Saturday, 22 September 2007

Girls Aloud – ‘Sexy! No No No…’



The fact that Girls Aloud wore PVC catsuits in the video for this song pretty much guaranteed a leering reaction from tabloids and lad's mags. What interests me is the fact that the video itself seems almost designed to thwart such a response.

Sure, the Girls rock the black fetish gear in this video, but it’s all very abstract. Indeed, compared with the hypersexualised movement of Beyonce’s ostensibly similar ‘Green Light’ video, the motion in ‘Sexy! No No No...’ is oddly conceptual, with the Girls mostly just posing awkwardly or else jerking out of the way of giant sewing pins (!).

Furthermore, at least half of the running is taken up with images of the Girls in bizarre, inflatable red dresses (still fetishy, but in a more unusual way), a fact that adds to the slightly clumsy artiness of the piece (the parallels with the video for Christina Aguilera’s ‘Fighter’ are obvious, both in terms of look and quality).

This stylisation sits nicely with the theme of the song, which is all about not submitting to the allure of the hot sexy sex: ‘But you’re knock-knock-knocking again boy/ Whoa-oh, good ain’t good enough, gonna keep you waiting.’

This video, then, presents fetish gear as armour, as a way of sealing yourself off from physicality, of becoming something strangely distant and protected. (Somewhere in the background I can hear a Guardian writer querying why such allegedly empowering fashion trends necessitate ‘immobilising stilettos and rib-breaking dresses’ -- which is an interesting point, if one that is made somewhat stiffly and with little or no concept of masochism). Again, all of this is a perfect fit with Girls Aloud’s style: they’re really good at making icy detachment sound like the most fun ever, and if the cyborg pop-stomp of ‘Sexy! No No No’ isn’t one of their best songs then it’s still one of the most invigorating singles of 2007.

And the other bits of the video? Well they’re pretty and striking, and they also dramatise the idea of the Girls working to evade something (sex?). You can read as much as you want into the fact that they’re dodging phallic objects (the sewing pins), or indeed into the fact that these needles not only have traditionally feminine connotations but are also used to manufacture clothing. The fact that these pins become ropes in which the Girls are entangled towards the end of the video seems to resonate with such readings almost too well. For now, I’m going to listen to the song another dozen times and then take some time to appreciate the fact that Nicola has really awesome eye makeup in this video:



(Related: Popjustice break the song down into its component parts and discover that it is guilty of total aceness!)

(Also: I didn’t mean to use Girls Aloud as a chain to beat Beyonce with. ‘Green Light’ is a great song, it’s just that its video was much more like what I expected the video for ‘Sexy! No No No…’ to be like from the press it had generated. Interesting that the 'Green Light' video didn't receive anywhere near as much hype, in the UK at least.)

2 comments:

Latex Fetish said...

very lovely and dashing dress....

Fetish Clothing said...

I like that red fetish dress....

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