The Markle Sparkle: Dry Cleaning on the Royals
One of my favorite bands to surface over the past years is Dry Cleaning—an oddball English crew with a sound like no other. Florence Shaw’s spoken word/talk-singing is part Lou Reed with a tang of Yoko Ono, if backed by Sonic Youth. Lots of dissonance and feedback, to a beat. Wry poems set to music.
Since I am not always up on my gossip rag material I didn’t realize at first that “Magic of Meghan” is about Meghan Markle. Duh. But rather than detracting from the song, the pop-cultureness of the jam adds to its meaning. The song strikes exactly the right balance—a tongue-in-cheeky ode with a smattering of satire. It both defends Meghan Markle from the over-the-top online haters, while also poking gentle fun of those who unthinkingly fawn over Markle and the royals. This is a page right out of the David Byrne and LCD Soundsystem playbook. “She placed a perfectly manicured hand on his chest/an instant yes.”
“Magic of Meghan” is a song about us, more than the rebellious princess—our need to place someone on a perfect pedestal. This is a tune about how the famous wave their banners and we all fall in conformist line. “You’re just what England needs. You’re going to change us.” Yeah, right! Trickle-down theory? “Earrings to empower women. Cruelty-free coat.” Everything is just so, and yet clearly Florence and the band is affectionate towards Markle anyway. This is not her fault—this is sing-along-Structuralism.
But on a deep level “Magic of Meghan” is really faux sarcastic. It’s almost as though Markle is too perfect here. This song reminds me of the old (hilarious) Martin Scorsese” song by King Missile--although less obviously ironic than that 90’s gem. In fact “Magic” not ironic at all really; we have all heard of faux-irony–this is faint irony. The media’s overripe love for Markle is muddied by its simultaneous criticism. Meghan is under the microscope and yet the song suggests she manipulates it–she controls the narrative with product placement and her perfect nails. “All the stars aligned…it was an amazing surprise.”
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