Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Annie Lennox: A Class Act

Just caught this video thanks to a Facebook friend, and thought I'd share it here.

I've always loved Annie Lennox as a singer, and as a performer in her videos. When I was in college, her song "No More I Love Yous" was the big hit, and I remember its video fondly, especially with the odd, tu-tu wearing individuals dancing through it.

Lennox's video for "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" is just as unique, harking back to traditional Victorian England Christmas celebrations and, obviously, to the winter solstice/pagan festivals that Christianity co-opted at that time of year.

Reading the message boards on her video, no matter where you happen to find it, is an education. Two camps, obviously. Those who think Lennox has created a paen to paganism, and those who see her approach as unconventional, but certainly not anti-religious. I'm of the second camp. Every element in the song, from the outdoor caroling, the masquerades, the drums, the holly, the green man/snap dragon is of Victorian vintage. Those who see anti-religious or pro-pagan messages in the song are simply reading too much into it, or expressing their ignorance of the Victorian Era.

What I find more fascinating in this presentation of the song is how she sings it. A lot of folks have mentioned "autotuning," which I hadn't heard much about. Lennox is obviously a good enough singer that she doesn't need electronic compensation to help her voice be on tune, so use of the technology's obviously there for the effect -- which I thought attractive and fitting to the tune. The autotuning gives the song an antique feel, as if we were listening to a wax cylinder recording of the song -- though obviously the technology only comes into play in the waning years of the Victorian Era.

I don't find the song creepy a'tall. It's ultimately Lennox being Lennox. Well done, miss.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I agree with you completely. I liked this so much I bought the whole album.