Sunday, 27 November 2011

Other Brothers Can't Deny


In the spirit of Phil's project of an alternative pop canon, IMHO the above could be the greatest hit single of the 90s. For starters, I defy anyone to name a better U.S. no. 1 from that decade. If you want to get all 'cultural theory' about it, there's myriad social conflicts, historical vibrations, defiant affirmations and contradictory anxieties at play in this ditty; but I can't be arsed elaborating all that much. Let's just say it forms part of a continuum stretching back to vaudeville and the 'jelly rolls' of Delta Blues, recklessly throws itself into the thick of the culture wars, perversely reclaims American capitalism's traumatic origins (whip-crack), and even has a blink-and-you-miss-it flashback to the Vietnam War. It manages to throw in all these allusions while (literally) grounding the listener with its celebratory theme. In four throwaway minutes, it manages what Oliver Stone couldn't pull off with a hundred million dollars, a six-month shoot and a crew of thousands.

But for now, I'll conclude with a Zen defence: What makes it so very wrong may be the very thing that makes it perfect. Surely the a posteriroi justification for all the best 'low-brow' art, no?

6 comments:

Phil Knight said...

I admire Sir Mix-A-Lot almost as much as I admire Hugh Cornwell and Benny Hill.

Mr. Kasper said...

Now that's some accolade!

Simon said...

this video totally undercuts the song's celebration of the X-large female rump by being packed of dancers with lean, super-taut scrawny butts

Mr. Kasper said...

That's what I meant by "contradictory anxieties".

Oliver said...

In the year 3000, Baby Got Back is heavily canonised: http://youtu.be/Zf-1F_iIIuw

Mr. Kasper said...

In the year 3000, when all Morlocks are attached by the spine to an organic power grid to serve the decadent lifestyles of gaseous clouds known as Eloi, they'll regard the song as an ancient hymn about cherubs who could magically roam and trade their backs for wages.