Divinely Naughty Divinyls

Self-love and a DIY attitude in this week's Forgotten Videos
  • Christina Amphlett in the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself"
November 16, 2011 -- 12:22 pm PST

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

The Divinyls
"I Touch Myself"

Ahh, love. What could possibly be more romantic than to have a fetching object of desire look you straight in the eyes and say those three sweet little words you've been longing to hear: "I touch myself."

By 1990 Australian rockers the Divinyls had kicked around for nearly a decade without achieving global success, and had been winnowed down to the working duo of vocalist Christina Amphlett and guitarist Mark McEntee. But success came along in a big way with their third album, 1991's Divinyls, and the Billboard Hot 100 Top 5 hit "I Touch Myself" — an impossibly catchy, guitar-driven paean to, ahem, self-appreciation.

The video for "I Touch Myself" fully rises to the song's explicitly risqué subject matter, creating an unabashedly sexy atmosphere that seems to fall somewhere between a Federico Fellini film, a perfume commercial and a late-night movie you might see on cable. Amphlett's clearly the star of the show, a purposeful, lust-provoking vision of low-cut bangs, thigh-high boots and extremely prominent cleavage. (She's also seen a couple times in the schoolgirl outfit that was a favorite onstage at Divinyls shows.)

The song itself doesn't leave much to the imagination. Lines such as "I want you above me" and "I get down on my knees/I'd do anything for you" aren't the kind of lyrics that require a lot of guesswork. Likewise, the video plays up a sort of aristocratic eroticism as powerfully as it can while keeping everything clothed. Amphlett and McEntee are performing in a sun-dappled, Hugh Hefner-esque mansion surrounded by all sorts of high-end signifiers that there's a fire down below. Ironically, the video was filmed in an abandoned nunnery. There's cleavage, mirrors, fishnet stockings, gold-framed mirrors, more cleavage, calla lilies, tousled linens, strategically draped towels, and even more cleavage.

The song's single-minded focus might mark it as a naughty novelty for some, but it really is an expertly constructed piece of pop craft, complete with a cool, spoken-word breakdown that ends in arguably one of the most convincing "ooh, ohh, ohh, ahh" utterances in all of pop. The video expertly blurs the line between come-on and put-on, offering up bona fide sensuality along with the band's wry, knowing sense of humor. And the lesson offered up in this '90s artifact still holds true: If you want a job done right, do it yourself.

Do you love yourself? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

Last week's Forgotten Video. Click on the "Forgotten Videos" tag below for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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