Cosmic Slop #85: Let’s talk about SEX
Originally posted on Getintothis
As Joe Jonas unveils his new, sexy image, Shaun Ponsonby finds little worth masturbating over.
Writing Cosmic Slop is both a blessing and a curse. I enjoy the weekly rant to a point, but there is also a switch I can’t turn off. It means I have to endure the most base and cynically plotted pap that is out there. I need to keep abreast of the populist fads in order to be knowledgeable about them to call out the bullshit. There is one offender that crops up more often than any other, and it is probably the most cringe-inducing of all; sex.
It’s not cringe-inducing because it’s sex, it’s far from the prudish attitude. But in the unlikely event that the day comes where I’ll ever have sex again, when choosing songs to accompany crab fishing in the dead sea they sure as hell won’t have been released all that recently. (Songs? I don’t know why I made that plural, I would have trouble out lasting The Beatles’ Her Majesty – which incidentally is probably the funniest song you could possibly have sex to).
Joe Jonas, who you’ll be shocked to hear used to be in the Jonas Brothers, has a new band called DNCE. Aside from their policy of not using more than one vowel where necessary, they are also attempting to present a much sexier image than the former purity ring wearing whippersnapper has in the past.
A few days ago they dropped the video for a song called Body Moves, and the tween, just-this-side-of-Disney audience who grew up with Band Camp lost their collective shit. He’s all grown up and shit, yeah?
But there’s something weirdly…unsexy about it. Look past Jonas’ good looks and washboard abs. Look beyond the tits, ass, tongues and textbook “I’m really turned on” stares into the camera. Beyond all that, there’s barely a thing worth masturbating over.
Last week I said Bruno Mars was about as sexy as Phillip Schofield. Jonas is kind of at the Ben Shepherd level. Shepherd probably is a bit sexier than Schofield, but nowhere near as much as he thinks and is considerably more vapid.
The video begins with a snapshot of a supposed sex tape, follows Jonas and some girl into an elevator where she apparently gives him head, and then they proceed into the inside of a Rubik’s Cube where they have some sort of PG-rated orgy.
But, for all the knowing winks and stripping, nobody looks particularly confident. Nobody seems to believe that they are sexy, so it falls completely flat. It is all so clean and contrived. Sex is supposed to be freeing, dirty, fun. Like most pop stars who try to show their sexuality, this isn’t the case with DNCE.
The music doesn’t help. Like last week’s moan about Bruno Mars’ Gorilla, the lack of belief and confidence coming from the band is so jarring because they are literally singing about the single most passionate act in the world. Consequently, it sounds totally Maroon 5-lite, and by shite even Maroon 5 are Maroon 5-lite. Kids, you can learn the theory all you want, but if you don’t make me believe it, why should I give a flying fuck about you over the hundreds of bands exactly like you? If you imagine Celine Dion performing Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, you get a fair idea of the level of conviction going on here.
Leaving the sexuality aside, the band have no feel whatsoever – flat, dead, vacuous, insipid. There is no chemistry between them. It’s Joe Jonas, and…the others. Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography was released recently, and in it he talks about why the E Street Band work so well; each member of the band has a strong personality, they are old friends and they gel well on stage. Springsteen is up front, but there is a strong character from everyone in the band. This is what elevates Springsteen’s shows to the legendary status they are at, and why many of his contemporaries aren’t considered one of the world’s must-see attractions, and why no-one likes the stuff The Boss did when he went out with a gang of session musicians in the 90s. It is categorically not the case here. It is an important catalyst that Jonas and his ilk seem to have no concept of.
All in all, the whole thing just feels desperate. Compare this to any number of sex jams from days of yore and it only emphasises how lame it is. Random example; Janet Jackson’s Janet album, the lead single was That’s The Way Love Goes, check the song and video out. It is not sexy for being explicit, it is sexy because Janet sounds like she actually has sex, she sounds confident, she sounds like she enjoys it and she actually has charisma to pull it off. Watch the video, there is something freeing about her presence. It is natural and cannot be taught. For all the people working on the project with her, it doesn’t feel contrived.
Compare that to DNCE, or Megan Trainor, or Selena Gomez, or Zayn Malik. Little kids, all of them.
That isn’t to say that legendary pop stars always hit the mark when it came to sex. For her image as a purring sex kitten (there’s a phrase I can’t pull off!), some of Madonna’s most scandalous moments have been surprisingly unsexy. Have you ever actually listened to Justify My Love without thinking of the video? It’s the soundtrack of a bad porn film, with Madonna uttering a bunch of vaguely sexual non-sequiturs (including the phrase “Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another”, which is interesting to hear as we are in full-throttle discussions about rape culture).
But let’s be honest, sex songs have been done to death. At this point, if you are going to show your sexual side, you better know what you’re doing. But way too many don’t. So, if we can all stop encouraging clueless Ben Shepherd wannabes from puking out their sterile, sexless bollocks, that would be great.
There’s something ironic about Justin Bieber claiming his fans’ screaming is “obnoxious”. I’ll let you come up with your own reasons.
If young people think streaming is too expensive, they would be shocked to hear the amount of money I have spent on music over the years.
Shrek 5? Why? WHY? WHHHYYYYY???