In the midst of all this murder and chaos in black mirror“Demon 79” is one hell of a disco banger.
Written by Bisha K. Ali and Charlie Brooker, the fifth episode of Season 6 not only references, but makes a main character of disco legends Boney M. and their 70s Euro-disco mega single “Rasputin”.
When the shoe saleswoman Nida (We are lady parts‘ Anjana Vasan) takes some well-deserved time at home amid the unbridled racism of late 1970s England, with the rise of Margaret Thatcher and the far-right fascist National Front. Inhaling her dinner, Nida gives up violence and hate on the news for a top popsstyle show, gazing adoringly at his television as four black disco icons – Boney M.’s Bobby Farrell, Liz Mitchell, Marcia Barrett and Maizie Williams – sing and dance on screen, sparkling in a world far from his own day .
‘Demon 79’ Explained: How Season 6 Finale Fits Into ‘Black Mirror’
And it’s that three-minute song that accompanies a major change in Nida’s (and the world’s) life forever.
What’s the song in “Demon 79”?
As the presenter says through Nida’s TV set, disco band Boney M. take fourth place in the chart with their 1978 single “Rasputin” from their third and biggest selling album. Night flight to Venus (it would actually be hit number two(opens in a new tab) on the UK chart). The infectious disco track chronicles the long-debated and analyzed 20th-century historical figure Grigori Rasputin, adviser to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Rasputin’s life and death have been examined, debunked, fictionalized and twisted by writers, authors and yes, a disco quartet that has really focused on the man as “the greatest loving machine of Russia”. Known as the “mad monk” for his self-proclaimed holy man with healing powers(opens in a new tab)(as Boney M. sings, “He could preach the Bible like a preacher/Full of ecstasy and fire”) Rasputin wielded influence over the Russian royal family, especially the Tsarina, Alexandra, of the ruling Romanov family (“To the queen he was no dealer in wheels/Though she heard what he had done/She believed he was a holy healer/Who would heal her son”). Rasputin was assassinated(opens in a new tab) on December 29, 1916 in a plot led by the super-rich Prince Felix Yussupov — poisoned, beaten, shot, then drowned(opens in a new tab) (“They put poison in his wine…He drank it all down and said, ‘I feel good.'”)
Boney M.’s surreal take on Rasputin was written by producer Frank Farian and became a worldwide hit, including in Britain, where Nida watches it in the black mirror episode.
Under whom does the demon appear?
After Nida finds a wooden talisman in the basement of Possetts department store, brings it home, and anoints it with her blood, the junior demon Gaap appears in her apartment to send her on her quest. murderous – three human sacrifices over the next three days or the apocalypse occurs.
Anjana Vasan summoning the power of disco in “Demon 79”.
Credit: Nick Wall/Netflix
Nida seems understandably terrified of Gaap’s true demonic form, so they decide to appear as something more familiar to her. “Yeah, sorry, my usual look is probably a bit too much for this realm,” Gaap said. Reading Nida’s mind, the demon takes the form of Bobby Farrell, the high-energy disco king of Boney M, played by Paapa Essiedu in a truly superb deadpan comedy style. “It’s better for you ?” Gaap says. “I looked into your soul and apparently it’s a physical aspect that you find attractive, so…maybe you saw it recently and liked it?”
Only Nida can see Gaap/Bobby Farrell.
Credit: Nick Wall/Netflix
Wearing glittering silver platform boots, white bell bottoms, aviator sunglasses, a white silk shirt and sequin waistcoat, giant fluffy shoulder pads and a sparkling tie, during the inspection, Gaap does not unsure who that resemblance is – “Am I, like, a clown? Is that how clowns dress in your kingdom?” by turning to his demonic companion.
Bobby Farrell at the Odeon Hammersmith in London in 1978.
Credit: André Csillag/Shutterstock
But whether or not GAAP is actually real or not, that’s another thing. “He is her sexual fantasy And his sinister fantasy,” writes Mashable’s Kristy Puchko. “Before Gaap appears, Nida is already bloodthirsty… Perhaps Nida, hopelessly isolated since her mother’s death, is so overwhelmed with rage and the loneliness she creates an imaginary friend to give her companionship, purpose, and an excuse to lash out at the unforgiving world around her. Gaap’s appearance lends credence to that idea.”
Wait, is there another Boney M. song in “Demon 79”?
There is! Near the end of the episode, Boney M.’s 1977 debut track “Ma Baker” from their second album love for sale plays as Nida takes control of her own narrative. After standing up to fellow racist Vicky (Katherine Rose Morley), Nida is about to assassinate white supremacist politician Michael Smart (David Shields), all in slow motion to the song written about the legendary outlaw. 1930s American Ma Barker. . It is very appropriate.
Where have I heard the song “Rasputin” before?
Beyond the dance floor? In two words : just dance.
‘Rasputin’ went viral in the late 2000s thanks to gambling just dance 2(opens in a new tab). Released in 2010 with an energetic routine paired with the Boney M. track, the game saw countless YouTubers(opens in a new tab) recreate the choreography(opens in a new tab). He appeared on just dance editions since then, and is still a community favorite.
A decade after his just dance debut, around 2020, “Rasputin” enjoyed a resurgence on TikTok. THE the song has been around for a long time(opens in a new tab) on the video sharing application, with replicating users(opens in a new tab) just dance choreography(opens in a new tab) in their own style(opens in a new tab) — #rasputindancechallenge(opens in a new tab) And #rasputindance(opens in a new tab) have garnered nearly 162 million views to date, with Boney M.’s track scoring 2.8 million videos. The videos have been particularly popular amid pandemic shutdowns and social distancing measures in 2020 and 2021.
With this renewed interest, the British artist Majestic released a remix of the track(opens in a new tab) in 2021, which saw 490 million streams on Spotify(opens in a new tab) and 45 million streams on YouTube to date.
So here is. 45 years after its release, Boney M.’s “Rasputin” is more popular than ever, taking over social media and TV shows like black mirror with all the finesse of the group’s energetic performances. Good luck getting it out of your head now.
How to watch: black mirror Season 6 is now on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)