Apr. 17th, 2013

[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com


Bjork consistently pulls off a kind of artful creepiness.  Case in point: Homogenic's album art and the music video for its opening track, "Hunter".  When I was trying to come up with associations between creepy and music, a bald, writhing Bjork immediately came to mind.

I remember seeing the video for "Hunter" for the first time.  I was with Erin.  I think we were just about to leave her house because, in my memory, we are standing in the living room.  The TV was on.  A commercial was replaced by silence, a white screen, a sound like feet pattering, and then--faintly, gradually coming into focus, the image of a blinking, hairless Bjork.  She looked like a newborn; like something alien; something decidedly unsettling.  Erin and I stood, open-mouthed, transfixed.  The Bjork in the video spoke about being a hunter; she moved as if resisting something.  That something is blue, digitized fur that emerges and is shaken off again and again--before it engulfs Bjork's face completely.  For a strange moment, she is both hunter and hunted.

And, while the video contributes greatly to my impression of "Hunter", the song itself is arguably also very creepy.  Bjork's voice sounds muffled at times.  Her delivery of "I'm the hunter/I'm going hunting" is chilling, especially in its uncertainty.  In layering sounds--violin, cello, snare drum, soaring background vocals, a Parisian-sounding accordion--Bjork has managed to create something that is positively eerie.
[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com

The Childcatcher
Patrick Wolf

: Once upon a time -- before everyone knew who Patrick Wolf was -- I used to love putting this song on in the car on road trips. I'd wait until a lull in the conversation, then whip this out. "You'll love this!" I'd be holding back an evil grin as I turned up the volume. "Oh, and you really have to listen to the lyrics..."

Heh heh heh.

This song is the creepiest in my library, and I love it. I adore how haunting the sounds are (the howls partway through, the organ-grinder/fairy-tale interludes), the revolting lyrics referencing a pedophile pursuing & capturing his prey. There is nothing creepier than that line spoken from the perspective of the Childcatcher: "I think you even enjoyed it / Think I even saw you come." God. Legitimately, genuinely, horrifying.

Now now. In reality, I don't, in any respect, condone pedophilia or murder or anything that happens without consent. But, especially when I was younger, I was always seeking out the provocative -- consciously or no. I wanted the weirdest shit available. Seriously creepy was my bread and butter, and I took giddy pleasure in exposing people to what I liked, then watching them recoil. Now, I'm notoriously hard to shock -- but still looking for the weird, disturbed, and creepy at every possible media opportunity. There is a certain beauty in the seriously creepy -- be it in artful gore, horrifying sounds, or a deeply unsettling turn of phrase -- and it does something powerful to me.

And I love that that's possible. I love that something as disturbing as the story outlined and wailed in "The Childcatcher" can on some level, in some way, coupled with background beats and melodies, be aesthetically pleasing. As creepy and awful as this would be in real life -- here, fictionalized, it is a lesson, a parable, a mirror held up to society as art always holds up mirrors. A space for introduction; understanding; coming to terms; dealing (especially if, as I read somewhere, this is Patrick Wolf's way of dealing with his own past).

Seriously creepy in real life is one thing. Seriously creepy in music, in art -- another, entirely (assuming you spend three seconds separating the two).

I love how much is possible in art.

[and i also love that patrick wolf cheerfully sings in the major key an album or so later. oh contrast. i am large, i contain multitudes. and don't we all!]


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