Kate Moss exits a white BMW in a forest. She's wearing a (hopefully PETA-friendly) fur coat. And for a moment, the scene reminds the world of George Michael's affinity for the use of models in his music videos. But upon the opening notes of the song, it becomes evident that something deeper is going on in his visual presentation for "White Light"-a recently released uptempo single.
George Michael enters the scene looking crisp with a tight crew cut, turtleneck and impressive facial hair. But he still looks slightly uncomfortable. Oddly, he sounds restrained under the weight of all the effects. At times his voice is like a cross between Duran Duran's lead singer Simon LeBon and "somebody else." But it's definitely still George although it's likely one would get the notion that the song styling wasn't really his idea after all. On occasion, he actually looks pained or annoyed, rather than at ease with all the writhing exposed flesh surrounding him. But in light of the subject matter, that might have been the desired effect.
Indeed, he's offering a pretty profound message in his lyrics:
"Cause there's no white light. And I'm not through…I'm alive."
Considering his serious bout with pneumonia for which he was hospitalized, the "Faith" singer has a right to be thankful. But the presentation chosen to punctuate these feelings is a brash departure from the smoother music to which his mature fans are accustomed. "White Light's"series of arresting images (some of which includes ravens, a crime scene, black-eyed demons, and needles) paint a vivid picture of the fate that often befalls others.
But just as quickly as the creepy imagery floats across the screen, George chimes in with a rather bright verse that contradicts the darkness of the video's current scene. About 2:40 minutes into the song, his inflection pays specific homage to his soulful roots, but is quickly dissolved into the production---which happens to be filled with all the perfection that you'd expect from a big named performer. Despite the electronic bells and whistles, fans still expect to make the connection to the artist affectionately regarded as one-half of Wham!.
In an interview on EW.com, Michael even admits that some of his most recent material "wasn't necessarily his best" although he's thrilled with it. Could it be that he's longing for songs that don't rely on Autotuned perfection to create zing? "White Light" isn't necessarily Michael's worst work either. In fact, even though his hair-raising approach is somewhat of a surprise, diehard fans are merely happy for his return.
Nonetheless, like Madonna and others who enjoyed popularity in the 80s and 90s, opting for slick imagery and sound seems to be the way that these artists are blending into the fickle music scene. "White Light" in all its inner glory is a prime example of how influential the "pop sound" is these days.
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