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Break Yo’ TV: Erasure – “A Little Respect”

on August 19, 2010, 3:15pm

With the advent of the Internet, human beings have been graced with many trivial treasures, including Internet memes. These are the same vexing, rapid Internet crazes that have bestowed “rickrolling” upon the universe. However, in true one-hit-wonder fashion, it is time for Rick Astley to step aside, as another pop culture phenom takes the stage… or screen. CoS is proud to introduce “bellbombing,” courtesy of English synthpop duo Erasure’s 1988 single, “A Little Respect”.

A little over a year after Astley’s single “Never Gonna Give You Up” became a worldwide hit, Andy Bell, with the help of Vince Clarke, delivered his own worldwide hit, complete with an equally unexpected deep voice. Unfortunately, the Astley-esque voice isn’t “A Little Respect’s” only accompaniment. It is also joined by a horrendous music video.

The literal depiction of the lyrics is done in the most paltry manner possible. As Bell sings “I try to discover/A little something to make me sweeter,” you see a hand urgently pouring spoon fulls of sugar into a tea cup, but it doesn’t make the music video go down, so to speak. This is followed by “Oh baby refrain from breaking my heart,” as amidst a struggle, Clarke uses a hammer to strike the giant heart Bell is holding.

Meanwhile, the video is peppered with a kaleidoscope effect and a demonic looking cupid, both of which are equally disturbing. However, nothing is as disturbing as the section where green blobs, resembling unfertilized eggs, swirl behind Bell as he sings “Oh baby please.” Please give the viewer a break; the constant fading in and out on top of all of the cheap shenanigans is enough.

And when it becomes too difficult to think of images to pair with the lyrics, words suffice. “Respect” and  “PEACE WITH OUR HEARTS” prove to be too daunting to depict without text. The word “soul” creates a similar dilemma and is replaced with an Olympic banner that reads “Seoul 1988.” However, Erasure does manage to surpass Audio Playground, who relies heavily on text and a three-fold relationship rehash to depict the Canadian act’s 2009 cover, “(A Little) Respect”.

Wheatus (of “Teenage Dirtbag” fame), however, managed to do the lovely lyrics justice with their 2001 cover. Their video features a storyline about a a struggling boyfriend attempting to impress his girlfriend but failing miserably after every turn– that is, until Wheatus preforms a private concert for the two. It helps that Wheatus is joined by Shawn Hatosy and the late Brittany Murphy. It also helps that they put a smart effort toward building upon their song in a more abstract way.

If nothing else, Erasure has the potential to become a Internet meme, dethroning Rick Astley and invading homes across the world. Bellbombs for everyone!

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