Time liberates the work of art from moral relevance, delivering it over to the Camp sensibility.
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"
Now you know what an Abba song created and delivered without one scintilla of charisma might have sounded like.
Yes, it's the mid-'70s Russian pop industry at work again, here with a fetching little ensemble called Hello Song* and their hit "Do Not Promise." Apparently, the group first shot to stardom (or what passed for it) with a number called "We Love the Disco," the very thought of which makes me feel a need to lie down with a cold compress for an hour or two. Or perhaps it's the effect of those costumes - just watching all that double-knit swing and sway is giving me a rash.
Oh, darlings, the things I do for you. There is a numbing sameness to watching a parade of Soviet music videos from this era - the uniform, manufactured cheerfulness; the anodyne, watered-down echoes of the tamest kinds of surf-pop and bubblegum; the heroic if wholly unsuccessful attempts at hip styles - and it's interesting to know how this curious, artificial genre came to be. Tawdry as it is to refer discerning folk such as yourselves on to Wikipedia, I actually found the entry there on the phenomenon of state-pop in the USSR very enlightening. And at least it's nice to know that each and every one of these swingin' guys and doughty thrushes was "a professional musician with formal musical education and many years of performance experience." You could've fooled me, but there's no accounting for tastes - it appears that the group, or at least a distant descendant, is still around. Go have a listen to their current incarnation - if you dare.
* Their name reminds me that when my dear pal Miss Rheba first spied an outlet of the short-lived chain Bonjour, Croissant!, it inspired in her a desire to move to Paris and open her own eatery, to be called "Hello, Toast!"