By Diana Ciuca
Grrrl Rock arose along with the third wave of feminism in the early 1990s. The female band members who contributed to this movement called themselves “Riot Grrrls.” Whereas today we see the word “Grrrl” most likely representing a snarl or something your little sister would write all over her homework thinking that she’s cool (along with words like “peaceee” and “yayyy”), the term spoke volumes to the proud chicks who brought back female-fronted bands (like the fantastic Jefferson Aeroplane fronted by the beautiful Grace Slick in the ’60s). This week’s video reviews take this feminist pride to another level. Some bring it up, and others (one, in particular) crushes it down.
In a bucolic landscape, a couple of party-ers are chilling on top of a roof. In the background, you hear a acoustic guitar lightly strummed. With a begging like that, you don’t know what to expect. Contrary to their usual punk style, Girl in a Coma’s “El Monte” takes a detour and softens it up. The video is beautifully composed of simple scenes by director/writer Jim Mendiola, who directed most of their videos. In their other videos, like “Static Mind,” the trio in Girls in a Coma tend to share the limelight. However, Nina, the lead singer controls the limelight in her riveting love-hate themed video. The video, throughout, is dreamlike and beautiful, except for the sad ending (but that’s what makes it punk rock, after all). All of these elements are enhanced by the slow motion parts (like running through the birds), unusual angles, and fade-ins. The song distinctly evokes sincere passion, which isn’t as evident in the video. Nina’s voice sounds as light yet emotionally-saturated as Regina Spector’s and St. Vincent’s. The lyrics, however, seem a bit creepy with the repetitive, “I want to marry you,” which arises my memory of the Sex and the City episode where Charlotte practically proposes to her date. This phrase, instead of appearing as devotion, only seems hopeless and creepy.
BAND: 8/10 (Sure, they have cool haircuts, but they’ve got a decently long way until their fan base expands)
Yet another female band, Sick of Sarah, exhibits their durability to harsh weather and even harsher love. Almost like female Bob Dylan, the lead singer’s raspy voice sings of “bitterweet” love while the video imitates her feelings. The video begins with a building up of instruments and a tree. Throughout the video, we follow the intricate plot of the tree which finally blooms yet withers instantaneously. The video is an amalgam of quick shots, funky colors, and action scenes of the band members playing. Moreover, the snow wreaks havoc as the song grows in intensity. Director Sane Nelson composed the video in such a way that everything which occurs has an intricate relation to the song lyrics; and it also beautifully displays the band playing in a radical environment. However, when she starts stripping, she’s not “Matt and Kim,” when they preformed the same task in winter, too. The muted climax ans intense weather definitely make this a worthwhile video and great song.
BAND: 9/10 (They gave great unity and a bunch of websites to learn more about them from)
Perhaps the most steryotipical, dreamlike, and NON-feminist out of all the videos, “Girl Gotta Girlfriend” is a tragic example of the new genre of Runk (rap + punk). Lil Wayne an Snoop Dogg (both featured in this video) tend to lack manners and etiquette when it comes to exposing women in the music videos, but they have built up to that by first creating their “hardcore rapper” look. Mams Taylor has not yet achieved such a remarkable feat. Quite the contrary, he insists that he is a ladies’ man before he has established himself as a true hustler (a guy that “gets money” and women, too). In this video, incorrectly marked the “Clean Version,” women cannot seem to take their hands off of the British Rapper, Taylor. His girl, most likely his “main b*tch,” apparently also has a girlfriend. That’s just trashy. To add insult to injury, I’m sure that Mams Taylor probably wears more mascara than any of his girl’s girlfriends. Nevertheless, this concept of girls with girlfriends isn’t even original! T-Pain and Ray Lavender have both written songs about the subject, and the term “girl gotta girlfriend” has been used several times in rap/hip-hop before. With a video that could only happen in his dreams, I do not expect any beautifully mastered segments or unique techniques. It features the usual close-ups of girls dancing and quick screen shots along with a bright background light and tons of bling and big sunglasses. The song, with a repetitive beat and synthesizer, falls under the trite and commercial hip-hop song which sometimes tend to have major success, and it might do so-although it lacks the beauty and grace of other “female-centered” music videos.
SINGER: 6/10 (Surprisingly, he’s collaborated with a lot of big names and could be on the rise -or fall- of a new wave of music)