It would appear that 2009 is The Year of the Naked Music Video. (It may also be The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment, but there is some dispute on that.) There may well be more, but three notable videos featuring copious nudity have been released in the past few months.
What’s intriguing is the way nudity is used: it’s not necessarily erotic, and even when it is, it definitely is not your mainstream, pornish, athletic-competition sort of eroticism. For example, here’s Yeasayer’s striking and innovative interactive video for “Ambling Alp.” How is it “interactive”? You’ll just have to try it – but make sure you do. Ryan Catbird notes at MBV that the video “is almost certainly an homage to the early ’70s work of Dan Graham”—and following his link at that site, I’d certainly have to agree. The Yeasayer video is rather creepy…POV video from aliens abducted and experimented upon by strange pink creatures who are human but…not quite.
Flaming Lips’ “Watching the Planets” is, in the usual Lips way, both slightly creepy and rather joyous. The band put out a call for naked bicyclists in the Portland area, and here’s what they did with them. Also, for those of you who’ve been wanting for years to see Flaming Lips mainman Wayne Coyne’s full monty, your wait is over.
Finally, Girls have made two videos for “Lust for Life” (no, not Iggy’s), one of which is more or less R-rated while this one is more NC-17. (The link calls it “XXX”…which oversells it. Not that you want to be playing this on your break at the childcare center, mind.) What’s striking about this one is the playfulness and joy of the lovers in the video…something else mainstream treatments of eroticism tend to neglect.
And while it’s fantastic that these videos are inclusive in terms of sexual orientation, body type, and just general all-around acceptance of the human animal in its native form, it is a bit curious that there’s so much pink and so little brown or yellow or red. I’m not that familiar with the demographics of Portland, or San Francisco (where Girls reside), or wherever Yeasayer’s from…but I’m pretty sure they’re not Iowa. I’m sure this is a result of the response to casting calls, or who the bands and video directors knew and were willing to work, not any sort of intentional exclusion…but it’s curious all the same.