The institution as a recurring theme in pop culture tells us a great deal about how people think about institutions and mental illness, and music videos in particular provide a fascinating glimpse into perceptions of institutionalization and the institution as metaphor. Assembling this post, I pored through numerous videos depicting institutions and institutional life, ranging from the heinous to the fantastic.
Because I'm not a musician, I'm a writer, I tend to like and analyze and pick at the lyrics of songs. But at the same time, to be any sort of a pop music critic I have to look at the whole package, not just the lyrics. Each part of a pop song is a deliberate choice, and sometimes those choices deliberately contradict one another, undercut one meaning and substitute another, add layer upon layer and give you things to think about with each listen.
Rihanna's new album is coming out soon. And with the new album - about which we know pretty much nothing, aside from a few vague quotes - comes the speculation about whether she'll address The Incident - her public assault by, and break-up with, Chris Brown. Specifically: is she going to be angry?
An article at CNN.com (via ONTD) says: maybe! Ne-Yo, who worked with her on the album, has said that we can "expect an edgier, almost angrier Rihanna on this one." And it is, as CNN reminds us, The First Album Since The Incident. But Tracey Johnson, of NeonLimelight.com, says "[Some fans] feel like it would be good for her to represent abused women in some sort of way and say something, but in my perspective, she doesn't owe us anything."
I don't know much about her website, but I'm with Tracey on this one. She doesn't owe us much. Particularly not one specific emotion. After what she's survived, asking her to present us with one simple "appropriate" or fan-requested emotion is just unfair.
Say! HERE'S something I can't not talk about: Chris Brown, domestic abuser, bow tie enthusiast, Oprah nemesis, and soon-to-be dancing fiend, now on approximately Week One Million of his I'm Not Really That Bad And Also Please Forgive Me For That Unspecified Thing I Did (Did I Mention I'm Not That Bad?) Tour.