Soul-funk music, Monica Bellucci and birth of a woman

Music has always been a big part of my life. It’s a form of communication that I feel to the core of myself, and it makes me feel seen and heard when I can’t even understand what I’m feeling.

My latest song obsession is Jungle’s “Back on 74” from its latest album “Volcano.” With the funky soul tones of the song offset by demanding cowbells and dreamy choruses, the only thing better than the song itself is the music video. I didn’t realize how much I missed music videos, either — ones with a whole production like “Best Song Ever” by One Direction or Doja Cat’s “Streets.”

The only thing that makes this so much better is finding out it tells a story with the band’s songs where even the wardrobes are the same — such as in “Dominoes” and “I’ve Been In Love.” I haven’t seen this level of continuity and telling of one major story per album since Fall Out Boy’s “The Young Blood Chronicles” for their “Save Rock and Roll” album.

What makes a music video good, though? Does it have to abide by the theme of the song? Does it have to be super expensive and in-your-face? Should it highlight the artist or a story? Should the clothes be flashy and expensive or neutral and complementary? I believe it is up to the artist and their vision for the song — but as a consumer, a big part is wardrobe (unsurprisingly for me).

In “Back on 74,” the wardrobe was key in keeping up the ’60s and ’70s vibes of the song. With the energy of the angled, strong and hypnotizing choreography, the song was only further perfected by the flared pants, vibrant colors, hardware accents and that sweaty glow that is only achievable in movies.

My favorite part of the entire music video, though, is during the bridge when seven men are following a woman, each dancing and trying to win her attention. As she glides along in her Farrah Fawcett hair and impeccable black sequin bodysuit that kisses the light like snake scales, the scene reminds me of two film scenes where the main characters are followed in a similar fashion — by men head over heels in love (and lust).

The two movies are Malena (2000), starring Monica Bellucci, and Monica Vitti in L’Avventura (1960) (which was actually referenced in season two  of “The White Lotus”).

These two scenes have been such a big part of my womanhood for two reasons. First is the intensely classy European fashion worn in the films. The accentuated figures in subtle ways through the silhouettes of the items rather than tightness is so beautiful, as the bodies are implied rather than stated. It’s definitely been a big reason behind my discovery of Reformation in 2015 when I bought my first dress there, and part of my love for Paloma Wool, Khaite and Geel. Even Kendall Jenner channeled her inner Monica Bellucci at her sister Kourtney Kardashian’s wedding in Portofino, Italy by paying homage to Bellucci’s Dolce and Gabbana Cannes 1997 dress.

But the second, and most major reason, is the way the women carry themselves down the street. Being a woman is a scary thing — you never know what could happen, for what reason, at any given time or place. Nothing is guaranteed, and what’s worse is that excuses are still often chalked down to our choice of clothing for the day. But despite the gawks, whistles or glares in these scenes, both women carry on with astute self-respect, elegant modesty and awareness of their existence, effect and power.

Of course, maybe my love for these scenes and these women lies in their ties in my head to the same energies as Lana Del Rey and street lamps in cold and dark New England nights, but channeling these core values was crucial to helping me when I loved my outfit, but felt nervous wearing it in public.

Inspiration can strike from anywhere, anytime and from anyone, place, taste or sound. But what we do with it is how it impacts us. Building these connection networks only gives strength to the ideas that fill us with joy and confidence — so give those some extra love when you come across them. You never know how big the web can grow, or where it can take you next.

Hadyn Phillips is a junior writing about fashion in the 21st century, specifically spotlighting new trends and popular controversy. Her column, “That’s Fashion, Sweetie,” runs every Wednesday.

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