Friday, September 4, 2009

Death of Androgyny

I was riding the terribly nauseating 40A shuttle to work this morning when to my delight, "Killer Queen" came on the radio. I smiled and giggled a little into my Starbucks cup while I thought to myself, "this bus driver is tooootally not a Killer Queen..." And my thoughts just flew on from there. I began thinking how pop music and pop culture today are so preoccupied with black and white terms of sexuality that there's no more of that crazy, freaky deaky, androgyny anymore.

Rock gods like Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Morissey, Prince, etc. were never really questioned about their sexuality; at least not in the way pop stars are today. Of course, there was speculation regarding who was sleeping with who and which ass the coke was being snorted off of but most of the time the ambiguity just passed over the heads of their loyal following. Though Freddie Mercury was quoted saying things like, "I am as gay as a daffodil, dear" and sleeping with nearly every thing that moved, it wasn't until he died of AIDS that his homosexuality became the focal point of his character. The other guys (Bowie, Morissey, Prince) have managed to escape today's labels and most likely have a past clouded with mixed sexual episodes that even they couldn't define.

Now I don't know if the music and the aura of this time reached its level of spectacular because of the ambi-sexual undertones or if they were just a plus. But anyone can agree that this level of performance and character is clearly absent from today's music scene.

I mean, granted, you have your "Scissor Sisters" and your "Of Montreal" but these aren't the blockbuster bands that changed history with their power ballads. Instead the front runners are either tittay and ass-loving hip hoppers or teary-eyed teenagers. And just to be clear, side-bangs and guyliner DOES NOT an androgynous rock god make...

Let's talk Adam Lambert for a few lines...

So I like this guy alot, he's got the pipes and the look to correspond with this lost art of androgyny I'm speaking of. And it doesn't hurt that he's dabbled in drag, either. He has that glammed-out Elvis Presley look that I think is really original. Too bad the second he hit star power, the tabloids and news shows went on an all out witch hunt to out him as homosexual. He clearly wasn't hiding his sexuality, the dude has facebook pics of him making out with drag queens, but for whatever reason the press NEEDED him to state, "Yes, I am gay." This literally consumed the tabloids for months. LGBT advocates (I'm thinking specifically of Perez Hilton here) spoke that Glambert "shouldn't be ashamed" to come out and should "join the movement". I'm under the impression, what's another gay pop singer gonna do to help the movement? Ambiguity in this case would have been funner. Adam should have held out.

It's not the flamer performers that need to come out to send a message, it's the doctors and lawyers and business executives (Weeds reference, anyone?).

But anywayyyy... moving on. So we have Glambert as our most androgynous pop star?? Really?! That's as good as it gets? He's more "Fall Out Boy" than boy/girl. Who else?

There's Rhianna - she's taking some edgy steps in the right direction:
But its too inconsistent, sometimes she's a pop princess.

Gaga is kind of androgynous, she is after all speculated to be a hermaphrodite:
But she's been quoted many time saying how she loves the peen, so not questionable enough for me.

So basically, I am using the death of androgyny as a means to explain why pop music today is lackluster and trite. Maybe there's a correlation, probably not... Even the new indie movement is more lumberjack, bearded dudes or flourescent-clad hipsters. Where's the Mick Jaggers?? The Elton Johns?

Who do you think is the most androgynous pop performer today? Do you think music is taking a hit because performers feel the need to be politically correct and pick a side? Comment!

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