Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Chauffeur by Sleepthief, featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw

After posting over thirty videos or at least samples of 80s synthpop, I thought I'd do something a little different just to break up the monotony. Actually, I was looking for a video of Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur" I could post, and I didn't find one that I wanted to use. One (of two) official videos is a bizarre film noir paeon to the controversial Italian art film Night Porter, but because it is an official EMI America music video and doesn't allow embedding, I can't use it. Not only that, near the end there's a bizarre sequence where a platinum blonde in an SS uniform takes her jacket off and dances topless in a parking garage, which, frankly, I didn't want to post on my blog anyway, even if I could have. I couldn't find a good copy of the other version, although granted, I didn't look that hard.

"The Chauffeur" is part of the Duran Duran mystique and legendry; supposedly when lead singer Simon Le Bon was offered a role in Duran Duran, he came with a handwritten book of lyrics and poetry already in tow, and "The Chauffeur" was one of those songs. Despite never having had a single release, it's extremely well known, and their early video collection was named Sing Blue Silver from the lyrics to this song. I can vouch with personal experience that they played it still regularly at concerts during the 90s, a feat which not even all of their successful singles releases from the 80s managed to do (curse you for not playing "New Moon On Monday" the night I was there, Duran Duran! Curse you!")

Also, even moreso than most Duran Duran songs, it's extremely electronic, and synthesizers make up an enormous portion of the instrumentation relative even to their other dance and synthpop flavored hits. It's also extremely sexy while also being extremely creepy and somewhat disturbing, although only in vague ways. The video I mentioned above makes it slightly less vague, but still... creepy as all get-out.

I created a new label, "Other" to carry this and any other slightly off-topic asides I decide to post. The first such is this remake of Duran Duran's song that came out a few years ago by electronic musician Sleepthief (actually Justin Elswick), a project where he rotates through guest vocalists (this time featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw.)

This version is quite faithful to the original in many ways, despite having a female vocalist, and is actually, if anything, even more creepy than the original. The music video below is surprisingly subtle, and I don't want to spoil the surprise at the end, but watch it and you'll see.

1 comment:

  1. Just in case you didn't get it, I thought I'd put the explanation here, which Sleepthief himself thoughtfully provided. The gist of it is: there's really only one woman. And she's crazy. The "other woman" is just a figment of her imagination, or perhaps a multiple personality fragment. There are a number of clues sprinkled throughout the video, but it's really only at the end that it becomes more straightforward and you can tell that they're actually the same person all along.