411 Music Fact or Fiction 10.11.13: Who Saw A Miley Cyrus/Sinead O'Connor Feud Coming?
Posted by Joseph Lee on 10.11.2013
Is Kurt Cobain a musical icon? Is Britney Spears responsible for the levels of sex in her videos? Do we want to see Paul McCartney and Thom Yorke collaborate? 411's David Hayter and Joseph Lee debate these topics and more!
Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.
This week we have myself (subbing for someone else) against David Hayter.
Well, I wrote the question before I heard it (as I assumed I wouldn't have to before I subbed) and it's not terrible. It's not good, mind you. It's not even okay. But Paris sounds like a million other wannabe pop stars and Lil Wayne does some generic rapping. It's not even a bad song really, just bland and boring club music meant to play in the background while people who aren't paying attention to it dance. It's good white noise, at least.
David Hayter: FICTION.
Okay terrible is a bit strong, but I think Paris Hilton entirely misses the point of being Paris Hilton. Why is she trying to be a serious pop star? She's attempting to come across faye, innocent, likeable, and bland – and I have no earthily idea why. Look you're a entitled, super rich, ultra-privileged, camp icon – don't try and be remotely serious, just be balls to the wall, scream "I'm the shit" and sing out of tune.
She should own this stuff in a crass and unrepentant way, instead she sounds unsure of herself and slight. Luckily Lil Wayne is on hand to sound even more checked out and disinterested than Paris. Remember when he was making a case to be the greatest rapper alive – and he did enough to at least make his detractors take him seriously, feels like a mighty long time ago doesn't it?
You know, as someone who has to write a lot of Miley Cyrus stories (especially lately), I sort of have a begrudging respect for her. Before the MTV VMAs and Wrecking Ball, she seemed kind of cool and down to earth (as long as I never had to hear her music). After the performance, a lot of people said she was "trying too hard" and then she revealed that she was. She practically admitted that it was all an act. You have to respect someone who admits they're just doing what they do to put eyes on them. That said, all Sinead was trying to do was warn Miley about the pressures of exploitation in the music industry and was dismissed as crazy. I think maybe Sinead took some of Miley's comments a little too personally, but in this situation, Miley's acting like a petulant 12-year-old. Sinead is right in the fact that mental illness shouldn't be mocked, and if it wasn't, there was zero class coming from the Cyrus side of this equation.
For the record I don't support either side when it comes to the pathetic name calling, I mean seriously grow up (even if I do secretly love a pop star feud). No I don't support Sinead O'Connor in this argument because I think she fails to understand how the music industry plays misogynistic on both ends of the spectrum. The Disney variant of Miley Cyrus was perhaps more cynical than the current Miley. She portrayed an image of chaste virginity to salivating kids and creepy parents around the world while, as we well know, she was acting like a real teenager away from the spotlight.
While I agree that any self respecting female pop stars shouldn't twerk with Robin Thicke – they should tell him to go fuck himself in no uncertain terms – as far as I can see Miley is doing exactly what most young people do between 16-21. They're trying new things, their awkwardly attempting to get sexy, their partying, they're doing drugs, and they are going through crushing relationships that they massively over-egg.
Could Miley be a better role model for young women? Almost certainly, is she a "prostitute" for the music industry? Not in my book, having just reviewed her latest album, I can tell Sinead it's full of powerful ballads about recovering from a break ups that millions of teens will be able to relate to.
Taking my love of Nirvana out of this, even by Gene's own standards he's wrong. Nirvana put out three albums before Cobain's death, and had an in-demand Unplugged performance that was eventually put out after his death. They impacted their genre and popularized grunge along with Alice in Chains and Soundgarden (not invent, obviously, but they were part of the genre becoming big). No, just because he died it doesn't make him an icon (but I'm not naive, I know that is part of it), but the fact that he was in a band that did made an impact does. I don't know, I think Gene's entitled to his opinion, he just should do a little research before he begins talking out of his ass.
David Hayter: FICTION.
I hate this concept where me, you or Gene Simmons can become the be all end on all on what makes an icon and what doesn't. By every measure Kurt Cobain is an icon. Legions of young people across the world continue to be inspired by his music, his attitude towards equality, the tragic narrative of his life, and, let's not beat around the bush, the beautiful images he left behind. Like James Dean before him, he fulfilled a classic human narrative – he burned out rather than faded away, and that story appeals to millions.
Sorry Gene, no one person gets to judge these things, as long as Kurt Cobain is help up as an icon of the pop culture, he will be one. He even won a free public vote held by the NME to name music's ultimate icon – what more is there to say.
Firstly, It's great to see Pusha-T getting closer and closer to his Clipse persona and acting less like a wannabe pop star. In truth, I fell in love with this track the second Kendrick said: "You wanna see a dead body?"
What a fantastic hip hop proposition. What I love about the track is the contrast between the two verses – it's cause and effect. Pusha-T boasts about his record a dealer and claims that he's offering those suffering in the streets a sweet escape, while Kendrick discusses how drugs affected his family life in a negative way.
The song ends on a positive note as Kendrick confronts his father telling him that he doesn't have to buy or sell dope to survive, he deals in dope rhymes and has escaped a vicious cycle. Crafty stuff.
Joseph Lee: FACT.
Meh. It's not really for me. I'm just not a huge fan of rap and this isn't that appealing. Plus, the title is kind of dumb to me.
I'm not an expert on Britney Spears so I'm not comfortable laying all the blame at her feet. She was a product of the music industry and has a reputation for being a wind up and watch her go pop star (as in, she can do whatever style of music or image she's required to do, without imposing herself). Who knows how much manipulation she has endured and, worse still, who can judge the effect of having those support mechanisms taken away.
A large chunk of the blame no doubt lies with Britney, but like so many pop stars she was sexualized from day one and the industry can't shirk the blame for any subsequent car crash.
Joseph Lee: FACT.
Britney's at the point in her career where yeah, she can lay off the sex stuff if she wanted. If her management team is pushing it on her, she could just not put out new material. No one is forcing her into her outfits and no one is forcing her to show skin all the time. Her fans are well established and after her successes with Femme Fatale she's made many forget her psychiatric troubles. She could put out a stripped-down album full of ballads tomorrow (you know, full of stuff like "I'm Not A Girl" or "Lucky") and she'd get just as many album sales. She's reached that level in her career where she's a pop icon, like her or not.
In my head I'm screaming FICTION!!! but while I think both McCartney and Yorke have been pretty dull solo propositions for the last decade, the idea of Macca collaborating does get me excited. Only because I believe Thom Yorke might just be the one star capable of encouraging McCartney to write another "Temporary Secretary" and get away from the cutesy "Dance Tonight" shtick. It's unlikely, but I bet that's the Macca track that Yorke still plays on repeat.
Joseph Lee: FICTION.
Yeah, I'm not feeling it. I enjoy Radiohead and I did McCartney's work in Wings, but a lot of his solo stuff I'm not a big fan of. It's not particularly bad, just not for me. I'd probably at least give it a listen but I couldn't care one way or another if it ever happens.
Score Card: 2 for 6
Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Sound off in the comment section.