Confession time. When I was younger I wanted to be a “Robert Palmer Girl.” You know the girls that appeared in Robert Plamer’s videos “Simply Irresistable” and “Addicted to Love.” The slicked back hair, sexy red lips, tight mini skirts,gorgeous legs and their eff off attitude, that was awesome. I thought I was the only person obsessed with these iconic 80s heroines but then Beyonce used them as a reference in her Greenlight video. Shania Twain also used the girls as inspiration in her Man! I feel like a woman video, but she used male models instead. With these in mind I suddenly I realised that these girls have actually got a following. I always loved the way they would move in tune with song with their concentrated expressions. I thought it was hilarious. Although they had the look of mannequins it still looked like Palmer was the nerdy guy trying to fit in with the sexy popular chicks. Who thought mannequins could be so empowering? I just think it’s really interesting that these girls have actually become more iconic than the singer himself, but to be honest how can seriously be looking at Robert Palmer when those girls were on the screen? I’m not hating on Robert though coz I actually like some of his tracks.
The Robert Palmer girls were actually a reference to artist Patrick Nagel’s paintings who liked to paint the grace of the female form in an Art Deco inspired style. I guess Palmer was also celebrating the female form by putting these ladies in his video. Well thank you to Nagel and Palmer for giving us these beautiful, unforgettable ladies. They were indeed “Simply Irresistable.”
Describing a video isn’t enough, you actually have to see it. That’s why we love Youtube innit?
In my humble opinion James Bond theme songs should be set aside as an actual genre not a set of songs. These musical masterpieces whichever one you choose From Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds are Forever to Paul Mcartney’s Live and Let Die is sex for your ears. Now I know most people might favour the older songs but the more recent James Bond releases have a special place in my heart (and my music player). On that thought, the next thing we need is a rap James Bond track. Now that would be something. Anyway here are my favourite James Bond theme songs. They are double-oh so brilliant.
YOU KNOW MY NAME-Chris Cornell
“I’ve seen angels fall from blinding heights, but you yourself are nothing so divine”
I know this won’t sound like a compliment but it is. Chris Cornell sounds like he adds sulphuric acid in his tequila shots. His voice has the raspiness that I like in my rock music. Not only is this the first James Bond theme song recorded by an American male vocalist but it’s the first one with a certified rock sound. That electric guitar riff in the beginning, the anticipation before the vocals and then the words, “if you take a life do you know what you’ll give.” There was no going back for me, after that point I was hooked. Lyrically it would satisfy the modern day poet. Vocally, Chris Cornell’s raw voice portrays the rawness of life as a secret agent. Theme song videos are usually nothing (as my mom would say) to write home about but I actually like the video. Cornell juxtaposes the life of a secret agent with his own life as rockstar, you know the whole nomadic, can’t really settle, living dangerously thing. This was the song that made me notice Cornell and put him on my list of favourite rockstars so hats off to ya Chris you truly “rocked the Bond…James Bond”
“Goldeneye no time for sweetness but a bitter kiss will bring him to his knees”
If Chris Cornell’s song is the edgy raw rock song then Goldeneye is its the smooth sexy slow cousin. I’m not a big Tina Turner fan myself but this song…I adore. It was brilliant to pick Turner to sing this song,and she sang it perfectly too. I love the cold sexiness of her voice and you can’t forget the James Bond score in the song, these just come together so perfectly to make it a track worth listening to.
DIE ANOTHER DAY-Madonna
I’m gonna break the cycle/I’m gonna shake up the system/I’m gonna destroy my ego/I’m gonna close my body now
So if Goldeneye is the smooth sexy cousin of You know my name what’s Die Another Day? The pop song with a lot of attitude of course. Madonna puts herself in the place of a captured 007 who refuses to die without a fight. The electric beat and the “I’m gonna…” lyrics give it the “f*** the enemy” vibe one would need were you under imprisonment and immense torture somewhere. Madonna also went all out for the video at one point cutting her stomach. I found that really weird but I don’t expect anything less from the Queen of Pop.
TOMORROW NEVER DIES-Sheryl Crow
“It’s so deadly my dear, the power of wanting you near”
Who would have thought Sheryl Crowe would have done such justice to the 007 cause with this ballad? Well that she definitely did with Tomorrow Never Dies. It’s a love song but she sounds like a victim of his love, his deadly powerful love. This is not the kind of love I’d wish for but each to his own hey. Putting that aside I will still argue that this is another good offering from the James Bond vault.
ANOTHER WAY TO DIE-Jack White/Alicia Keys.
“A drop in the water/a look in the eye/a phone on the table/ a man on your side/ or something that you think that you can trust it’s just another way to die”
It’s not a collaboration you would expect or predict but here it is. To finish off my list is the most recent offering from camp 007. The yelling, almost talking song that is Another Way to Die. It’s a weird track I must say but weird recognises weird I guess. Call it wierd but oh oh my gosh are the opening lyrics a song writer’s dream or what?! “Another ringer with slick trigger finger for her Majesty” How do people come up with this stuff?? you see why it’s a James Bond theme song that deserves special mention. James Bond songs are as varied and unpredictable as Cape Town weather. Well except for the use of the 007 score of course. I’m hoping that the next will be a rap song performed by Drake. James Bond movies wouldn’t be what they are without the efforts of all the musos who have leant their talents to them. The explosions just wouldn’t be the same. And on that bombshell I will leave you in pieces.
A conference titled “Our African Dream” was recently hosted by His People Church. On the conference website it said “is a time to consecrate ourselves, ignite the fire of revival and renew our minds” and all this got me thinking about mind renewal, revival and my personal dreams for my continent. There is nothing I agree with more than the need for mind renewal. As Africans we need to change how we see ourselves, but it would also be nice if the rest of the world changed the way it saw us. In Africa, Exhibitions and Fears of the Dark author David Elliot says “forever a victim, forever an underdog, forever backward- in culture benighted or belated -poor Africa!” Let’s face it this is how our continent is often viewed and described although with a lot more subtlety but still with ignorance. Who can forget Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness in which Africa is painted as a dark, horrific, savage place. Very ignorant. It’s this same ignorance that makes people think we ride giraffes to work here or that we have no roads, wear animal skin. A bit extreme you think? I think not. Don’t tell me you don’t think it’s ignorant when someone says they’ll be visiting “Africa”, they neglect to mention the country their going, no, to them it’s just Africa. This is point that I will remind such people that Africa has 53 nations and isn’t just one giant country. Got it? Good! Will Africa ever be seen as a force to be reckoned with and not the Dark Continent? Will our continent always be othered and treated as a sad charity case? Will we ever be viewed outside of the “Poor Africa Syndrome?” Eliot also says that our continent is a dumping ground for the West’s negativity. What I want to know is how long will this continue? What we need to do is to wipe ourselves clean of the negative prejudices and create our own identity and stop adhering to one which we did not author ourselves. This need to happen so that our people, our art, our music and all the other African products can take it’s place alongside products of the rest of the world and not below them.
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