Music Questions and Groovy Ghouls

I hope this video plays on other sites and in most countries. If you can, take in this visual and auditory information, then consult with me when you have finished your assignment.

OK, to be honest, I have nothing profound to say about this. I pick up this and that, trivial info, from random curiosities and wikipedia, but the answers are often lacking. You can never really know what it was like to be there. So I’m still left with a few questions.

The lead singer of the Mary Jane Girls was a protégé & / or collaborator with Rick James, and I think the only actual MJ Girl on the recorded track. The other girls were stand-ins for tours, promotion, image. I expect on tour they’d just lip synch at most concerts, so they didn’t even need singing skills. Probably they were dancers first. But did they sing? I know sometimes singers would try to do the whole package as performers, sometimes with tragic results (I’m thinking of a breathless sweaty Paula Abdul performance on MTV Music Awards from long ago). How singin’ were the non-recorded Mary Jane Girls?

The lead MJG was a singer first and a dancer / performer second, right? I think it’s funny to imagine she just danced how she felt and the dancing girls had to try to coordinate to that. Try to keep up girls. Probably not, but who knows?

Other random thought, why is the white girl in a skeleton costume? I do think the combination of light eyes, blonde hair, and heavy makeup evokes the doll-look possession in the first Evil Dead movie, so she’s kinda ghoulish. I know cocaine was huge in this scene, which creates a strong association between the color white and death, but surely that’s my own projection. It’s just weird that one of them had a ghoul outfit and the rest didn’t. The song does have a spoopy vibe, anyway.

Still from Evil Dead (1979)

I rather like eighties funk, though I’m no expert on it. I feel like it lost something in the transition from the seventies, like feeling and soul, and then replaced that with this cold alien drug vibe that has a different and perverse kind of appeal. What do you think?


  1. says

    Yeah, MJ at a too young age was trained in that old school way of entertaining – all that while smiling as big as you can. I certainly don’t blame 80s motown descendants for slouching on any aspect of that performance they could get away with. In the universe of this music video, there’s even room to make gloomy or uncanny expressions.

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