Friday, 29 November 2013

Sexy Sirens Sell Songs

Whatever happened to talent being enough to get to the top? I am talking here about female singers, who appear to be little more than strippers these days. Now I know that sounds like some old reactionary, raging against a world from which he increasingly feels estranged, and on some subjects that accusation may have an element of truth, but I feel that I can safely refute such a charge in this argument.

Let us go back to the 1950's when the top female singers included Doris Day, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.

Doris Day  -  Rosemary Clooney

or the 1960's when the top female singers included Lulu, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Jackie Trent and others.

Petula Clark - Dusty Springfield

Similarly in the 1970's Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, and Kate Bush were the chanteuse's of the decade ....

Kate Bush - Donna Summer

Now the one thing they had in common was that their voices sold the songs, not their bodies .... oh sure, they would occasionally appear in 'risqué' publicity photos, such as these below, but they were hardly anything you couldn't show your mother, or their mothers.

Doris Day - Rosemary Clooney - Risqué But Not Rude

But suddenly things started to change through the late 1980's and into the 1990's .... sex had always sold records but never more than the lyrics or tunes, partly because records always sold more by radio than TV ..... but the charge towards nudity as the seller was really led by the rise of MTV video's. The high princess of this change was Kylie Minogue, a pop pixie from Australia who had been around for a while, but when she released the video for the single "Spinning Around" in September 2000, it became her first number one in the United Kingdom in ten years, and largely because the accompanying video featured her in very revealing gold hot pants.

Kylie Minougue - Hot Pants

This success was apparently duly noted by record producers around the globe and more of this kind of flesh flashing video was marketed by female singers .... but more importantly a legion of young wannabe girl singers, growing up in the first decade of the century learnt that what sold records was skin. Kylie herself incorporated what she described as 'Burlesque' into her videos and stage act, and broke into the US club charts with the single "Can't Get You Out of My Head", which was her biggest ever hit, reaching number one in more than forty countries, and which featured as near nudity as could be achieved ..... without quite crossing the line.

Kylie Minougue - Risqué

This mega success seemed to cross some sort of Rubicon for both the video producers and the female singers of the last decade, because we now have seen a procession of singers such as Lil Kim, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and now Miley Cyrus (a right little twerker), who seem to be in a competition to be the first to cross the final red line, and promote a record single with a nude video of themselves ..... so much so, that there have been increasingly vocal calls to get music videos age rated before their release, with an 18+ rating for many of the girl singers. Needless to say, the music business is trying desperately to prevent this, because it would probably remove half their female acts from the young teen market.

Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus - Risque or Porn?

In the last twenty years or so, we have descended a long way on the path that has led to to women selling their bodies for money on TV videos, using the excuse of a record single as the raison d'être, and so far the bottom of the barrel doesn't seem to have been scraped.


  1. I disagree, the bottom of the barrel is being scraped. What could Miley and the others possibly do which would scrape it any more without falling foul of the censors? Their material is already more porn than dance. 18+ ratings are long overdue; I would like for music videos on the music channels/internet searches and the porn on the adult channels/internet searches. Another fine example of self-regulation.

    1. "seem to be in a competition to be the first to cross the final red line, and promote a record single with a nude video of themselves ... ". What censors will they fall foul of? None on the web and MTV will only censor if complaints follow. It seems nudity is only limited by how far girl singers are currently prepared to go on video.

      Courtney Love and Wendy O. Williams, and even the 1960's all girl band 'Ladybirds' all use(d) real nudity, but weren't mainstream, so didn't trouble the MTV executives. But that day will come.

    2. Yes, what censors indeed? I'm always hearing how we can't do this or do that because of restrictions and that PC crowd. Are you sure you're on the right side of this debate?

    3. My point was the inevitability of what's going to happen if the current attitudes prevail .... whether its good or bad that the overt sexualisation of girls and society by young women singers and advertisers is occurring, is up to the reader to decide.

      If your asking my own opinion, well I am generally against censorship, but the bombardment of girls and boys with porn or near porn images in music and advertising, must be warping their minds (as the recent report on teen black 'gangs' using rape to control girl 'associates', and then saying it was 'not real rape', suggests), and therefore, as TV and advertising executives don't consider the welfare of the greater society their concern (making money being the only law), then controls and laws may be the only answer.

      As for the 'PC Crowd', well they aren't going to risk reopening any sexual mores rows, after it was them that opened up the current path in the 1960's in the first place (Politicians rule: Never admit you were wrong, Never apologise for the damage done) ... far better to continue the assault on white males, and what's left of the indigenous societies customs, history, and beliefs as being 'Bad', while cosseting the third world barbarism that's pouring through the now broken gates.

    4. No one can deny that there has been something of a change on whats 'acceptable' nowadays. But you sound like an old fart.

    5. Thanks for your comment .... from one 'Old fart' to a ...


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