Happy Halloween!: My Top Ten Villain Song List

Since everyone and their brother was doing a review of scary movies for Halloween, I decided to do something a little different and list my favorite villain songs. I’ve always been inordinately interested in the villains, even when I was a kid. I think I had picked my favorite villain in a Disney movie before I picked my favorite princess (it was Ursula, naturally). I’ve also been a huge fan of music, so villain songs are something I’ve thought about a lot. This list is a result of that thought, but also completely based on my own preferences and no real objective criteria.

So, without further ado, the list:

10. Madam Mim’s “Mad Madam Mim’s”

Madam Mim is volatile, arrogant, and has more than one screw loose. Her song encapsulates that personality as she feels compelled to show off all her awesome transformations even though she fully intends to eat poor Arthur in the end. I love this song because it makes me laugh and for Mim reveling in both her evilness and being “an ugly old witch.” Plus, I think this is the villain I would be if I were a Disney villain. She’s more silly than devious and she turns into a DRAGON. Done and done.

9. Rasputin’s “In the Dark of the Night”

Despite it’s historical inaccuracies, Anastasia is a wonderful movie on all counts, but Rasputin’s song is a stand out. The song style is appropriately creepy, building to an epic crescendo as Rasputin leaves purgatory to complete his curse on the Romanov family. As with other Don Bluth movies, there are elements that make this scene in a kid’s movie actually scary (what with the human skeletons forming the pillars of Rasputin’s cave and him summoning actual demons). Still, my favorite thing about this song are the little touches like the deep voiced beetle providing the “Find her” echoes toward the end and Rasputin putting on the Anastasia wig. Also, Jim Cummings is amazing as evidenced by the fact that he sang this song and also plays the voice of Tigger. Talk about versatile.

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Blood Waterfalls and Re-Victimization in Maroon 5’s “Animals”

This blog is not very old, but so far, I’ve only criticized things that I do not like. I’ve never been a fan of the Washington, D.C. football team, and though I recognize that Meghan Trainor’s songs are catchy, I’m not a fan of her, either.

But I am a fan of Maroon 5. I downloaded “She Will Be Loved” from Napster and I root for Adam Levine’s team on the “The Voice.” So I was incredibly disappointed when I finally watched the video for their new song “Animals.”

Upon first listen, it sounds like a pretty normal Maroon 5 song. The lyrics by themselves are also open for interpretation. There’s some creepiness, but it could be interpreted as a song about a toxic relationship.

Take this for example:

You can find other fish in the sea
You can pretend it’s meant to be
But you can’t stay away from me

It could be about a girl who can’t get over her boyfriend despite the boyfriend being bad for her.

But then, you watch the music video (trigger warning for scenes of stalking and implied violence):

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My Monday Pop Obsession: Sia’s “Chandelier”

Since I’m going to be complaining about pop culture a lot, it seems only fair to talk about some things I love. I’ll try to make it regular thing. This week, it’s Sia’s song “Chandelier” and especially the accompanying music video.

The key to a good music video, in my opinion, is to do something interesting without getting in the way of the song. A lot of music videos are just there. It’s an excuse to put the artist in a variety of outfits and have them lip-synch into a camera. They’re fine, but just powerfully uninteresting and forgettable.

What I love about the “Chandelier” video is how much it complements the song while also being so simple at the same time. The choreography is amazing, beautiful and silly and frenetic all at once, and the dancer, Maddie Ziegler, is phenomenally talented. Picking a stark, run down room as the setting reflects an underlying sadness. Together, the video creates a sense of vulnerability that actually made me listen to the lyrics more closely and realize that the song is not just about partying your face off.

For example:

Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn?
I push it down, push it down

Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight

Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

Despite the chorus’ focus on swinging from the chandelier and pounding shots, the entire song makes it clear that the partying is an attempt to escape from an inner desperation. The beauty of the video is that it enhances this aspect of the song without pounding you over the head with it.

The best example of this in the video actually comes in the last shot, where the Ziegler puts on a fake smile and practices her curtsy before sending the video with a long shot on her standing, in the dark, in the doorway. It’s a beautiful, forlorn moment without a single fake tear in sight.

It might have been a risky move to make music video focused entirely on a contemporary dance routine without the actual singer making an appearance. But it worked out perfectly. Together, the video and the song stand out as an amazing work of art.

Meghan Trainor’s Songs are Not Empowering

Since the idea for this blog arose from discussing Meghan Trainor’s songs with a friend, it seems only fitting to make that the topic of the first post. If you’d like to know more about what this blog will be about or my general feelings about pop culture, view the “About” tab up top. Though, if you’re reading now, I hope you stick around and leave a comment below.

With that out of the way, on to the show.

Meghan Trainor is the bubbly pop singer who rocketed to stardom with the “body-acceptance” anthem “All About the Bass.”

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She’s all about the pastels, too.

The song is incredibly catchy and dance-worthy, but it’s…well…problematic as well. It both denigrates skinny body types while continuing to base the worth of a female’s body on whether it appeals sexually to a man.  More than that, there are some race implications that suck hard-core. Namely, a white woman should not be singing about “bringing booty back” while  using black women as marginalized accessories in her video. Black and latino women, by the way, actually did bring booty back.

But that song has been talked about enough (and analyzed much better than I could). I’d like to talk about another Meghan Trainor song that should finally cement her as completely uninterested in female empowerment. This song is unimaginatively titled “Dear Future Husband” and tells her future husband how he should treat her if he ever wants to have sex again.

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