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February 8, 2014

I Stayed Up All Night To Get Lucky

Russian Police Choir Olympics 3

It’s not often I’m rendered speechless. The performance of the Daft Punk song by the Russian Police Choir at Sochi’s Opening Ceremonies was, simultaneously, one of the most hilarious and scariest things I’ve even witnessed. Clearly, pop culture has become the veneer with which to gloss over or sex up any sordid mechanism of the state. Irony? Parody? Farce? Just candy? Beats me — especially looking at some of the boss-type backups not singing.

Russian Police Choir Olympics 1

Russian Police Choir Olympics 2

As disarming as these uniforms are, I imagine Gen. al-Sisi’s not far behind.

Definitely watch the whole performance here.

(screenshots: NBC Sports)

  • squasha

    I’m simply gobsmacked. Reminds me of the feelings evoked by the IRS Star Trek spoof, as well as a ring of policemen on horseback playing Yellow Submarine (to kick off a long Beatles’ medley) on brass instruments I watched on a recent trip to Rome. Same sort of confused juxtaposition of power & kitsch.

  • black_dog_barking

    Surreal, dadaism is alive. C’est ne pas the Village People. I don’t know what is more unreal, the mass of military uniforms and sullen old white faces presented as performance or the degree of energy the main performers can distill from elevator music. We are in MC Rove territory here.

  • http://www.mscottbrauer.com/ Scott B.

    They’ve been doing this since the 1920s. There are two choirs that perform under the name “Red Army Choir,” the Alexandrov Ensemble ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandrov_Ensemble ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ensemble ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MVD_Ensemble ). I remember their cover of Skyfall getting some news a while back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F832ZZNRV0.

    The US does this, too, by the way. Growing up on Air Force bases, the annual Tops in Blue ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tops_In_Blue ) performance of pop hits by active duty members of the Air Force was a regular event. There’s also the Army’s Soldier’s Chorus: http://www.armyfieldband.com/pages/ensembles/sc.html which performs around the world with Broadway tunes, opera, and other songs.

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Thanks for more context. Always helpful while moving at the speed of social media.

  • Thomas Gokey

    First of all I absolutely loved this performance. It is a lot of fun to watch. As creepy as all militaries are, and as creepy as it is to juxtapose disco-pop with uniformed state power, for me it shows that human beings don’t quite fit into this military world. We’d rather be doing something else, like belting our hearts out to karaoke.

    Here’s a slightly more slickly produced YouTube from three moths ago of the same choir complete with fog machine: http://youtu.be/P08B_lBUL0E

    For me the most apt comparison is not so much the official US military choirs as it is the informal lipdubs that US soldiers have been preforming in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last several years (like this one http://youtu.be/MG5xAIf7ivk)

  • acm

    It looks to me like only 5% of the guys are actually performing — maybe they’re “ringers” and the rest are actual brass? I dunno, the whole thing is very strange, but cultural cache rarely translates…

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