My friend-I've-never-met Gordon Lewis (and we should do something about that someday, Gordon) sent me a link the other day, wondering idly if perhaps photography needed an updated anthem now that Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" is as outdated as—well, Kodachrome. It was a song called "Bad Self Portraits" by a band I'd never heard of called Lake Street Dive.
Unfortunately, Lake Street Dive are not the only ones who've been busy penning songs about selfies. In return, I inflicted on Gordon a considerably less listenable song that I'd happened across while roving the radio band in the car a few days ago. I managed to find it online—turns out it's by a group called The Chainsmokers, and it's titled "#SELFIE."
Although fun in a kind of appalling way (it's satire), #SELFIE is mildly toxic music-product that might possibly damage your brain. I recommend proceeding with caution here.
A little more searching turned up an aspiring chanteuse called Nina Nesbitt, who has a song called "Selfies." And then—I almost hesitate to name this—I stumbled into the pit of "Me So Selfie" by "Tim Fite and Bonaparte." This is a bit beyond toxic—more like carcinogenic. :-) Do not listen! Brain damage can occur. (I kid. Although a page about it promises it could cure young people of taking selfies altogether, an idea which admittedly has appeal.)
All in all, with apologies to Gordon, I'd say photography is still waiting for its up-to-date two-thousand-teens anthem.
...But speaking of music, if you're a Zep fan (as most White Guys of a Certain Age are), check out a cover of "Ramble On" I stumbled across by a band called Redeye Empire. Love it.
Supposed to be reggae-tinged, although I think that's arguable. But an interesting new (but not too new) arrangement of an old favorite. This video had 322 views at the time of embedding, so I'm assuming this is not popular.
...And then speaking of selfies, recognize this young man?
General Colin L. Powell posted it on his Facebook page four days ago, along with this message (apparently addressed to Ellen Degeneres): "Throwback Thursday—I was doing selfies 60 years before you Facebook folks. Eat your heart out Ellen!"
The link came from William Barnett-Lewis, who says, "I love the old Kodak Signet 35 he's holding. Nice little rangefinder even if a bit limited in lens (44mm ƒ/3.5) and shutter (maximum speed 1/300th). According to Camerapedia, it was an expensive little toy—sold for $95 (app. $810 USD in 2007 dollars). Rather like a nice new Micro 4/3 kit would cost these days...."
Finally, I want to add this: I've listened to the song "Carnival" at least 50 times over many years (it came out 19 years ago!!) and love it to death, but I'd never once seen the video before reader Howard Linton sent me the link the other day. I guess it makes this the street photographer's anthem, for sure.
(Thanks to Gordon, William, and Howard)
UPDATE from Gordon Lewis: "For what it's worth, I doubt there will ever be a new 'Kodachrome,' either literally or symbolically. One of the things that made Paul Simon's 'Kodachrome' so special was that underneath the bubbly froth of the rhythm and outro ('Mama don't take my Kodachrome, Mama don't take my Kodachrome...') was a clever metaphor that contrasted the negativity of the singer's life ('When I look back on all the crap I learned in high school') with the positivity of using Kodachrome in a Nikon camera. The fact that Kodachrome, unlike black-and-white, was a positive (i.e. slide) film only added to the cleverness. 'Bad Self Portraits,' the tune I turned Mike on to, isn't anywhere near as classic but at least it hints at how artists use cameras as a form of self-expression.
"As for the fact that I now find myself humming the melody (if you can call it that) to '#SELFIE,' all I can say is, I'll get even Mike. I'll get even."
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
robert e: "Well, Mike and Gordon, for your listening pleasure (or terror), there's a dubious list of songs 'about photography' on Wikipedia. (many of which have little to do with photography). There seems to be much overlap with this YouTube playlist. I've only scratched the surface, but I was pleased to revisit (via youtube) Blondie's 'Picture This' and Johnny Cash's 'Send A Picture of Mother,' and pleasantly surprised by the Kinks' 'People Take Pictures of Each Other' (anti-selfie anthem, anyone?). But as loose as the criteria seem to be, there's much missing, too, such as The Pretenders' 'Back On The Chain Gang,' or 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love.'"
Paul: "Re 'Carnival': I want to get a Leica and shoot blurry, off-kilter pictures. I'm not joking. I really do."
Dave in NM: "OK. You want a selfie song? How about a song that talks about a selfie done with B&W film? 'Are You Happy Now' by Richard Shindell."