The Love/Hate Music News Report 10.18.12: Internet!
Posted by John Downey on 10.18.2012
News and thoughts on Alice Cooper criticizing modern rock stars, Beyonce performing at the Super Bowl, Liam Hemsworth believing Miley Cyrus was in the hospital and more!
Can we spin anything? Is there a way to make eating potato salad synonymous with psychotic behavior? Can we be made to feel pity for a carton of milk? Is there a way to demonize just having a conversation about fingernails? I'm starting to feel as though all of these things are possible. Oh, and welcome to The Love/Hate News Report.
There was a whole bunch of news stories this week, but most of them are below spewing vitriol or even pretending to give a shit. As such, the banal minutiae section will return next week. Also, I'm exhausted from other writing endeavors. If you want more reading, Chris's "a list obligatory." goes over the best albums of 2011 that didn't get a fair shake. You might be surprised by some of his picks.
New England weather is all over the place. Earlier this week, it was 45 degrees. Then it was 70 degrees. I think it was both 45 degrees and 70 degrees on Wednesday. One has to fuck over their immune system just to avoid getting the sniffles. It doesn't make sense, but neither does this damned weather. Anyway...
In this column, I will six pieces of news and offer context, levity, and humor where appropriate. The only criteria I have for selecting stories is whether I care about the subject matter or not—important stories that I don't care about will likely be covered in the Banal Minutiae section (but not this week). I'm a dude in my mid-twenties, so don't expect me to indulge in too much celebrity gossip.
Contrary to beliefs that have been expressed sporadically over the years, most of the writers of 411mania, myself included, don't have the power to moderate comments, so if your comment doesn't make it through, don't take it up with me. Feel free to comment on any of these stories, but I hope that you take the time to express your opinion in more than one sentence. You have already taken time out of your day to read my column (and for that, I thank you)—you can certainly take the time to justify your views.
Beyonce To Perform At Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show
This news isn't official as of this writing, but it will likely be formally announced by the time you read this and nobody has gone out of their way to deny this piece of business, so I'm going to report on it. If it turns out to be incorrect, though, I will embed a video of me punching my own head in next week's column. You have my word on that.
I know that Beyonce isn't popular with 411mania's target audience, which seems to be made up of dudes with unconscious anti-feminism beliefs, but I think Beyonce is a perfectly solid choice to perform at the Halftime Show. She can put on a heck of a show, she will pull in viewers who would likely otherwise watch the Puppy Bowl, and she can pull a surprise guest or two that might silence her harshest detractors. I'll grant that there are plenty of other acts who could spend this time playing better music, but as I harped on last year, the Super Bowl Halftime Show is about more than just music, and in that regard, I don't know who could put on a better show that would appeal to the most people than Beyonce. Flame on.
Fake Death News
There's little more that I hate more than fake news about someone's death. I know that the easy solution is to look it up on the Internet, but as Mark Twain once said, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes," and the most relevant news that I will find going around will be these fake rumors because that's the only thing that people will be talking about. I still have to correct people who think that Bill Nye is dead, to give one aggravating example.
Earlier this week, Liam Hemsworth heard that his fiancé, Miley Cyrus, was hospitalized in Los Angeles, and, due to the stated aggravations about how these sort of rumors work, was likely convinced for some time that something terrible had happened to his better half. As it turns out, she was just giving blood and the media had blown it out of proportion. I guess I can see how some folks would find this humorous, and I know that there is at least one person out there who takes glee at the misfortunes of these two, but I wouldn't be laughing if I were in Hemsworth's position.
The Video For El-P's "Stay Down" Is Fucking Weird And Awesome
"Stay Down" is an obvious pick for a single, but I didn't know how one could make an effective video to accompany the song. It is a haunting song chock full of dark humor with a memorable chorus that barely cracks three minutes, which isn't the sort of template that allows for many visual concepts. It doesn't lend itself to violent or offensive imagery, either, which was the "out" El-P took with "The Full Retard". I still don't know that the end product matches the music to the visuals in a fitting manner, but this is probably the best we could ask for.
The video at least acknowledges the dark humor of the song, having the mostly-female audience react with contempt and disdain to El-P while openly cheering TV On The Radio's Jaleel Bunton lip-synching Nick Diamonds's words, but man, is this a weird setting for the video. Unlike many of the best music videos I've seen this year, this one is safe for work, so it has that going in its favor as well. I like the video and all, but…well, watch it for yourself:
Modern Rock Stars Aren't Rock Stars, Part One: The Wrong Way To Say It
Alice Cooper: "I lived in that era of Keith Moon, John Lennon, the Hollywood Vampires drinking club. All our friends were dying at 27. …If you're a rock star you're supposed to do that. There are no rock stars any more. They're lacking in so much testosterone. I keep looking for the 17-year-old kid who wants to hang his guitar down here and play it from his crotch, not his brain."
That's right, kids. Don't learn anything from the passing of great musicians who died too young. Do drugs! Make a mess! Fuck around! Don't put intelligent thought into making music! You're supposed to die young! I mean, look at the Beatles, or Led Zeppelin, or the Rolling Sto—oh, wait.
Modern Rock Stars Aren't Rock Stars, Part Two: The Right Way To Say It
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: "But now we all live in harder times, now a whole lot of bands react to the current heaviness by privileging the party times, like some weird Scientology will-to-power bullshit, hit that hi-hat with a square's fist until we all make it to heaven, until Sunday morning's bringdown. Self-conscious good vibes like love-handles poking through some 22-year-old's American Apparel T-shirt at some joint where you can only dance once you pay a $10 cover charge just to listen to some internet king's iPod."
…I can't top that. Sorry.
Because We All Love Stories About Companies Catering To The Needs Of Celebrities
There has been an increased influx in stories about celebrities, including several prominent musicians, getting caught with illicit materials on their persons. Most of these stories involve a pesky checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas, with the likes of Fiona Apple, Willie Nelson, and Nelly getting into legal trouble for having drugs on their tour buses. With these stories coming to light, it should stand to reason that smart public figures would either ban drugs from the bus if a stop in Sierra Blanca is part of their tour or, here's a crazy idea, not go through Sierra Blanca at all. It is a small town that is on the opposite side of the biggest cities in the state—you don't need to go through it.
A few bus companies that operate in the area, though, have taken to specifically inform celebrities that they will be checked for contraband in Sierra Blanca. If that sounds like BS preferential treatment, that's because it is. It also tows the line of accountability in that these companies are operating not unlike accessories to a crime, though whether they fit the definition is hard to determine. Nonetheless, this is the kind of shit that makes me weary of having to do this column. I'm supposed to talk about people who need to be told to hide their stash? And people wonder why I hesitate to buy into celebrity-endorsed charities.
And with that, we come to this week's playlist. Godspeed You! Black Emperor's first album in ten years was released earlier this week, so that's what I am going to be sharing. If you can make it to the end of the album in your first listen, I applaud you. Enjoy.
Albums To Love
January: Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothings
February: Put Your Back N 2 It, Perfume Genius
March: 4Eva N A Day, Big K.R.I.T.
April: The Money Store, Death Grips
May: Cancer 4 Cure, El-P
June: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, Fiona Apple
July: Confess, Twin Shadow
August: II, Nude Beach
September: CIA TV, .L.W.H.