Music Monday: Royksopp and The Smiths

March 10, 2008

1. Royksopp — Remind Me

There was no Internet when I was very young. Instead we had something called books (pronounced [book] – noun: A written or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound within covers). Among my favorite books were a series called The Golden Treasury of Knowledge, which were published in 1961 and tucked away in cardboard boxes at Grandma’s house until I got my grubby hands on them in the ’80s.

They were like lite encyclopedias and I loved them because they were chock-full of diagrams, maps, charts, graphs — all the things that kept my attention in school textbooks while the teacher droned on and on.

And that’s why I rank the video for Remind Me so highly. It’s like one of those old books brought to life with the power of Flash. It’s all about showing groupings of information and how they interact on the meta level. I hope someday that’s how the Internet’s structured, too – Web 3.0 should be intensely interactive art that’s generated spontaneously from data.


2. The Smiths — This Charming Man

I can’t help but love this song and it’s been lodged in my iTunes top 25 for two years. There’s something incredibly syncopative and driving about it, and regardless what team Morissey plays for he is one of those vocalists who can actually sing well without giving up his new wave-alternative cred.

Unfortunately, some pop conventions from the 1980s didn’t age well, and that gives this video a handicap. Remember the Star Trek: The Next Generation season one episode called “Justice”? The people of Rubicun III were clad in scanty pastels and the writers took a little too much pleasure in showing men walking around in discarded gay porn outfits that looked like they were invented by Freddie Mercury. That Trekisode is all I can remember (it burns!) every time I see this video.

By the way, Morissey publicly refuses to say whether he’s gay — those labels are irrelevant, he claims — but this video really calls it all into question. I mean, look at how long that shirt is unbuttoned. But if you’re too insecure about it to appreciate This Charming Man, that’s your own damned fault. Grow a pair.