Editors Opinion: Tarantallegra–Music As A Compelling Force

I watched the music video, read the words, and listened to the title track of Xiah Junsu’s new solo album, “Tarantallegra”. I admit that I approached it as a task to ‘endure’ solely because of the hype and teasers that deliberately were made to be unsettling to the minds of the fans. To say that this song, actually this concept, was psychologically promoted to the nth degree would still be an understatement. Phrases used were “are you ready to be shocked”, etc, etc in an effort to “prepare our minds” for the actual imagery and intent of the music video. Some of the imagery in the teasers did not appear in the actual product, for which I am grateful. I tend to dislike mind games and dominance.

You have to ask yourself, “what is the intention of this music video? After all, we are comfortable with the Xiah Junsu of old–the fresh-faced, button-nosed, energetic person who made us smile,laugh, and love him because he is a consummate actor and showman, but also a sincere human being. He still has this ability, but face it, he is no longer ‘Angel Xiah”. While getting glimpses of the real Xiah Junsu through candid shots of him with the members and individual moments with family and friends, we must also be aware that he dwells inside himself in his own space with his own thoughts and desires that are not typical of everyone around him.

Sylvester LeVay calls him a ‘genius’, as do many others–so let us define exactly what genius means. In Merriam-Webster’s  11th Collegiate Dictionary, the term ‘genius’ has many definitions of which I have chosen the following few as definitive (in my opinion) of Xiah Junsu: ‘A person who influences another for good or bad; a peculiar, distinctive, or identifying character or spirit; a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude; extraordinary intellectual power, especially as manifested in creative activity.

There. I will now state my ‘opinion’ of what “Tarantallegra” truly means. I could be totally wrong, however, I believe that it is a ‘protest song’ stating that modern music in the realm of Junsu’s existence is too controlling, mundane, and limited for him. He feels caught in a web of ‘sameness’ that holds him to a standard of music and interpretation of music as an art form that everyone around him adheres to through necessity. Why? At this moment in time–because it sells.

Junsu is a visionary–he sees things as they can be, not as they are. Potential in music flares out at him and draws him as a spider to its web; as a moth to a flame. [ I choose to emphasize here that this is not Junsu’s stand alone–I believe many artists dwell here daily] Junsu simply goes where others fear to tread.. The imagery in the music video comes through to me as imprisonment and seduction, much like ‘Mirotic’, but the message is entirely different– for in “Tarantellegra’ Junsu is depicted as many-faceted, compelling, vibrant, and potentially able to escape this typical music/lifestyle  to do something different.

 We cannot ignore Junsu’s ability as a dancer. He is athletic– with a strong, driving force and energy that , yes, surpasses the abilities of many. However, there are those who can perform at this level, also–if they so desire to do so. Example here–the back-up dancers. They cannot be considered background in this video because they play such an integral role in its production. I cannot say that I appeciate all of the imagery and movement depicted, but they help to bring the message across–something new is needed to set the artist free. I, Music, have been captured. I long to be free! I long to be different!

This is where the responsibility manifests. Freedom is not free reign as much as it is free expression. Caution should always be there to entertain but still nourish.This music video is not for children. Children cannot understand its implications, nor should they have to. The viewer who does not perform, write, sing, or dance may not get the full implications, either. I see no blatant sexuallty;  I see sensuality, which is more compelling to the mind. Also keep in mind that this was a joint effort. The lyrics to “Tarantallegra’ [embedded in the video] were written by Juno, Junsu’s twin brother, so the words also express something inside of him. The music score is Junsu’s, it has a life of its own.

As I stated earlier in this editorial–these are my opinions alone; my assessment of what this song indicates to me. I love the music, and I understand the lyrics only too well as a singer and songwriter. The imagery is effective, but not necessarily appealing to me in all of it’s aspects, but it is not my work. That is the nature of art–it is a personal expression that manifests itself differently to every viewer and observer. I am reminded of being in ‘Art Appreciation’ class in college many years ago watching underground films that were considered too controversial to present to the masses. “Tarantallegra” in that time-frame would have been an underground video. Times have now changed, and the entertainment industry has also changed. ‘Xia/Xiah’ means ‘Asia’, so I believe that the message Junsu and company is putting forth is that Asia is a varied culture in many ways including her music and ability to interpret music and dance.. As an artist, Junsu enjoys all types of music and dance genres, and I believe that he feels a need to express this. Interestingly, he has chosen an originally Greek, then Italian folk music dance form to present his point. The “bite’ of ‘Tarantallegra’ is music’s compelling, sinuous tentacles that entwine around our personalities and influence our lifestyles. Music and dance are both gifts from God. Use them wisely.  Loving You. Momma Cha

Caution: Imagery is not for children

credit: cherrysadas1

Momma’s Source: youtube

Editorial credit: Momma Cha @jyjfantalk

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