Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 86

example contains minimal background on each band’s country of origin in connection to their individualized concerns, outline lyrics from each example, 3 and include a representative screenshot from each video. While the trend in music videos tends toward performance (and nowadays, dance), European bands tend to have film directors make mini-movies to go along with big releases; the videos presented here reflect that European type of production, enabling bands to develop narrative layers to their songs in ways that the audio tracks alone might not equal. The first example offered here is Finnish Goth-rock band The 69 Eyes. Last year they released their eleventh album, Universal Monsters; “Jet Fighter Plane” was the first single from the album. This is unusual fare for this particular band – it is their only political song, in an oeuvre otherwise fairly narrow and personal. The lyrics are openly critical of the destructive policies of the Cold War era. While in the West, memories of the Cold War and bomb shelter drills have largely been relegated to the “the distant past” – although perhaps January’s Hawaii missile launch warning is a perfect example of the ongoing international tensions are again at the forefront of global relations – international tensions in Eastern Europe have remained relatively steady. In fact, the decline of the Cold War in the West has been mirrored by a military resurgence of Russian Federation forces all over Eastern Europe, particularly in the last decade. Nordic and Baltic states keep a wary eye on Russian military exercises and games, and on Russia’s support of separatist movements (i.e., Crimea, Ukraine). Finland just celebrated its 100th anniversary as an independent nation – governed by Sweden from the 13th century, it became a Grand Duchy in the Russia Empire following the Finnish War (Feb. 1808 – Sept. 1809); in Nov. 1917, when the Bolsheviks declared the right of self-determination for the peoples of Russia, the Finnish Parliament immediately issued a declaration of independence, voted on and approved by parliament less than a month later. In recent years, the anxiety over Russia’s frequently aggressive foreign policy has encouraged the Baltics and Finland to ramp up their defenses; in January 2017, 4,500 U.S. soldiers arrived in Poland as part of a NATO operation to reassure its Eastern European allies. In March 2017, the Swedish government decided to reintroduce military conscription—4,000 men and women will be called up for service starting January first, 2018 (BBC). Citing “[t]he Russian illegal annexation of Crimea [in 2014], the conflict in 3 Because of the complicated and restrictive process of securing permission to reprint song lyrics, I’ll discuss the tone and content of the lyrics without quoting them here, and link to the full lyrics available online. 86