Earlier this year, we here at The Giggs put our money on BØRNS as a potential breakout artist. He’s been gathering acclaim and fans off his spring tour with MisterWives, and has just released the video for pop confection, “Electric Love”.
BØRNS’ dreamy, feminine voice and trendy, androgynous style have come to define him as an artist, and led me to hope that he would be able to spearhead a new sort of genderfuck performance as an alt/indie-pop musician. But Garrett Borns let me down.
The video for “Electric Love” is satisfyingly neon and sparkly (for those glitter addicts among us) with a stunningly detailed animation in the latter half depicting BØRNS falling through an intergalactically psychedelic pit of feminine imagery: lips, hearts, and, what is that I see? Oh, of course. Womens legs opening and closing, with a stellar view of the vagina. The first thing we see in the music video are the women as “backup dancers”, prancing around like sprites in their white, fringe-laden crop tops and shorts.The blacklight used to illuminate the women, however, lights up their boobs and butts, leaving them faceless. Furthermore, the camera focuses more on their derrières than anything else. The accumulation of unnecessary camera shots of the women’s bums is, well, unnecessary, and irritating. The overall effect is an effacement of the identity of these women, all the while highlighting i.e. *objectifying* their sexuality. “Electric Love” is a song about an enchanting woman who lights a spark in the singer’s heart; in fact, the singer finds himself subject to her power: “Drown me/ You make my heart beat like the rain/ Surround me/ Hold me deep beneath your waves”, he pleads. So, one may ask, what is the purpose of using the female body as passive décor in this video, whereas the woman is clearly an active character in the lyrics? Damned if I know. You can chock this one up to another case of “sex sells” in the music industry, an instance of using the female body as a site of “beauty” in order to draw attention to a product. Or you could even blame it on the visionaries – “Ben & Ross” of Bullion production – who filtered these women through the male gaze with their direction and filming.
Unfortunately, the video for “Electric Love” would’ve been just as effective and visually stimulating – and probably more streamlined – if it simply focused on BØRNS as the glitter god he is instead of sexually exploiting the backup dancers around him and painting him as a desirous sex symbol. I expect more from Garrett Borns, someone who, until now, has not ascribed to a dominating, heteronormative masculinity as the force or PR tool behind his music and image.