Apparently "The Eagle has landed" really means "Dude, are you digging these tunes?"

In an effort to top Mr. Pomerantz's recent music related post, I posit the following - which may or may not eclipse the aforementioned post in content but in unabashedly wonderful humor....

There is music on the Moon.

Perhaps I'm just being ridiculous, but let's take a look at the cold hard facts.

Exhibit A: The MTV Moon Man.


Now I'm no expert on such things, but it looks to me as though MTV has thrown down the gauntlet here. Neil Armstrong was a rock star. You have to ask yourself, does Jimi Hendrix really compare? Um, actually, yeah, he does. Both Jimi Hendrix and Neil Armstrong qualify as what I like to call "Completely Awesome." And what does it take to be completely awesome? Well, it has something to do with either (a) actually walking on the surface of the Moon or (b) playing a Fender Stratocaster with your teeth. I'm pretty sure Armstrong could do both. And I'm nearly certain that Buzz Aldrin singlehandedly gave MTV the idea for "buzz bands." There's no denying it, when it comes to the former awesomeness of the channel formerly known as Music Television, they went straight to the source: astronauts.

Exhibit B: Michael Jackson's Moonwalk

Do yourself a favor, do not fast forward to 1:00 in this video. I repeat: do not fast forward (no really, the whole video is awesome). Perhaps it was all best summed up in relation to another artist in the movie High Fidelity (2000):

Rob, top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the '80s and '90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins, is it better to burn out or fade away?

OK, I think I'm getting ahead of myself here. Michael Jackson is - and always will be - the king of pop. Let us forgive him for the rather insane antics and quasi-psychopathic behavior of recent years. And let's also forget about the possibility of permanent psychological scarring done by Jeff Koons here:


But let us simultaneously remember one of Jackson's singular contributions to the world of music: The Moonwalk. A dance move so ingenious, so incomprehensibly slick, so thoroughly irreproducible* as to spawn both

a movie...

and a video game...

And while this dance move really has nothing to do with the Moon (last I checked, Michael never went there, but who knows...), it does inspire some thought as to what exactly dancing on the Moon might look like. I think it isn't this:

Also, this is awesome.

Exhibit C: Hanson

Waaaaaaaiiiit a minute. Hanson? I thought you were talking about the Moon here?

Well sure enough, while Mr. Pomerantz and I were engaged in a heated link exchange via Gchat, we came upon a pop "supergroup" called Tinted Windows (please pardon the MySpace link). And this led Mr. Pomerantz, for reasons which I still do not understand, to pull up the video for "MMMBop," the indisputable king of completely ironic songs written by teenagers about being old. And at roughly 3 minutes into the video, the lovable longhaired kids plant a flag directly on what appears to be the same set used by NASA to trick us into thinking we actually landed on the Moon. No really, look for yourself. I'm still trying to figure out why my sister, who really truly is the biggest Hanson fan on Earth (she has a Hanson tattoo, for real), has not pointed this out to me.

Exhibit D: Videos that are much better than "MMMBop"

Tom Petty - Runnin' Down a Dream

Exhibit E: Songs that are much better than "MMMBop"

All of which include the word "moon," but may or may not actually be related to the Moon.

Ozzy Osbourne - Bark at the Moon

Neil Young - Harvest Moon

Feist - My Moon My Man

Oh, and just about anything from Dark Side of the Moon. And Nick Drake's Pink Moon, which coincidentally is very confusing in context with the aforementioned album in this paragraph.

Exhibit F: Pierrot Lunaire

Are you ready to really have your mind blown by some truly weird Moon music? Look no further than Pierrot Lunaire the masterwork song cycle by Arnold Schoenberg, which just happened to be the subject of my undergraduate thesis in music (OK, it wasn't technically a thesis, and it was kind of bad, but if you're so inclined you could probably read it).

Pierrot (also known as Pedrolino) is a character from the Commedia dell'Arte who, while always losing the girl to Harlequin, has severe bouts of depression while gazing at the Moon - this is where the term "lunatic" was born.

And what better way to pay tribute to the most maniacal (manic?) character of the Commedia than to utilize a singing technique that sounds like a horse dying? It's called Sprechstimme - from the German for spoken-song - and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about in this video:

Christine Schäfer (sop.) and Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Pierre Boulez

I may have been exaggerating about the horse dying thing, but you get the idea. There's a movement called Der Moonfleck (which, according to my sources, translates to "The Moonfleck"), in which Pierrot finds a fleck of moonlight on his jacket, and mistaking it for a piece of plaster, attempts fruitlessly to scratch it off.... all night long.

In German:
Einen weißen Fleck des hellen Mondes
Auf dem Rücken seines schwarzen Rockes,
So spaziert Pierrot im lauen Abend,
Aufzusuchen Glück und Abenteuer.

Plötzlich stört ihn was an seinem Anzug,
Er beschaut sich rings und findet richtig -
Einen weißen Fleck des hellen Mondes
Auf dem Rücken seines schwarzen Rockes.

Warte! denkt er: das ist so ein Gipsleck!
Wischt und wischt, doch - bringt ihn nicht herunter!
Und so geht er, giftgeschwollen, weiter,
Reibt und reibt bis an den frühen Morgen -
Einen weißen Fleck des hellen Mondes.

In English:
A white fleck of bright moon
On the back of his black coat,
Pierrot sets off one balmy evening,
To seek his fortune.

Suddenly something's awry in his toilette;
He casts about until he finds it-
A white fleck of bright moon
On the back of his black coat.

Drat! he thinks: a fleck of plaster!
Wipes and wipes, but-can't get it off!
So on he goes, his pleasure poisoned,
Till break of day, rubbing and rubbing
A white fleck of bright moon.

Be sure to tune in next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel, for some more excursions into the wonderful world of strange lunar music exploration.

* I thought I made this word up, but my spell checker tells me it's real. Also, The Moonwalk may in fact be reproducible.

Gonz037 said...

I share a last name with those damned MMmmbop kids, it caused me emotional scarring that just now resurfaced. Thanks!

Jenni said...

Don't forget "Walking on the Moon" by Sting!

QuarkSpin said...

Of course, there is the "uber" slick rendition of "How High The Moon" by Manhattan Transfer:

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