Friday, August 31, 2007

R. Kelly/David Lynch

DJ Wolf has a good post with an interesting perspective on R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet". For me, R. Kelly's magnum opus is the work of a mildly creative and quirky, though fully psychopathic, mind. It is more disturbing than anything else. I remember watching him try to perform it tout seul at an MTV award show; it was like watching a small animal drown.
Taking into account the thing's absurdity, it still suffers from a mercilessly repetitive beat that isn't even mediocre R. Kelly. The plot also shares the same defect that plagued David Lynch's "Twin Peaks". That is, when you are forced to keep a story going that already is sort of silly, you eventually have to start piling on the most absurd shit. This happens when young kids are asked to write a "round robin" in an English Class. The pirate lost his patch (pass to the next child), who searched a mini-golf course for it (pass), where he met a purple alien (pass) who shot him with a gun made of chocolate...This can literally go on forever. The art of knowing when to stop is important. I would say that for both R. Kelly and David Lynch, one way to discern when the absurdities and non-sequiturs are getting tiresome, is when you bring in midgets. Lynch's talk backwards which is kind of interesting and cool, but when the Pied Piper of R&B brings in his dwarf in Chapter Nine of "Trapped in the Closet", it is somehow a let down. The midget card is so played out!

EDIT: Upon re-watching Chapters 1-12 of TINC I notice that R. Kelly connects his tableaux with long timpani rolls, just as Stravinsky does in "Petrushka". I also notice that the most hilarious thing ever is the scene with the midget. I especially love Kelly's hyper-dramatic emphasis on introducing the midget (who dresses like Steve Harvey) at 29:50; it's as if he is well aware that he is bringing us into a no-man's land, and wants to make sure we are ready. All those with weak constitutions turn back now.
Knowing that most opera librettos are written in verse, it is especially hilarious to render the following lines from Chapter 10:

Now the midget jumps outta the cabinet

and stomps the policemen on his toe
The policemen hoppin around on 1 leg
screamin "son of bitch" while he runs under the table
He yells ''Freeze!'' dives over the table and lands on the midget.
..while the midget is kickin real fast screamin out "Bridget! Bridget!"
She yells "Darlin don't hurt him!"
He says "Bridget, get yo' ass back!",
...then he continue to ruff up the midget
as if the midget was under attack...
Then Bridget runs up to her room,
goes in her purse and pulls a number out...

The police puts him on the table
and yells, "Man, what the hell you doin' in my house?!"
He wipes cherry-pie crust off his mouth
and says "Man, i was paid not to tell you"
Then the police pulls his gun out
and yells "Trespassin man, I got the right to shoot you!"
The midget says "Mr.,
the man that payed me to do do this would kill me if i tell..."
He [the "police" -ed.] points the gun in his face,
the midget says ''God i think i just shitted on myself''.

Ahhh....the arts.


Blogger PWS said...

Looking over this once more, I must comment on my own blog and examine for one moment:
"She yells 'Darlin don't hurt him!'
He says 'Bridget, get yo' ass back!',
...then he continue to ruff up the midget,as if the midget was under attack..."

Emphasis mine. Not only is this one of the best lines of the song, but it's wonderfully self-defeating. Isn't, "ruffing" up the midget a form of attacking the midget? So the midget, nor indeed ourselves, would not be at all amiss to consider the midget being "under attack".

This sentence is false. R. Kelly, a fellow Irishman, mines the plentiful veins that live in the twilight between artistry and borderline mental-retardation.

2:21 AM  
Blogger PWS said...

Also, beware when the emotional climax of the first act of your opera is a melisma on "The midget is the baby's daddy."

2:29 AM  

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