This is an interesting article on how some music journalists try so hard not to love George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in Wham!, but fails (who are they kidding, the boys were lovable!) The article “Sugarcoated Wham! gives perfection a run for its money” was written by Debbie del Condo for Orlando Sentinel on 28 April 1985.
Take a look at Whaml’s latest video, for “Everything She Wants,” and see if you don’t think George Michael’s hair is just a little blonder, his face a little okay, a lot tanner, and his teeth a little whiter (is this possible?) than in previous Wham! videos.
Then check out Michael’s teammate, Andrew Ridgeley, and see if you don’t think his nose is just a little more button-shaped, his hair a little straighter, and his closeups a little more soft-focused than in previous Wham! videos. They are so cute, these Cabbage Patch Kids of pop music. They seem to be on a cosmetic quest for stardom.
It’s working, too. Their prettified faces fill the pages of fan magazines. Their hummable tunes fill the airwaves.
And now their goopy videos are filling my television screen.
I don’t know what it is about these videos. They’re goopy, but I like them. It’s sort of a weakness, an embarrassing craving, that lets me watch these sugar-coated jobs and be sucked in by them.
I wasn’t sure for the first couple of viewings of “Everything She Wants” if these guys were pulling my leg or what. The video is a pastiche of glorified closeups of the two pretty boys, swirling panoramas of zillions of frenzied girls at a Wham! concert, a bedroom scene, and a shot of a hand catching falling money.
Nothing wrong with that. But then there’s a massive roar superimposed onto the song a squeal track, if you will. It’s dubbed over to remind us that we are watching an enormously popular Wham! concert even though the song we’re hearing is the studio version.
Do these guys think they’re the Beatles? Sure, girls squeal at their concerts, but why did the videomakers feel they had to supply the sound effects?
Not only that, the concert footage we’re watching is actually a fusion of two Wham! concerts, spliced together to give us the best parts.
And then there are those glistening hazy shots of the two cute faces, so self-consciously gorgeous that they have to be a parody, right?
A parody of what, I’m not exactly sure. Of Wham!, I guess.
I thought this video was a spoof on fame, a five-minute docu-satire on what it’s like to make it big.
Nah, these guys mean it. This video is actually the perfect Wham! video: glitzy, contrived and gorgeous. The squeal track is applied like makeup to a surgically improved video face. The lighting is angelically gauzy in the studio-taped segments, and the carefully chosen concert segments are shown in euphoric, hypnotic slow motion.
The effect is cosmetically induced Whamlania. And, dadgum it, it works on me. I like watching the video, much the same way I like smelling Chanel No. 5: It’s shamefully floral, but it’s addictive.
To be fair, the video happens to be pretty well-made, manipulative goopi-ness notwithstanding. The black-and-white videography is good-looking, with rich contrast and ephemeral lighting. The editing is decent and well-paced, intercutting concert scenes with studio-made conceptual shots.
I wonder what’s underneath all the fluff, though? Ah, who cares, I love the fluff. I just wish I could get the Wham!-Packaging Task Force to make my video.
- Wham! You’re On Your Own, George (Sunday Times, 1986)
- George Michael: The Reluctant Pop Star (Calendar Magazine, Sept 1990)
- George Michael Interview in The Face (August 1985)
- George Michael Interview on Q Magazine (June 1988)
- George Michael Interview in Blitz Magazine (June 1988)