Rock music has always been interested in that which transgresses the boundaries of popular taste and deals with the kinky and subversive. From Kiss to Madonna, artists have been interested in wearing fetish clothes such as leather, rubber and PVC. However, often fetish or BDSM is used by artists as a metaphor for something else. In this article we look at two fetish songs that really aren’t so kinky after all.

2 Fetish songs that aren't really that kinky


Devo: Whip It


From Akron, Ohio, early 1980s new wave geeks Devo were known for their outlandish costumes and lyrics that subverted consumer ideologies and conformist behaviours. Devo’s fetish song ‘Whip It’ came with a video that featured the band wearing energy dome hats (which looked to most observers like inverted flowerpots) and brandishing whips. The theme of the video appeared to be obviously about BDSM. However, the song is not necessarily about this theme. Rather, lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh took the lyrics for Whip It from a series of motivational books and slogans from the last few decades. In short, Whip It is a metaphor for getting things done and perhaps in resisting the things that oppress us also. However, other critics have claimed that what Whip It is really about is masturbation! The plot thickens!

Depeche Mode: Master and Servant


Another early, 1980s, synthpop band, Depeche Mode were known for their sometimes overtly political lyrics. They also went through a very kinky phase, wearing black leather (sometimes skirts) and frequenting Berlin, the European home of fetish. In the early 1980s, they released the potential fetish song ‘Master and Servant’ which seemed to deal with themes of fetish and BDSM. The song’s lyrics exhorted the listener to ‘play’ Master and Servant and that ‘Domination is the name of the game’. The overt interpretation of the song was that it was about BDSM. However, on closer inspection the song’s lyrics revealed that what it was really about was the exploitative relations that exist in our everyday lives. Whether it is in terms of working, or household labour, the relations between individuals in real life are like those of BDSM. The lyrics go on to say ‘In bed, or in life, it’s all just the same’ and that is the message of the song – that in real life we are all either ‘Masters’ or ‘Servants’.

In music, as in other forms of art, what appears to be kinky overtly can also have a subversive undertone that can undermine the original meaning. However, everything is in the eye (or in this case the ear) of the beholder so if you think that either of these songs is really about kinky antics, then who are we to judge?

photo by Cyril via Flickr under a CC BY 2.0 license.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

0 comments

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoticons maximum are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



There are no comments to display.

BDSM Magazine