Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tori Amos and Euro-American Cultural Differences

I think people underestimate the differences between American and European culture, and I think this difference is no better exemplified than in the videos for Tori Amos' Cornflake Girl. It's kind of an arty song to begin with, a piano-driven female-sung pop song in an era dominated by scruffy men with guitars.

The American Version

Take a look for yourself.

It's... well, pretty typical of 90's entertainment. 20-something women in trendy clothing (and remember that the post-new-wave-alt-grunge 90's look was very sort-of-bad-on-purpose). It's a girl-power thing on a sound stage that's supposed to look like a desert and/or deserted playground. Quick cuts, nothing that approaches a narrative, a stew made from a cowboy, and Tori inexplicably plays a piano solo on her chest around the 3:10 mark. She also mugs to the camera a lot. Like, a lot. My assumption is that the director would have rather cast Juliet Lewis, but was stuck with Tori (it being a Tori Amos video, after all) who nonetheless did her best to be accommodating.

The European Version

...is a freaking mind trip.

Tori Amos - Cornflake Girl by djoik

It opens with Tori sprawled on the floor, shot through a window and prominently featuring a mechanical bird. From there it morphs into an abstract impressionist film about a tornado that has sucked up flaming houses, eskimos, and a girl in ug-boots and a straight jacket who promptly gets caught in a spider web, and proceeds to get weirder from there.

It's definitely artsy. It's more than that, it looks like someone ate a bunch of symbolism and then shat imagery all over the film and set it to music. It is a garbled incomprehensible mess, but a slower, more deliberate incomprehensible mess.

The Moral of the Story

I don't know. Something about globalization. You figure it out.

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1 comment:

The Crocheted Way said...

so i get the reasons behind this disparity...

europeans have a certain, asthetic that americans dont really appreciate. it has toned down since the 90's (and had mostly taken the form of extreme minimalism)and is based on, well, what vogue magazine employees think is cool...