The “symbols” in George Michael’s “White Light” video
Back in the early 90s, George Michael walked into the corporate office of Sony Music and informed the executives there that he did not intend to appear in any of his music videos for his sophomore album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1”. I can just about imagine the expressions of shock on the faces of the executives at Sony Music when George Michael made his decision. Why wouldn’t they be shocked? George Michael was not only one of their best audio assets, but he was undoubtedly one of their best video assets.
Basic objectivity would suggest that in addition to his inherent musical talent, George Michael definitely had a face for television. That face had more than a little to do with George Michael quickly becoming one of the few undisputed poster-children of MTV’s heyday. He had (and still does) a raw magnetism that lured the viewer towards his music videos and left them begging for more. More importantly, his music videos were slick works of art (a few of them featuring supermodels that defined an entire era of fashion) that have transcended time and are still looked upon as musical milestones for the art form of the music video. The only mildly frustrating aspect for me, and probably intriguing for most people that watched George Michael’s videos was the fact that they were almost always riddled with symbols – many of which I still do not get. Noteworthy examples include every bit of “Spinning The Wheel”, the word “Fony” on the headphones in ‘Fast Love” (this was an easy symbolism to decipher), and the fickle behavior of the model in “Father Figure”.
In recent years, George Michael has stayed away from symbols and has made music videos that are very mainstream and not exactly groundbreaking. That being said, his most recent video for his new single “White Light” goes back to the tradition of symbols that constituted his video trademark for years. I will honestly admit to not understanding most of what is going on in the video.
Why is there a zebra in the video?
What is Kate Moss doing in the video and what is her coin toss at the end supposed to signify?
George Michael drops a glass of water. It hits the floor and then lands in the hands of a male child with a very stern expression.
Who is the man that walks amidst the dancers towards the end? He is seen earlier in the music video wearing a police uniform. Where does he fit in?
Why is Kate Moss driving through what seems like a forest at the beginning of the video?
The song itself showcases dramatic contrasts wherein the verses sound ominous but the chorus is celebratory. The music video for “White Light” reflects that contrast quite well but it still leaves a fair share of questions.
I encourage George Michael fans to comment on this post and offer your views on some of the questions posed above. For those of you that you have not watched the video for “White Light”, here it is:
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