Sites like YouTube spoil us with an infinite feast, making it all too easy to overlook all the unique little side dishes. For today’s example, there’s the ultra-obscure music video for the Belgian acid house/post-industrial rock group Lords of Acid’s 1994 hit “Crablouse,” which – yes – is about the erotic potential of being a woman infected with the pubic crab parasite.
Now we know the little crablouse is a raver
You can’t get rid of it unless you use a razor
It’s unbearable, funky, and so cool
A real smartass and nobody’s fool.
The Lords of Acid are celebrated, at least by me, for their unabashedly hedonistic lyrics, which range from being about a girlfriend jealous of her boyfriend’s obsession with a blow-up doll, to a topless sunbather having an orgy with Martians only to find their interplanetary equipment is inadequate, to a heartfelt homage to a Rabbit – and not that kind of Rabbit. It’s kind of like what you’d get if a time-traveling Marquis de Sade came to the present to be a DJ. In North America, they’ve always skirted on the mainstream even in their ’90s heyday, with songs occasionally appearing in movie soundtracks like that of Strange Days, which did make them surprisingly prominent considering that maybe about 1% of their songs could be played on North American radio without heavy censoring of the lyrics. Needless to say, the “Crablouse” music video apparently didn’t get play even on the more experimental and less reality-TV-star-infested MTV of the ’90s – and if it did, it was only around 3:30 am between reruns of Liquid Television and the latest epic doom metal hit video.
The “Crablouse” video answers the fetishes of many Lords of Acid’s fans by featuring lead singer Jade 4U (Nikkie van Lierop) in a Catholic school girl uniform, being exposed to some bizarre “love tunnel” type ride that gradually corrupts her. She’s treated to the sights of shirtless men in gimp masks and…for some reason known only to Belgians, this:
The scenes of the schoolgirl’s voyage are intercut with Jade 4U in a leather bikini and a boa performing alongside some scantily clad dancers. Unfortunately the one copy of the video that’s been circulating around the four corners of the Internet is a little blurry, but especially luckily for you gay women and heterosexual men you can still get a sense of what’s going on.
During the bridge of the song, there’s a scene of Jade 4U and a guy riding a roller coaster. Admittedly it’s the most tedious part of the video, in no small part because it reuses the same basic shots, but it is followed by what might be the strangest part: a shot of Jade 4U “flying” around a black void with a bunch of shirtless men moving toward her. Honestly, at the risk of tapping too much into my English degree, I’m convinced this is a reference to Dante’s Inferno, where the souls of the lustful are flying around in a whirlwind for eternity. Showing the lustful clawing through the whirlwind toward each other to make out is…pretty damn brilliant, really. So if you happen to be looking for a paper topic for a literary studies class, here it is!
In the final shots of the video, the schoolgirl emerges out the other side of the ride, fully indoctrinated into the philosophy of the Lords of Acid and willing to make out with the first long-haired guy who walks up to her. It all really represents why all of us who were exposed to the Lords in the ’90s finds little media-spawned scandals like Miley Cyrus twerking so dull. All the way back to at least Madonna simulating masturbation on stage, there’s something about American musicians’ orgiastic excesses that’s so self-conscious, to the point that no matter how much they try to push the envelope there’s no risk of it falling off the table. With the Lords, it’s like the taboos don’t even matter, an attitude the video captures even for people who haven’t been initiated. It’s a shame that a country with a penis just never appreciated the Lords more.