Since getting my iPod, I've been slowly putting all my CDs on it, and this weekend, I put the first Red Hot + Blue compilation on it.
This was originally an album with a companion television show, a group of videos by different artists and directors to songs by Cole Porter. It was a benefit for AIDS research, and a number of follow-up albums were released.
This project was spearheaded by John Carlin, who commented in the notes for last May's DVD release that "Things were different in 1990." They were; darker and far more frightening than they are today.
Each artist was paired with a director, and some of the best directors of the day were involved -- not just music video directors, but film as well. Wim Wenders, for instance, made U2's video to Cole Porter's "Night and Day." Derek Jarman, whose films were often really a bit too artsy and self-indulgent for me, was a director I thought might be best appreciated in music-video length. He was supposed to direct Annie Lennox singing "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," but he was too ill; he died of AIDS in 1994.
More and lots and lots of YouTube vids under the jump....
Instead, Lennox was filmed singing in front of an old-fashioned projection screen, with home movies of Jarman's childhood playing while she sang. It was... heartstopping. I cried like a fucking baby, and the meaning of the song changed completely in that context and with her delivery:
Ev'ry time we say goodbye I die a little
Ev'ry time we say goodbye I wonder why a little
Why the gods above me who must be in the know
think so little of me they allow you to go.
When you're near there's such an air of spring about it
I can hear a lark somewhere begin to sing about it
there's no love finer, but how strange the change from
major to minor...
Ev'ry time we say goodbye.
The CD and DVD are full of amazing songs... kd lang singing "So In Love," her beautiful voice ripped raw with the painful story of loss depicted in the video -- and clearly about losing a woman, too, although we never see the other person. The video is just lang doing the laundry, and burying her face in the unseen woman's clothing:
Neneh Cherry's completely brilliant "I've Got You Under My Skin":
Sinead O'Connor's homoerotic punk cabaret version of "You Do Something to Me":
Erasure's "Too Darn Hot" with footage of ACT-UP demonstrating:
And so many more, some sad, some scathing, some just plain good.
I found this, by accident, oddly enough, on YouTube this morning, looking for something else entirely. The coincidence didn't escape me. Whether you like Cole Porter (himself a closeted gay man) or not, whether you like Aztec Camera or not (or even know who they are), this video and song? Totally beautiful: