Monday, April 7, 2008

"Approximate list of foreign music groups and artists whose repertoires contain ideologically harmful compositions"

January, 1985 Directive from the Ukrainian KOMSOMOL, as cited in Alexei Yurchak, Everything was Forever, Until it Was No More. New York: Princeton, 2006, p215.

(Group Name: Type of Propaganda)
1. Sex Pistols: punk, violence
2. B-52s: punk, violence
3. Madness: punk, violence
4. Clash: punk, violence
5. Stranglers: punk, violence
6. Kiss: neofascism, punk, violence
7. Crocus: violence, cult of strong personality
8. Styx: violence, vandalism
9. Iron Maiden: violence, religious obscuritanism
10: Judas Priest: anticommunism, racism
11. AC/DC: neofascism, violence
12. Sparks: neofascism, racism
13. Black Sabbath: violence, religious obscuritanism
14. Alice Cooper: violence, vandalism
15. Nazareth: violence, religious mysticism
16: Scorpions: violence
17. Gengis Khan: anticommunism, nationalism
18. UFO: violence
19. Pink Floyd (1983): distorstion of Soviet foreign policy ("Soviet agression in Afghanistan")***
20. Talking Heads: myth of the Soviet military threat
21. Perron: eroticism
22. Bohannon: eroticism
23. Originals: sex
24. Donna Summer: eroticism
25. Tina Turner: sex
26. Junior English: sex
27. Canned Heat: homosexuality
28. Munich Machine: eroticism
29. Ramones: punk
30. Van Halen: anti-soviet propaganda
31. Julio Iglesias: neofascism
32. Yazoo: punk, violence
33. Depeche Mode: punk, violence
34. Village People: violence
35. Ten CC: neofascism
36. Stooges: violence
37. Boys: punk, violence
38. Blondie: punk, violence

***NB: The list refers specifically to the song "Get Your Filthy Hands off My Desert" from The Final Cut, which includes the lyric "Brezhnev took Afghanistan" in the midst of a laundry list of Western imperial conquests of the early 1980s. Other albums, such as The Dark Side of the Moon, and The Wall were reviewed favorably in the Soviet monthly Krugozor, and described as 'perfectly antibourgeois.' (Yurchak, 217-17)


pH said...

i think the cliche is that it wasn't the nuclear arms race, but blue jeans and rock 'n' roll that killed the soviet union. but what happens when the former soviets actually get rock 'n' roll?

so what we have here is a soviet kitsch band from the only country to have militarily defeated a Soviet invasion, performing with the Red Army Choir a song about America as homeland. to make matters worse, this was done in 1994 at the MTV music awards. to make matters worse, the Leningrad Cowboys are like Spinal Tap: they are a fictional band from the 1989 Finnish film "Leningrad Cowboys Go America" which wikipedia describes as a "road movie by Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki about the adventures of a fictional Russian rock band (the Leningrad Cowboys, played by the Finnish rock band Sleepy Sleepers) that goes to the United States to become famous."

where to begin to peel away the layers?

first of all there are several levels of nostalgia going on: the nostalgia for the American south of lynard skynard, the nostalgic imaging of the USSR by the Finnish performers and American audience, and then of course the nostalgia for the USSR FROM the USSR in the RAC. is the Leningrad Cowboy's costumes further is 1950's rock imagery (outrageous pompidous) combined with late 1980's extravagance in 1994 (though the 80's is probably not periodized enough for the fashion to be nostalgic with respect to the 1980's, but just a trademark that is at this point only 5 years old).

who is all this nostalgia for? all three groups must relate to the soviet nostalgia differently, as well as at the american nostalgia differently. i can't track it right now, but i thought i'd leave it to a post-soviet specialist like you.

also you and kotch and all this shit about blogs made me start one. i've posted a lot of pre-existing writing on it so far.
check it

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