#3. "She's Always a Woman" -- Billy Joel
She can kill with a smile
She can wound with her eyes ...
She'll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you're bleeding ...
Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She's ahead of her time
For the sake of this picture, I'm going to ask that you pretend that this woman just stabbed you with a kitchen knife, and now she's having a good laugh about it. If I've done my job properly, your attraction to her just went up a few points, or whatever metric you use to measure that kind of thing. I've painstakingly tinkered with her eyes and mouth to make them look as deadly as possible. The eye shadow is supposed to be reminiscent of Daryl Hannah's character in Blade Runner, who was also sexually treacherous and ahead of her time.
You may have also noticed the open jars on the table behind her. Excellent observation. You show remarkable attention to detail. Artists like me love that kind of thing. Those jars are there to indicate her ability to take care of herself. She opened all those jars without the help of a man because she is self-sufficient.
Most important, however, was inserting a reminder in the picture that she is and will always be a woman (to me), which I accomplished cleverly with boobs. They are still plenty visible, even with her arms folded. In the end, isn't that really what all women have to contend with? They are capable of stepping out of oppressive gender roles, but never out of their own breasts. It's sad, but also beautiful.
#2. "Rio" -- Duran Duran
Moving on the floor now babe you're a bird of paradise
Cherry ice cream smile I suppose it's very nice ...
Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
Just like that river twisting through a dusty land
And when she shines she really shows you all she can
Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande
The key to the visual representation of a Duran Duran song is capturing the same subtlety for which the band is renowned. You might look at this picture and get the flavor of a bird of paradise without really understanding why. Well, I inconspicuously modeled her hair after a bird of paradise flower. I also captured the idea of a cherry ice cream smile by adding bits of smeared cherry ice cream on her face.
Above all else, it was important for me to really capture her fluidity. Even in a still drawing, you can see her glimmering form wind and shimmer like a body of water across the sand. She is dancing. She is dancing a kind of sexy dance that girls have to practice before they look comfortable doing it. I've left it open to interpretation whether she is dancing at sunset or sunrise depending on whether it's easier for you to romanticize her as a tragic figure at the end of her relevance or a young girl discovering her womanhood. But while you're deciding, please don't forget to admire the powerful reflection of sunlight I drew in the ocean. It's pretty good.
#1. "Drops of Jupiter" -- Train
Now that she's back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey ...
Since the return from her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey ...
Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star?
One without a permanent scar ...
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind?
Was it everything you wanted to find? ...
But tell me, did you sail across the sun?
Did you make it to the Milky Way
To see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated?
First of all, re-entry into the atmosphere without a spaceship is completely impractical. Even musicians should know that. Train ought to make an effort to be a little less sloppy with their metaphors. I also have no idea what "talks like June" is supposed to sound like. Bees, maybe? I wasn't sure, so I just gave the melting woman a sundress and some flowers in her burn trail to signify summer as she careens toward Earth. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed Train didn't do any homework before writing this song. It's reckless, with no consideration for logic or physics.
In fact, drawing this whole thing felt disingenuous. If you look closely, her suitcase is covered with the proof of her travels to Venus and other planets in the solar system, despite the fact that I know Venus' atmosphere is made up primarily of sulfuric acid, so it would be impossible to make novelty stickers there.
I hate to end on a sour note, but Train needs to read an issue of Scientific American before they're allowed to write any more songs. They need to get their facts straight and hope that they are never responsible for whole gaggles of young girls firing themselves into space. I'm mad just thinking about it.
For more from Soren, check out 8 Letters from the Elementary School Where I Guest Lectured and 4 Steps to Staying Relevant as a Bully In the Modern World.