It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Vive Le Musique! - "Elephunk"?

The French Music Awards were apparently held last night with some "boy band" named Blue beating out U2 for top band. Apparently, in France at least, beefcake harmonization outstrips creative and spiritually-oriented Rock 'n' roll. Which means that France has, for the year 2005, become Madonna's favorite country.

One thing about this particular soiree' struck me as quite revealing about the artistic nature of such popular music awards. No, not the telling photo accompanying the Yahoo!/Reuters story showing Bono triumphantly holding up the "special" award U2 received (because people know Bono, but "Blue"?), as compensation no doubt for the French music industry's sudden fascination with a musical trend that officially died here in the U.S. the second Justin Timberlake ripped off Janet Jackson's brassiere at the Super Bowl. Come to think of it, that might explain France's sudden fascination with such singers (And also perhaps the rumors that the Super Bowl halftime show this year will be headlined by "Up with People"). It cannot begin though to help me fathom the title of one of the award winning albums: "Elephunk".

"Elephunk"? The band is the L.A.-based rap group Black Eyed Peas, so such inane, pun-laden sophism can hardly be laid at the feet of a once formidable French culture still reeling from its infatuation with Deconstructionism, political opportunist Michael Moore, and the weaker entries in the Jerry Lewis canon. While the Black Eyed Peas seem fairly tame and positive as hip-hop standards go, I have to ask what the members were thinking when the album-naming meetings came up (and was there heavy drinking involved)?

One's mind reels at once with the sheer simplicity of such a pun. It this respect it could almost seem a bold, daring gesture, like Mel Brooks making "Springtime for Hitler" the centerpiece of "The Producers". Except that the more you think about it, the more you realize it was probably the best of a series of similar inventions, and that, by pure grace, we were probably spared something along the lines of one of the following options: "Kangarap", "Hip-Hoppotamus", "Hamsta", or "Ze-bro". If George Clinton were dead, he'd be rolling in his grave.

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