Tag Archives: Gabriella Cilmi Malabu Strings

On a Mission by Gabriella Cilmi: a takedown

One of my rather more vicious posts for The Samosa from way back in 2010. I figured I needed to do something to keep this barely breathing blog alive. Normal service should hopefully resume shortly…

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When I first received a link to the video for Gabriella
Cilmi’s On a Mission, I thought it
would be funny (ha) to write a post on this embarrassing excuse for a pop song.
This disgustingly infectious track has now polluted my head for one long,
tawdry week and so it is with immense relief that I expel this track from my
iPod never to be heard again. 
Its beginning is deceptively promising. A growling bassline thumps
under tinny artificial percussion which gives way to a thumping 4/4 beat and
fabulous Pointer Sisters’ synths. Sadly, Cilmi has the kind of foghorn voice
last seen terrorising people in the form of Anastasia. Consequently, not even a
half-hearted funky guitar lead-in can save the graceless, ugly chorus. 
The lyrics are from the same diabolical faux-feminist
rhetoric as Destiny’s Child Independent
and Beyonce’s Diva and Single Ladies (can you spot a common
denominator here), in which women should be extra-proud if they pay for their
own things, walk all over people, and then sneer at their ex-boyfriends for not
marrying them as they shake their booty in that sorry dawg’s face. However,
while Beyonce has the excuse of making decent music, Gabriella

Not that it really matters, as Gabriella has her thoughts
on far higher things, being as she is “a
woman, on a mission (whoah-oooh-oooh)
”.  These are the kind of inspiring mantras you’d
find on a discontinued Davina McCall workout video. 

The video is a graveyard for ghosts of music-video gimmicks.
Its weird outer-space setting is like the freakish lovechild of Jennifer
Lopez’s Play and The Darkness’s I Believe in a Thing Called Love – two
videos I had mercifully forgotten until now. Cilmi appears as a sexy astronaut,
a sexy mythic deity, a sexy cartoon character, a sexy sheer-suited
something-or-other, a sexy self-referential video of her sexy self, a sexy disco
chick, a sexy goth warrior queen and a sexy pop princess. 

As if that weren’t
enough clich├ęs for one video, we also get girls performing chorus-line moves,
girls dancing in water, girls in bikini and underwear combinations, lots of
vague, utterly pointless repeated symbols, some blink-and-you’ll-miss-it
animation, an offensive amount of poorly-executed bluescreen, and some
cost-cutting recycling of footage you’ve already watched. 

Best of all, the
dancing appears to have been choreographed by Reeves and Mortimer. I would
especially like to draw your attention to the peculiar breast wiggling and
torso bending at 00:24-00:26, the bizarre tit-turning at 00:37 while dressed
like a dominatrix version of the Daft Punk swimmers, Cilmi’s comely flash of
her bosoms as if to prove that, yes, she really IS a woman, at 00:47, the
lovely bikini-charleston at 00:50 and the amazing dislocated-dance-wobble at
01:04. As we come to the end of the first chorus, Gabriella’s cheerful little
skip at 01:08 is doubtless a reverential nod to Monty Python. And that’s just the
opening third. 

Thus continues more of the same depressing, derivative,
unimaginative trip…and then, just when you thought things couldn’t get any
more degrading, there’s a rap. 
Yes. A rap.