Robin (GB, 6/10/03): I
took... Pixeleen to be a movie, possibly along
the line of the Final
Fantasy movie -- with a totally computer-created cyber character.
is with the noodle shop??? The Roppongi reference -- a Japanese
red-light district? The bogs of Jersey -- a nod from Donald?
luckless pedestrian (GB,
said he loved the tokyo/japanese comic book reference as well
in pixeleen - brought us back 2 years from now when we traversed by
those skeevy but clean and happy comic book and video game shops in
tokyo, music blasting out the front door - bright neon moving signs -
it's all there... as well as a red light district in
tokyo there is also an electronics district that's really a hoot to
walk through.... just about every street corner has this
strange video/comic book/video game/cyber-everything outlets....now the
song makes perfect sense
Steveedan (GB, 6/10/03): Pixelene - equals Tank Girl, Tomb Raider, any Japanese super hero nymphet
Blaise (Blue Book, 6/11/03): You're right about
one thing, Pixelene is Lara Croft or better yet, a young Angelina
Jolie. Which would explain the "as if boyfriend" (Billy Bob Thornton)
and the stupid father (Jon Voigt) references in there.
Fits like a good old go go boot.
enimen (GB, 6/11/03): Pixeleen is Negative Girl three years later, and is Peg 25 years later. The girl whose appearance is her soul (or at least so it appears to her male observer). Ogling and worshipping are one.
angel (Blue Book, 6/11/03): Pixeleen is a teenager. No video
game character. She is in a fantasy world and then she gets interupted
by things like her cell phone ringing or her pager going off and she is
brought back to harsh reality. Be home at 10 - again, or her as/if
boyfriend Randal trying to get her and interupting her video game
Bookworm (GB, 6/11/03): Just a thought re Pixeleen - given
SD's and William Gibson's mutual
appreciation, perhaps the inspiration for the character comes from his
book All Tomorrow's Parties which as aficionados will know features a
certain Rei Toei, the idoru - beatiful girl, virtual icon, post-human
DACW (GB, 6/11/03): ...there is some Gibson in there.
Check out the first 30 pages of Count
Zero...some of the best prose ever written - sounds like Donald...
oleander (GB, 6/11/03): Bookworm:
BINGO!! I was thinking exactly that. Where do all
these people think Lara Croft, Kim Possible, et al. came from? I would
argue they largely grew out of "Neuromancer." Molly Millions was the
original cyberpunk girl samurai. This song feels like an hommage a
Gibson. Actually, the Idoru started out in "Idoru" and made another
appearance in "All Tomorrow's Parties." In "Idoru," one member of a
band suspiciously reminiscent of Steely Dan falls in love with an A.I.
construct, Rei Toei, the idoru. (Steely refs abound in this book.)
There already have been computer-generated girl pop entities in Japan;
Rei Toei is on a whole nother technological level. Much intrigue ensues
with respect to nanotech, love with the abstract, fandom, stardom,
theft, Japanese cultural weirdnesses, etc. But what I think Pixeleen
has to do with it is: what if Rei Toei had been a teenager? What could
she have been like? If she were a teenager now, as opposed to '96, when
the book was released, I think she'd be a lot like Pixeleen. A regular
adolescent with parents, pager, and cell, but able to do or be
literally anything, informed with video gaming, Western culture, and
action movies. And talk about bankable! Thus the movie chat.... There
is a big scene, in "Neuromancer" I think, where Molly does this
gladiator thing on a catwalk in a warehouse. And in Gibson, somebody is
always landing in Roppongi and getting in trouble, most recently Cayce
in "Pattern Recognition."
DACW (GB, 6/11/03): Ole: When the iteration swings around, notice the mobius striptease
"Medicine for the Blues" becomes "Medicine Park" on Blues Beach
and on Pixeleen the blur between realility and virtuality of the ultrateen model computer videogame (penned by a hack in the Palisades) or comic book teen hip heroine cum movie spy Laura Croft/Charlie's Angels meets Power Puff Girls sensation causes a clever lyric scramble...filmed in digital video - so editing and mergin ultracool special effects by Final Cut Pro or another program is a breeze...definitely a brunette...the film makes a short run and now is on DVD-V at Blockbuster...
Born in the bogs of New Jersey
Trained how to love and spy hard
Dropped on the strees of Roppongi
Soaked through on the floor of a noodle shop..."
[a dropped comic book lies under a ebb mini tide?]
Born on the floor of a noodle shop
Dropped in the bogs of Jersey
Shot by a guy from Columbia
Soaked through all in digital video..."
Roy.Scam (GB, 6/12/03): Technology is just as good as reality. Hell, it's better. If the movie panders to youth, has enough proven successful gimmicks, and a catchy theme song, we won't need real people or real life. Show Biz Kids are now running the studio.
Clas (GB, 6/14/03): Pixeleen - she's the female Indiana Jones.
bway Steve (Blue Book, 6/17/03): Have you noticed that after a few choruses of Pixeleen the top third of your body starts to disappear or possibly merge with the room ? What's with that? It like evaporates, except when Lunch with Gina rolls around you have a body again.
John (Blue Book, 6/17/03): "noodle shop"... Child labor? (I'm just free-associating here, don't mind me.)
Delia (Blue Book, 6/18/03): Abu, Re: "soaked through on the floor of a noodle shop" I think it refers to him eating at a Asian restaurant and the concept of Pixeleen came to him almost by osmosis.
Man with no face (6/18/03):
Re: Soaked through. If Pixeleen is a manga/graphic novel/comicbook, she
could be both literally "dropped on the streets...",
and "soaked thru on the floor...". A noodle shop being the asian
of fast food. I'm sure they have plenty of them in Hawaii.
This is becoming one of my favorite songs on EMG both musically and lyrically. I love the way that it can be interpreted differently based on who the narrator is and who the various points of view are coming from, One can come up with a huge cast of characters to voice the lines, each one adding information for the next interpretation of the lyrics. For example, in verses one and two what if its a teenage girl playing a computer game, and its her cellphone that rings and her pager that goes off, not Pixeleen's. The narrator is a teenage boy (Freddy), smitten with the young lady (and perhaps the character Pixeleen too) and its above his garage that they play. Unfortunately, all she wants to do is "cut to the chase" (in the game, meaning restore it to a certain point that she likes playing). So Pixeleen is a comic book, a computer game (which would explain being shot in all digital for a million and change) and a big budget movie screened at Sundance. Thus she's "three times perfect".
DACW (Blue Book,
Delia: I like it....that has a very-Gibson like stream... The narrator
seems to convey mentor-like qualities. Either he is
real-life writer/producer or possibly another character like the
on Power Puff Girls "stepping out of the box," which has become more of
a common narrative hip trcik common in cartoons, first sued effectively
by Bugs Bunny abd the Looney Tunes gang.
"...dancing in the video with gun and tambourine..."
here, the versatile and ultra modern hip Josie and the Pussycats thing...a hybrid virtual cartoon character indistinguishable visually from the real thing...PIXAR in 5 years...
Man with no face (Blue Book, 6/18/03): Re: the tambourine. If the line is voiced by the unnamed studio exec being pitched the movie version of Pixeleen, he's just cynically netting it out to contrast with some other character's (Freddie?) reality-lines-blurred view of it. The movie is just a "girl in girlie trouble" and the requisite MTV music video from the movie (strictly for the profit maximizing marketing purposes the exec is already thinking of) is Pixeleen dancing with gun and tambourine. Why tambourine? I don't know. Because Pixeleen would look sexy? Because she would appear to be part of the band in the video, thus making them look cooler to the teen market and increasing sales? Because it evokes some kind of 1960's Girl from U.N.C.L.E. vibe? (The Slate article makes an interesting point about the Nightfly connection in which Donald reminisces about a future "Symmetrical and clean"). Because it rhymes with "clean"? Anyway, its interesting that the song goes off in a different direction musically, they voice the cynical character (or the realist), then go back to the chorus.
Mitch (Blue Book,
Another thought on Pixeleen:
How about this? Freddy (the narrator) is pitching a new movie character that is a cross between the chick on "Alias" and the movie "Spy Kids". There's your high level pitch right there - "It's Alias meets Spy Kids!"
(In fact, I think this movie has kind of been made already with a boy in the lead - "Agent Cody Banks.")
This way, the father calling and the boyfriend paging are actually things that are happening while Pixy is hanging onto the train for dear life in a Catholic school girl ensemble. It's kind of an adventure comedy - a popcorn flick for teens and skeevy older guys.
Verse 1 he's pitching it.
Verse 2 he's directing the lead. (In fact, the line "Better keep it real - or whatever" is the director trying to use the parlance of the young demographic.) Carolyn's parts are coming from outside the pitch (with the exception of the bridge). Kind of an omnipotent narrator calling this movie what it is - high concept summer-movie schlock.
The third half-verse confirms my thoughts, I think:
This is what I see
Just a girl in girlie trouble
Dancing in the video with gun and tambourine
He's pitching the video-cross over for MTV to promote the movie.
Bill (BlueBook, 6/19/03): Mitch, I'm with ya, except that there's lots of computer-gaming tie-ins involved, too and I still think that the "this is what I see" section is the reaction of the studio exec - cynical (just a girl in girly trouble) and opportunistic (dancing in the video, etc.) Carolyn is the Greek Chorus commenting on the scholckiness of it all.
Rajah of Erase (Blue Book, 6/19/03): I think you're right on with Pixy but those lines "this is what I see..." I get an image of a studio boss or whoever this thing is being pitched to, standing up - he has to have huge eyeglasses on, don't know why, he's lanky, gauky, kinda like Don but of course he's a complete idiot and all he can visualize after that onslaught of action imagery is Pixy mincing around with gun and tamborine.
Mitch (Blue Book, 6/19/03): I am thinking the video game comes later because there really are no video game references nor computer references in the song.
Rajah of Erase (Blue Book, 6/19/03): Well, "cyberqueen" seems to imply the virtual world, but I mean the way things go today, it's like, what comes first the video game or the movie? Lara Croft and that whole crew. The pitch is like looking at a story board.
Man With No Face (Blue Book, 6/19/03): No computer references? "Pixel" is pretty much a information technology term. Computer games are shot in digital video so the visuals can be easily manipulated.
KMITB (Blue Book,
Verse one He's playing the game and seeing the potential of the
in the game making a good action flick. I think maybe three-times
ultrateen refers to the number of lives you usually get in a game. And
a lot of times the number is on the screen to let you know how many is
left like 3X.
Verse two He is directing...maybe in his head....maybe on the set ...how the scene will go. Abu rams the clip, is upon the catwalk....Pixel...you whip the knife from your go-go boot. Camera....we get a nice shot of her thigh. Pixel, your pager goes off and you have the look of disgust because it's your as-if boyfriend Randall...you don't have time to talk with this bozo. ect, ect, ect.
Then we get a sense that maybe our director/gamer guy has a flashback to when he played the game in the room above "your" garage.
Then we get possibly another point of view with "This is what I see". Could be the producer chiming in....could be a studio exec....who knows.
Sharang (Blue Book,
Three times perfect means that Pixeleen is a virgin. Mary (mother of
is said to have a virginity that is three times
When I first heard "soaked through on the floor of a noodle shop" I pictured Pixeleen dissolving (in a pixelated way) into the drain on the floor of a noodle shop in Japan.
Also, I first imagined Pixeleen as Japanese but I now know that can't be true, otherwise she'd be Pixereen.
Legion2 (Blue Book,
Kudos to Andy on his interpretation of Pixeleen. I think we're
on a majority of your ideas. Also, Man with No Face, I believe is
about the line "Soaked through on the floor of a noodle shop" although
I would tend to believe it refers to how the Pixeleen phenom has
society with her image. Think of the posters pasted everywhere to
a record or movie. Its easy to see a "Pixeleen" flyer on the floor of a
greasy noodle shop. (Brings to mind the
advertising blimp in Blade Runner).
Peg (Blue Book, 6/20/03): I don't think Pixelene's narrator is her father; he's a fan or someone involved in her creation...
SouthofHollywood (Blue Book, 6/20/03): Has anyone else considered that the "Sweet Backstory" line in Pixel might be an anotomical reference?...Hmmmm...
Book, 6/26/03): re Pixeleen types
Interesting recent article about female action heroes from MSNBC. Sound like anyone we've been debating lately?
"All of these 21st-century women do have one thing in common: They’re today’s new female action heroes, women who don’t have to sacrifice their femininity in order to get the job done, and done right.
They’re younger. They’re tougher. They’re smarter. They’re braver. They’re out to save the world and, thank you very much, they can do it without the help of men.
And yes, they are our new role models."
Chief of Theory (Blue Book, 6/26/03): This belief that Pixeleen is a girl in a video game worries me. The more and more I study the lyrics, the less I agree. What video is shown at the Sundance film festival? Roppongi, if I'm not mistaken, is a fashionable neighborhood in Tokyo and must have something to do with the noodle shop. This popular belief warrants further study.
John (Blue Book,
Pixeleen: Movie or Video Game
Chief of Theory expresses concern about which medium is featured in Pix, although I'm not sure how much it matters. First, I try not to take anything in a Dan song too literally. Sure, a Utah festival is mentioned and Sundance is the likely suspect, but can't this just be a sly slam at the marketing of characters/treatments/properties in show biz? Don't today's show business kids cynically try to get their ideas "placed" at Sundance, so that they can hop the independent route to movie success? And isn't that cynicism in stark contrast to the relative innocence of the fans of vid games and action movies?(Perhaps even our Pixeleen, the ultrateen)?
And doesn't that play in well with one of the major themes of the CD, of the rot of business, at least as practiced in the early 21st century?
Furthermore there's all kinds of crossover between video games and the movies. Final Fantasy started as a game and became a movie. Lara Croft likewise. Kate Archer (whose James Bondian antics in the vid game "No One Lives Forever" make her the more likely role model for the first two verses) makes three. So it's not like a video game concept couldn't end up being shown at Sundance.
I agree that the Japanese angle needs further deconstruction. I think anime. But Roppongi is not just a location in Japan; it is also a symbol of East-West fusion... not a surprise from a band that created Aja.
ssssnakehips (GB, 6/26/03): i think it's somewhere, uh, something else that starts to "throb" and i don't think it's a headache
Here’s what I see for Pixeleen. The key is “call and response.”
between the instruments, including vocalists, is key throughout EMG.
a virtual/real interaction occurs at a high level. It’s unclear whether
this is a “Purple Rose of Cairo” moment or whether the interactions has
simply become real in the protagonist’s mind, because it seems to real.
OK, I imagine Pixeleen as a cult to famous 3-D DVD holograph
5.1) digital movie character set in the near future. I’ve debated in my
mind whether the protagonist is a mentor, father, professor…now it
that he is simply a BIG fan with mixed feelings of parental protection,
lust, and admiration. Pixeleen started out as an “on-line comic book
like the virtual Lara Croft. She’s a Superteen Spy and sex kitten with
a Gibson-like edge… As the protagonist watches the new 3-D DVD (for
the 10th time) released after a run at Sundance, he recites the action
as it progresses…we get not only call & response
the viewer and Pixellen, but a projected Nightfly-type moment (there
goes back and forth between his thoughts and memories and the action of
the broadcast) as well…the distinction between reality and virtuality
until it soaks through…another example of SD and Fagen’s Imperfect
The viewer is a HUGE FAN and recites in his mind the plot an sights as they move along:
“Our man Abu squeezes off twenty tracer rounds
And that's when she jumps the turnstile”
We follow the start off the action furiously as Pixeleen enters the scene with Abu protecting her back
“And as she clings to the roof of the speeding train
The Double A down to Sheridan Square”
The nimbleness, power, and dexterity of spiderman packed into a knockout female bod
“Her cell phone rings
It's, like, her stupid father
Be in the door by ten – again”
A comical break in the action, where we’re reminded in a hot babe/Doogie Howser way that our 3-D super-heroine is still a teen…with boring homework and stuff…and a curfew…I imagine a goofy Dad out of Fairly Odd Parents show or something...
Dream deep my three-times perfect Ultrateen”
The admiration of a huge fan – she’s a 3-D marvel (nod to Oleander), Pixar in 6 more generations (note: a computer generation has a life of 18 months)
Born in the bogs of Jersey
Trained how to love and spy hard”
This background is likely in the SurroundVision 5.1 DVD, but also comes from the viewers exhaustive knowledge of her background from Pixeleen’s on-line comic book days…Here though Pixeleen, in his mind, her history soaks through in the call & response through her voice - brilliant
“Dropped on the streets of Roppongi”
Intrigue in the Far East draws Pixeleen – nice Gibson reference
“Soaked through on the floor of a noodle shop”
possible reference to digital editing and a look so real it Soaks into the mind of our viewer
“And when Abu rams the clip in the miniglock
Up on the catwalk inside the warehouse”
As Abu rides a hi-tech shotgun, Pixeleen continues to amaze us in 3-D, it’s his favorite SurroundVision 5.1 movie
“You whip a knife from the top of your go-go boot
With just a flash of spectacular thigh”
Admiration now starts to move to the Southern Hemisphere
“Your pager starts to throb”
Ironic emphasis on YOUR? Hmmmm…
“It's your as-if boyfriend Randall”
The jerk – he represents a loser rival vying for the attention of Pixeleen…I mean, she’s winking at me, the viewer, right
“Better keep it real -- or whatever”
Get rid of him – I don’t care what he does at home…
Rave on my sleek and soulful cyberqueen”
You Da Woman!! Uhh-huh. Everything I always wanted
Penned by a hack in the Palisades
Backed by some guys from Columbia
Shot all in digital video
For a million and change”
Now he recites the history in his mind through her voice again - the making of 3-D Pixeleen in Surround Vision
“Flashback to cool summer nights
Freddy can we cut to the chase?
In the room above your garage
Everything about me is different
Symmetrical and clean”
The highlight of the song..errr album…errr career…We soak through to the “making of Pixeleen”…Note that voice of Pixeleen is now DIRECTLY interacting with the viewer, calling him by name (in his mind?) the viewer projects himself there to her creation…or is he projecting Pixeleen to an attractive neighbor (perhaps from HIS past) who in his mind becomes Pixeleen…memory and sensationi are swimming...a thousand years roll by...
“This is what I see
Just a girl in girlie trouble
Dancing in the video with gun and tambourine”
A little male ego comes out…the viewer sees a vulnerability beneath the SuperTeen Queen UltraSpy Pixeleen…I can help her…I can dance with her…play in her band...or something…there’s that cartoon melding with real and 3-D super-real digital editing virtual reality…
Be good my three-times perfect ultrateen”
What a marvel of virtual video and personality
Born on the floor of a noodle shop
Dropped in the bogs of Jersey
Shot by a guy from Columbia
Soaked through all in digital video”
Very clever shuffling of Pixeleen’s history – representing the merging of reality, fanatasy, and digital SurroundVisioin
“Girl with the sweet backstory
Pitched in a trailer in Burbank
Cast by a cool-enough yes-man
Screened at a festival in Utah”
The viewer thinks about the wonderment of Pixeleen as the credits roll…
" “Her cell phone rings
It's, like, her stupid father
Be in the door by ten – again”
break in the action, where we’re reminded in a hot babe/Doogie Howser
that our 3-D super-heroine is still a teen…with boring homework and
a curfew…I imagine a goofy Dad out of Fairly Odd Parents show or
I was seeing that lyric section a little differently - as a switch back to reality from the game, then again the two lines before are more in line with your adolescent game
anyway, here's my alternative take -
our game playing teen accomplice is in an arcade. His girlfriend or mall rat companion (who doesn't quite measure up to his cyber action gal) is probably working the adjacent game (or watching his) and her dad (immaturely labeled stupid for obviously cutting the fun short) is installing curfew
again over emphasis on the virtual over the reality
Midsummer in New York (GB, 7/5/03): Could they be talking about Abu from The Simpsons? Who'da thunk? The sales pitch keeps the song from collapsing under the weight of sentimentality, blending beauty and cynicism like a sonic lemon meringue pie....
Hank Silvers (7/9/03):
Neat wordplay in Pixeleen -- the narrator's baby's got a sweet back
(that is, what I think WB was playing with was the song "Baby Got Back" -- www.lyricsstyle.com/s/sirmixalot/babygotback.html )
Tosspot (8/25/03): Pixeleen strikes me as a "film",
with our narrator being its video editor. Maybe he's sitting in
front of his PC, having
captured the bulk of the digital video in some "lo-resolution preview mode".
When blown up on
his monitor, there are all those familiar rectangular blotches from not having enough pixels in the source material.
Hence, the title character looks "pixelated".
Our man Abu sqeezes off twentry tracer rounds
And that's when she jumps the turnstile.
The first two lines strike me literally as instructions from the film's director about how to cut together two shots.
Three times perfect ultrateen
Maybe they did three takes of a particular scene, and she was great in all of them. Now they are deciding which one to use.
Everything about me is different
Symmetrical and clean.
Maybe the preview video is masking some flaws in the full-resolution version.
Freddy, can we cut to the chase.
Literally, can we cut out this scene and cut to the chase (scene)?
And all this buisness in the chorus about the people producing this "epic". As the editor, maybe he's met them and is commenting about their talents.
Hank Silvers (10/7/03):
(1) I hear "bomb
and tambourine" instead of the "gun and tambourine"
in the printed lyrics. Wouldn't be the first time they
threw us a
curve -- in Time Out Of Mind, the printed lyrics say "mystical stone"
but DF sang "mystical sphere."
(2) Our consensus so far: it was probably first a popular video game, then a quickie independent film thrown together on the cheap to cash in on the character's popularity, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in hopes of being picked up by a distributor. But the film isn't faithful to the character, at least not as envisioned by the person playing the game in the first verse. They cleaned her up and pumped up her physical dimensions to babe-licious proportions, and worse still, in the eyes of the gamer, they changed her story, which is represented by the lines where they shuffle the facts in the background vocals over the chorus: "born (a) in the bogs of Jersey (b) on the floor of a noodle shop" "dropped (a) on the streets of Roppongi (b) in the bogs of Jersey" I figure a big fan would scream sacrelige at the changes. As usual, Commerce wins over Art in a knockout.
(3) "Soaked through in digital video" -- someone with more video skills and experience could probably tie in the word "saturation".
Yeah, and sometimes I hear "gum and tangerines."
(Call me) Deacon Blues
About the phrase "three times perfect ultra-teen": I'm tempted to assume
that the lyrics are
describing the three primary "faculties" of girls, as seen
through teenage glasses.
Namely her butt, her breasts, and her face..
Also, there is an older online hentai (pornographic japanese cartoon) game called "UltraVixen". Maybe a reference?
Overall, I think it is impossible to see the song as a puzzle where all the pieces can fit. In effect, the song is about different themes, such as teenage idol worship, movie showbiz, the digital age with its virtual heroes, marketed plastic stars such as Britney Spears.. All the flimsy things that have come into being since the early 90's, as seen from a variety of perspectives.
Pixeleen is a single slice of the pizza of our time..
"yes at Lantern time
that's when comes to me"
"she cools me with her fan
We're drifting, a thousand years go by"
"electrons dancing in a frozen crystal dawn"
takes the entirety of the moment and throws a thousand mirrors up at the sky, and just there, for a split second, an image of a complete thought, the entire plan is revealed...
"Green Book" "Lunch With Gina"