Welcome one, welcome all, to my humble domain. Today, we shall be discussing passion and death. Do I hear corn popping? You have the right idea there, mon ami.
For those of you not familiar with it (I can’t believe you exist but anything’s possible), the title of this post refers to the astoundingly brilliant song from the 2002 movie, Chicago, which is based on the 1975 musical of the same name. The musical is in turn based on the 1926 play, “Chicago”, by Maurine Dallas Watkins who was a reporter and based the play on true events.
Whew! Now that that’s over with, we can get to the juicy bits.
I want to hurry through this and get to the character I really want to talk about but I decided to try and do this work of art some justice at least so I will not be putting the fantastic cart before the not-bad-itself horse. Anyway, I am not a music critic by any stretch of the imagination. My taste in music can be summed up thus: I like what I like. C’est fini. I listen to a little bit of everything and lots of nothing (seriously, I can go weeks without listening to music. I value silence.)
That said, Cell Block Tango is at the top of my My Favourite Things playlist (you don’t have one? What are you even doing?). It is an unbelievably well-crafted piece of auditory magic from its riveting lyrics that tell several vignettes of women who have killed (“the six merry murderesses of the Cook County Jail”, doesn’t this line alone make you curious?) to the well-paced, well-orchestrated score itself. You’ll most likely not even notice the length of the song, that’s how good it is. Don’t be scared, it’s barely over 7 minutes long and it’s 7 minutes very well spent.
Of the six merry murderesses who tell their stories of betrayal, rage, pain and sometimes psychopathy, my absolute favourite is June (or as she’s more popularly known, “Squish”). From here on out, I’m going to be fangirling hard so bear with me. Played by Deidre Goodwin, June is the character that I connected with the most. It may be because she is the only black woman, it may not.
I want to rub my face in the Persian rug of June’s voice. The way she says “Squish” is so husky, so fierce, so *shivers* and you can tell that she’s unapologetic. The way I imagine it, or rather the way the song lends itself to the imagination, she had had it up to here with her husband’s bullshit. She was being a good wife, carving up the chicken for dinner, probably after a long hard day at the factory or salon or something (her hair is 🔥 I tell you) and her husband storms in and starts accusing her of infidelity. With the milkman of all people. Ain’t that some bullshit? Can you blame her if she doesn’t weep that he was clumsy enough to run into her knife? I mean “Oops”, right?
Where before her you have Liz (“Pop”) who obviously needs some downers and Annie (“Six”) who wasn’t too bright in not using a more difficult to detect poison than arsenic, June immediately shines in her viciously personal and spontaneous method of murder. The woman bloody ran a man through ten times. Not once, not twice. Ten hot, slippery, messy, blood splattering every which way times. One must give credit where credit is due; the woman has some serious guts.
After her comes “Uh Uh”, poor Katalin, the only innocent one of them all, who (spoiler alert!) gets wrongfully convicted later in the movie. You can tell that even the writers of the song saw what I see, i.e. that June is profoundly badass, and used her to maximum effect to make us sympathize that much more with Katalin. Velma (“Cicero”) and Mona (“Lipschitz”) seem almost like run-of-the-mill little murderesses next to her.
With these few words of mine, I have surely convinced you to take a little time out of your busy day to check the song out for yourself. To make that easier for you to do, I have taken the liberty of embedding it here for your viewing pleasure. Please do enjoy!
Peace and Fishnet Garrotes.