Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 85

about Cold War politics and atomic destruction, and argues that historical film footage is playing an ever-more important role in musicians’ ability to articulate those anxieties through visual rhetoric. A bit of background on the methodological approaches to visual culture studies: Gillian Rose’s Visual Methodologies, first published in 2001, is an early sketch of approaches to what social scientists termed “visual culture,” and articulates the various approaches to studying (what were then) non-traditional texts. The modalities Rose articulates comprise the technological, compositional, and social; the social, which refers to the range of social, economic, and political relations, institutions, and practices that surround an image and through which an image is viewed and used, allows for close readings of visual texts. 2 Additionally, Rose consigns film, television and video into the “compositional” interpretation, citing Monaco’s vocabulary framework for describing spatial and temporal organization of moving images, distinguishing between mise-en-scene and montage (48). This last category – montage – and discuss the way musicians enhance their songs through the incorporation of nuclear imagery, and to underscore the heightened anxiety and fear of annihilation that presently haunts the social commentary of these artists. The music of the late 1960s and early 1970s engaged the Vietnam War. In the early 1980s, the Cold War’s apex had countries on edge anticipating nuclear holocaust. Nena’s 1983 smash hit “99 Luftballoons” is a prime example of the anxiety reflected in popular music; Rush’s “Distant Early Warning,” and Iron Maiden’s “Two Minutes to Midnight” appeared the following year, highlighting the ongoing social anxiety of the arms race and its potential to annihilate Western world. The social apprehension of nuclear devastation is directly reflected in the music of the time; recent releases suggest that contemporary bands are also concerned global events and dangers as well. In an age of globa l terrorism, separatist groups acquiring nukes on the black market, and a rapid deterioration in international relations, particularly between the West and the East, Middle East, and Asia, respectively, it is easy to understand this resurgent anxiety. Many recent videos make use of this same 1980s-style imagery (as well as the post-apocalyptic landscape) to trumpet warnings about the dangers of technology and globalization. Several examples presented in this essay play on this anxiety, and have been chosen solely for their geographic diversity. Each 2 Rose, Gillian. Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching Visual Materials. 4th Ed. SAGE Publications, 2016. p. 17. 85