Charles O’Brien helps launch the new First Choice section focusing on our writers’ favorite things.
“Twenty-Something” is the third track on Pet Shop Boys’ latest cd, Super. You can find it on YouTube in a few different versions. The two most obvious go-to versions are the “official video” and one remix. The “official video” is a b&w short about a gangbanger in San Diego, fresh out of the joint and trying desperately to adjust to the world. It’s about as efficient a short narrative as you’re likely to see, and as an illustration of these lyrics, not what you’d be likely to expect. The remix, audio only, is called the dj Giac Decadent City (words from the song) remix. It’s not one of those remixes that supplant the original. If you had to pick, though…It breaks up the song, minor-key electronica plus a reggaeton beat, with passages from the Klaus Nomi/G. F. Händel “Cold Song'”(familiar from À Nos Amours, but put to better use here).
The best version, though, is the Carreta Furacão video. Shot on a Brazilian street with what looks like a first-generation smartphone, a cheap one, it shows a group of “cartoon characters” dancing to the Pets. But where the Times Square Goofies actually look like their prototypes, these are barely recognizable, disturbingly so. The group dances, individual members dance, and a trenzinho, a train that could have appeared in early 80’s video game hurries along. Best of all is one female dancer, “Magaly Dançarina” (Tássia Nascimento Gomes), ungainly and perfect, like Baudelaire’s swan, if that had a happy outcome. The whole thing looks like one of those installations at the Whitney, if those were worth looking at. In Brazil, these people are national treasures. Here…one has only to see them.
There’s hope after all.
Addendum: A (sudden) copyright claim makes viewing the “Twenty-Something” Curreta Furacao video problematic in many locations. Take a shot here, but we’ve added another CF video which captures the flavor O’Brien evokes above as well as a brief Brazilian report on the dancer, “Magaly Dançarina,” which displays her moves. Forgive any teases!!