Friday, November 19, 2010

Backup Dancers From Hell: George Michael - “Faith”

We start off with the iconic image of that jukebox in black-and-white while we hear a scratchy recording of “I Want Your Sex“. The camera moves in so we can watch the inner mechanisms of the machine while it slaps another disc on the player, and we cut to George’s butt in those decade-defining acid-washed jeans while the first strains of “Faith” seep into the soundtrack. And there’s that leather jacket that he will later destroy in another video. Ah, memories.

Zip to another shot of the jukebox, but this time we see the lower half of some chippie wearing startling purple high heels, so we can understand that she’s daring but still trampy. Slide to the right, and there’s George’s lower half as well, so we can understand that he’s daring but still in the closet. The camera pans up to show George’s face, with him sporting an immaculately-groomed starter beard, the sunglasses, and the cross earring that tells us he’s religious (or something) but still hip.

George starts tapping his cowboy-booted foot against the jukebox, then we cut to him playing a guitar, followed by another gratuitous butt shot. (Let’s face it folks, George was hot in this video, so they might as well show him shaking one of his money-makers.) Next we have a montage of George still banging on that guitar, with the scenes flopping around from black-and-white to color, so we can understand that somebody on his crew had access to a really fancy video editor at the time.

The guitar-playing goes on for a while, and even though George is cute and everything, it starts to get a bit repetitive. Luckily, someone on the production staff changes things up a bit, so we switch to George’s leather-gloved hands clapping over his head, and the original tart on the left side of the jukebox tapping her slut heels in time to the rhythm. This is an improvement, but I can’t really say it transports me to a nirvanic place and time.

Now George is playing his guitar next to the jukebox, and shaking his booty like something really irritating is in his jeans. He does a couple of twirl moves to show that he’s really serious about his mastery of this instrument, but I really don’t see that it’s necessary for him to act like he’s got crabs once again. (At 2:10 he performs a stunning squat-thrust move that will have you re-thinking any prior conception of what might happen in the privacy of a bedroom.)

More shots of some hands without gloves snapping their fingers in the air. George is really appreciative of percussion, apparently. This is followed by George waving his hand in the air and not even touching his guitar, so I guess this is something you have to do if you want the music to sound right on the single. Shortly after that, George shoves the… top end? not sure what to call it… part of the guitar at the camera, which seems kind of threatening to me. Does George hate us? Why is he doing that?

Quick montage of cowboy-boots tapping, slut heels tramping, and anonymous fingers snapping. It might just be me, but I’m thinking somebody was being a bit of a slacker in the story department here. Then again, it was the 80’s, and all hell broke loose when it came to music videos. I miss that, compared to the auto-programmed crap that comes out these days, so I should probably just shut up and watch.

Now we have George in silhouette, still pounding on that guitar that nobody cares about. (We want butt shots! We want butt shots!) He looks vaguely like a young Elvis, so that might be what George was going for, but since drugs were involved with everything that happened in the 80’s, there’s really no telling. At one point, George squats on the ground and aims his guitar at the losers who thought he should never have left “Wham”, which was a big brouhaha at the time. But seriously. Andrew Ridgeley? He just wanted to race cars. Cut the cord.

And once more with shots of the tramp tapping her foot on the jukebox, only now she’s wearing pink shoes instead of purple. Not sure what this means, but her footwear doesn’t really matter when it comes to George. She ain’t gonna score. Unless she can somehow magically transform herself into an undercover cop at a park bathroom. I’m thinking that’s not gonna happen.

And back to George banging on that damn guitar that I’m starting to really not like. Dude, we don’t know you as a guitar player, we know you as a singer with a great voice. Quit frontin’. But he’s not listening to me. More of the guitar-playing, and more of the pointy cowboy boots shuffling about the stage. The boots have steel tips, which George is going to need when the paparazzi turn on him in a few years.

The song winds down with George and his sunglassed-self still insisting that he be all street with the guitar. Luckily, somebody got the memo about his ass, so he’s back to shaking that thing. George does one final twirl so we can once again read the words on the back of his leather jacket.

“BSA” and “Revenge”. A misspelling of “USA” and a Eurythmics album. That pretty much sums up the Reagan 80’s, don’t you think?


Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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