Declan Kolakowski

Brown Around Town - Chris Brown's Bid for the Halloween Number One #spookies

Added on by Declan Kolakowski.

It's almost November; kids are dressing up like pimps, people are covering themselves in pumpkin juice and the horror's of Spookeyveek are here, but there's one Frankenstein who just won't go away. His horribly mutilated eternally dancing body just keeps livening up my week... actually I've always wondered about Chris Brown's tattoos.

I mean... there was that one that got all over the news because he beat up Mariah Carey with a lamp and then decided to get a tattoo on his neck that sort of looks like a beaten up woman, and then he went on all those chat show's and did that thing where he looks like he's smiling but it actually might be that his lips and just really really small for his face... Whatever the case he didn't see Derrida's memo on anthropodermic bibliopegy because this boy needs to learn to read.

Regardless, the tattoo itself has always just reminded me of slightly woozy Elvira, which is kinda of nice as her insistence on SEX und COMEDY und MAGIC in the form of two big pumpkins with it's rather futuristic sensibility for what we might call haptic-sex has an almost >>>>supernatural<<<<< resonance with Chris' most recent colab with fab babe Minaj (in which he makes a cameo appearance as a skeleton!), just before he got dressed up in orange for that musical at the young offenders institute again.

The rest of them are all fairly standard. But I spoke to this giant plant today that asked for raw meat and thought I should probably do that karma thing and just make it to 100% to give you all the full file on why CB's tribal markings are so important.

In Écrites Lacan discusses how the tattoo works as a "cyclical symbology of intellect and embodiment", that it functions as a "metonym for skin, and thus emotion" and so "signifies reciprocally the medium of the signifier" - in this case the medium is a body that is sold piece by piece through a media machine run mainly on the blood of teenage girls with a domestic abuse fantasy - but that's beside the point. So in the spirit of Lacan we can read Chris' entire body as a discursive text that represents him and his not inconsiderable contributions to music and in this case the bid for the greatest halloween track eva.

1. A scary scary skull (+10 spooky points!) and some skeleton bones... or is that the rising sun. Self explanatory reference to Chris' time spent ordering books online with that anorexic vampire woman from that orange juice commercial.

2. Kirby! - Chris is a young person after all. And all young people love video games. Also, I think we can all agree sentient marshmallows are pretty scary.

3. This is of course the bodily expression of CB's well documented love for Matter Eater Lad, one of  DC's greatest creations of the sexy 60s. It seems fitting to me that Chris' Super Heroe inspiration is a nerdy white boy who enjoys eating feces. Although he's been relatively reticent compared to other Hip-Pop and Rap artists in his adoration of anal-lingus.

4. R-Kelly, Chris' main man did this, a very gothic feel, angels, heaven etc. I also want to point out what a fucking pussy he is for not getting his nipples inked.

5. "Symphonic Love" plays into the many tropes of pop music joy. Many artists have an obsession with the symphony as an expression of love. And yet they all refuse to write them. It's a little known fact that Chris' favourite symphony is Dvořák six. Fine choice Chris. It's acknowledging a dead art form which is technically like zombies and death man so it works with the theme of this ... article.

So if nothing else, Chris' body is a temple of ghoulish (or should I goulash!?) halloweeny spookiness, but how is Chris' A GAME?

Despite all these hieroglyphics I've been enjoying CB's latest bid for the Halloween number one which comes down from on high (or up from below depending on who you speak to) with the help of Usher (who's cherubic little face in this number ushers in realm of pop gold that only comes around once every few months) and to a lesser extent Rick Ross (although we don't care about him because he looks eerily like what I imagine an old fat CB would look like, they even have similar tattoos) in the form of New Flame.

Of course, the affordances here to the Halloween theme are nothing short of shameless, but that's why we love Chris, he's a different shade of ORANGE, he coddles you, we all like to be spoilt girls once in a while. The satanic spooky vibe encapsulated in the title "new flame", i.e. burning in hell etc. etc. yes we know you like the devil Chris, climb off that thorny cock and give us some new material babe!! - despite all that - really works; it's a nice little motif, and the way he subtly manipulates it to be a metaphor for starting a relationship (albeit one beneath the earth where the sky is always red) is nothing short of genius and as a visual motif it's subtly handled through the accompanying music video. The burning St. Andrew cross, the flames sprouting from beneath his feet as Chris dances, the smouldering passions of the artists involved. Literally everything is on show here.

Then there's this bit where Chris pretends to Gene Kelly and dances with an Umbrella on a tiny platform which makes my mothering instincts go crazy; "get off that tiny platform... you shouldn't be jumping around such a small space... you're bound to fall off... this will only end in tears..." Oy Vey... he never listens. But it does create the requisite amount of thrill vs. scary for this halloween honker. Plus the Gene Kelly costume is pretty convincing.

Also there's a nice imagistic contrast in the use of the flame/desert vs. water/sky. It all creates this subtle coding of symbolic biblical mythologies in tension with paganist supernatural ideals that mirror CB's experience of life and the in the media and in his relationships abloo abloo abloo.

Throughout the song several super spooky skeletons turn up but they're never quite as convincing as the one that opens the song. Then there's all the ILLUMINATI SATAN 666 stuff about Beatz etc. from many reputable sources, which fits really well with the whole life-death-love-hate-spooky-not-spooky-feel. Usher does this bit with an anonymised (I don't blame her) woman and eventually Rick Ross comes in... but his costume wasn't very good this year so I don't think anybody gave a shit. Also, Usher and Chris do a super cute dance together at the end of the video which they must have spent several hours practicing which is almost as long as I spent thinking about the previous sentence so it's nice to know they are meeting me half way...

To give it all conceptual consistency - and to back up my theory that the world of hip-pop-rumblebumble is completely incestuous - Tyga (the whiney one from that show with all these children having breakfast and he always used to whine about the eggs) makes an appearance for less than two seconds to make some innocuous hand movements, which is such a shame considering the production crew obviously spent some time dressing him all up in white, and doing his make up and making sure his pre-pubescent arch-Hitler moustache was looking nice.

The pAp karma is all balanced out by the fact that Usher made his own silent protagonist appearance in Chris Brown's song from earlier this year, Loyal, which was all about how being a "broke nigga" was Chris' take on Kanye's cuckolding fantasy and that all women are a bit like chipmunks or something... However... Usher was pretending to be a raccoon in the Loyal video, so that's presumably why he got so much more screen than Tyga. Better luck next time Tygs; hand gestures and poor taste in jewellery aren't enough these days.

With the advent of cultish socialist conspiracies like the "Christmas Number One" these days, it's easy to forget that the Halloween Number One is one of the most important musical events of the year; it's proximity to the Mercury Awards - an uninspired borefest which caters exclusively to the sensibilities of pancake fucking radio one DJs - is nothing short of prophetic. And I for one, am supporting CB all the way with his bid for that title.