certainly not the mission of art museums to make the masterpieces of art available to everyone. For me the Carters are overcompensating for being lowlife or for having felt like lowlife.

I know there are many wealthy celebrities in the US who are important art collectors, including Jay Z, but this video is different. http://moneyinc.com/celebrity-art-collectors/ and https://howtospendit.ft.com/art-philanthropy/201017-the-african-american-artists-flying-the-flag I wonder if the French realize they are being insulted or just don't care?