Feb 11, 2015

V.D. With Kim & Jamie, Plus Dave In Space, Jane Blows Up, And A Leaky Esther Secret Song!

Happy V.D.! It's coming soon. I hope you have someone special to give you chocolates and tickles this year. Speaking of V.D., remember Mickey Rourke? Before he looked like this? A lot of women found him attractive; the archetypal bad boy who'd make you do all kinds of naughty-dirty-sexy things. He reached his peak, if you can call it that, in the 1986 erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks," which many are now comparing to the movie adaptation of "50 Shades Of Grey."

But a strange thing happened in the nearly two decades which separates these movies. Mickey Rourke and Jamie Dornan (the male lead of "50 Shades Of Grey") both play wealthy S&M masters, but the first movie utilizes the "male gaze," as they call it, while the later employs the "female gaze." Put plainly, women may have liked Mickey Rourke, but in "9 1/2 Weeks," the tasty treat was obviously the female lead.

Yes, it was Kim Basinger, one of the screen's great beauties. Directed by Adrian Lynne - during his "make-it-all-glow-like-a-perfume-ad!" stage - the movie practically salivates over every inch of Basinger's body. The movie itself? Kinda silly, but then it was the height of the conservative Reagan era, so the promised S&M sequences were largely absent - and not because the Ratings Board was breathing down anyone's neck. It was overly cautious, almost seeming to censor itself. The movie's would-be erotic high ended up being fun with ice cubes and gooey food stuff in front of the refrigerator. Oh, and lots of posing:

A second strange thing happened in the intervening decades, this time between the two soundtracks. In 1986, no American mass-market pop act dared license their music to a "controversial" sex movie, blushing violets that they were. So while there's a track or two from American artists, such as Devo, the producers mostly delved into the UK talent pool, which means the soundtrack has some terrific cuts from The Eurythmics, Duran Duran's John Taylor, Joe Cocker and Bryan Ferry.

Interestingly, the soundtrack's most memorable tracks came from a Canadian singer known only as Luba, whose songs "Let It Go" and "The Best Is Yet To Come" are still closely associated with the movie, and for good reason. If you haven't seen "9 1/2 Weeks" in a while, this excellent soundtrack should bring it all back.

As for "50 Shades," we're in a period of Reagan-redux; there's not a lot of eroticism at the movies these days, though maybe that's also due to the profusion of free porn on the Internet. Why pay to see someone's tuchas when you can see it all online or on basic cable? Still, Hollywood isn't one to ignore a phenomenon, and the "50 Shades" books (I made it through six pages at a bookstore and got such a migraine from the claptrap writing that I almost threw it on the floor and stomped on it) set every soccer mom's pudenda on fire. The movie version was inevitable.

This time, however, and unlike "9 1/2 Weeks," the lead actress Dakota Johnson is not the tasty treat. That honor goes to Jamie Dornan.

A former model and UK actor, Dornan is being salivated over by the camera just as Basinger was in the 80's. And I don't think it's a simple matter of "50 Shades" having a female director, either, but of Hollywood finally realizing that there's money to be made from (slightly) naughty, Harlequin-style romances. Don't expect "50 Shades" to be any more daring than "9 1/2 Weeks." It's already been reported that the sex scenes will be "tasteful," with "no private parts" on display, so housewives hoping to see a bit of Jamie's morning pride will have to look elsewhere. But they will get to see him strut-pout, put-it-out!

Which brings us to the surprisingly good soundtrack, because this time round, every pop act on the planet fought to get their tracks included. Why? Because even if the movie's a bomb, they know it will have a looooong ancillary life...as everyone learned from "9 1/2 Weeks." Ka-ching! There's a bit of cross-over from "9 1/2 Weeks," too - from the Eurythmics to Annie Lennox, who performs "I Put A Spell On You." There's even Beyonce, Queen Bey herself (doing a slow version of "Crazy In Love" and sounding a bit like a sedated moose).

But like "9 1/2 Weeks," its the slightly-under-the-radar artist who steals the show. And in a truly head-turning coincidence - yes, you guessed it - they're Canadian, just like Luba! It's Weeknd, whose tracks "Earned It" and "Where You Belong" are a lot sexier than anything in the movie is likely to be. Hmm. What does tell us about sex and Canadians?

Meanwhile, do you, like I, confuse the vibraphone with the xylophone and the marimba (just nod 'yes')? It wasn't until I became familiar with jazz vibraphonist Dave Pike that I knew which one was what. Below, he's giving his vibraphone everything he's got, complete with his own flowing locks, a porn stache and a lovely hippie schmata. Go, Dave, go!

Dave appeared on a host of jazz LPs in the 60s, most notably for Herbie Mann, but I have a soft spot for his sometimes-hard-to-find headliner LPs, like 1966's "Jazz For The Jet Set." There's organ, there's sitar, there's percussion of seemingly every kind - and yes, Dave on marimba. To say that it's all "groovy" is doing the LP a disservice, though. Somehow, it seems both up-to-the-second and completely retro - mixing jazz with soul with psychedelia. Oh, and some twenty year old kid named Herbie Hancock plays the organ.

Is there anything better than a funny sex-bomb? Jane Krakowski has been keeping me in stitches for years - she's the Jean Harlow of our times! - whether on TV in "Ally McBeal" or "30 Rock," or on Broadway where she recreated Anita Morris' iconic turn in the revival of "Nine."

Jane, just Jane, is on hand for some songs and giggles in 2010's "The Laziest Girl In Town." It's her cabaret debut, but you wouldn't know it from her stiletto-sharp timing and delightful selection of songs, like "Rubber Ducky" (because why not?) and"When I Get Low, I Get High." Oddly, her only misfire is "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" (is it the clunky arrangement? is the song maybe too on-the-nose for her?). Otherwise, she kills, and all but machine-gun-fires the show with double-entendres. And, yes, she's got great pipes, too.

The Secret Song File doesn't go for whips or ball-gags, but the truth, yo, which is why she's wired up her trick-du-jour for a lie detector test. If he doesn't spill the truth about her Chunky Monkey ice cream and chocolate covered pretzels - which are both gone, I tell you, gone! - then he's in. Rully. Big. Trubs.

But guess what? There's a new CD out by a certain lady who likes ball-gags and such - or at least she wanted you to think she did when she was justifying her sexy-times (or whatever that was) a few years back. Now, though, our gal is a leaky mess. Her entire album was hacked and dumped - scratch tracks, demos and all. To get ahead of the game, she polished it all up and released everything. And I do mean everything. Wise move? Not exactly. There's a lot of good songs here, but a lot of crap she likely would have cut if she hadn't been pillaged in advance. Oh, well. These days she's burning up her 'puter, too.

Have the happiest of Valentine's (and I actually mean that).

Say what you will in the comments, but do not share your S&M fantasies. 
No one wants to know (and I actually mean that). 


Keir said...

My favourite (actually, only one I remember) Luba tune- 'No More Words'

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

It's time for a Luba revivial. Let's start one!

Anthony said...

Album covers, as with Dave Pike's Jazz for the Jet Set, are fun and imaginative. Also, I appreciate your links with your texts. Thanks!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Thanks, Anthony. Old LP covers are the best! We've framed and hung several of them in our home.