Friday, July 2, 2021

Love is a Battlefield -- Down the Rabbit Hole #1

Sometimes, when a song gets stuck in your head, there's only one way to exorcise it.  Turn it into a research project:

The opening shot depicts a runaway  -- OK, Pat Benatar is thirty years old, but nevermind --  A cop siren followed by a snare drum.  90 bpm.  A bus coming in from Jersey.  Pat's on the back of the bus, eyes closed, and she's talking her way through the intro:

We are young
Heartache to heartache
We stand
No promises
No demands
Love is a battlefield

Flashback.  Her Dad chasing her out of the house shouting, "you leave this house can just forget about coming back."  This is the first time that dialogue is used in a music video.  Her Mom looks shocked, clasping her hands together, covering her wedding ring.  Nice touch.

Pat waves goodbye to her younger brother at an upstairs window.  She hits the road.  Cut to:  New York City.  She's walking the Mean Streets. Probably 7th or 8th Ave.  At exactly 1:06, as she strides past a peep show, a hustler spots the camera and turns his back.  

A series of shots.  Port Authority/8th Ave Subway station/Her Dad's grocery store in Jersey

 ...And then BOOM!  Union Square.  A cluster of genuine New York 1980's freaks.

Cut.  Night.  She's walking up the stairs to the Satin Ballroom.  This used to be a topless "dime-a-dance" joint, but everybody is fully clothed and the dancers look more like something from a Weimar burlesque.

2:06.  We're introduced to the bad guy, choreographer and dancer, Gary Chryst.   This is how pimps ought to look and dress.  Black shirt, white waistcoat and a tan coloured jacket.  Don't forget the gold tooth.

At 2:42, she writes home and we see her brother reading the letter.  He falls back on his bed and dreams of the city.

3:03.  The second burst of dialogue when one of the dancers shakes off Chryst and screams, "Leave me alone!!"  --  This initiates the confrontation between Benatar and Chryst.

3:20.   The Michael Peters Choreography kicks in.  An Amazonian war dance.   You can see the resemblance between this and the work he did in Thriller, also 1983.  Eleven years later he will die from an AIDS related illness.

3:43.  That great choppy rhythm guitar kicks in and sits on top of the snare.

4:08.  Chryst and Benatar face-off in dance.  She throws a glass of water in his face and leads the other women out into the street where they dance towards a new day and a sunrise.  Except that's the West side/Hudson River.   So it's sunset, but let's not quibble.

Alright.  That's out of the system.  Time to get back and finish writing this goddamn book.

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