Rock music, to no one's great astonishment, has had a longstanding relationship with pornography. But only recently has this pairing received anything resembling critical attention. Two events in particular prompted this: Kid Rock's brief-but-public romance with porn star Midori, and Oglio Records' 1998 album Porn to Rock, which featured the musical stylings -- several quite impressive -- of select XXX performers (and has since been converted into a ratings-grabbing "documentary" on VH1). More and more, starlets are appearing in the videos of mainstream acts without anything resembling controversy. A bold step forward in the culture war? Possibly. But a more likely explanation is the age-old truism that "sex sells."
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With that in mind, Oglio Records has released Deep Porn, which extends the porn-music collaboration beyond hair-metal bands to include hip-hop and electronica. It's a logical move when you think about it. Who but a porn star could properly reciprocate the sexual braggadocio of your average rap artist? The album boasts an impressive lineup. Kid Rock, George Clinton and Cypress Hill are all represented, but the standouts are The Black Mob Group's "Flick," Lordz of Brooklyn's "Titty Bar," and Brother Marquis's "Nasty." While the quality of the music is generally excellent, the hip-hop is virtually indistinguishable from normal fare. This is a conceptual weakness that might have been foreseen; after all, when sexual prowess is your primary subject matter anyway, how different is it going to sound when the object of conquest is a porn star rather than, say, just your average ho? (Hint: not much.)
That isn't to say that this album wouldn't go over well in any club -- on the contrary, it's the first porn-themed collection that goes beyond novelty. But as a genre experiment, it's lacking. Deep Porn doesn't demand much of its porn stars, limiting their contribution to moans, grunts and the occasional snippet of dirty talk (though they're ably represented in the liner notes). George Clinton's "Spanka-Vision," for instance, is simply a Clinton riff playing in the background -- way in the background -- of a Shayla LaVeaux masturbation session. Most of the electronica merely samples the guest collaborators, building beats around a lurid moan or shriek. It's not clear on any track that a starlet ever entered the studio; their "contributions" could easily have been lifted from the audio track of their latest flick. Granted, this is hardly akin to silencing a virtuoso, but it's no reason to pick up Deep Porn, either. Better to wait for the video.