Music opinions are like assholes: up close, they all sort of stink. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a difference between records, people, and events that are only sort of awful, and ones that are actually evil. After the jump, musical cribbage master The Beard separates the wheat from the chaff, explaining why Sant(i/o)gold should have stuck it out, why the media ought to lay off Chris Brown, how the Grammys aren’t just the industry’s golden shower, and what this week has in common with the one where Diana AND Mother Teresa died. It involves Fred Durst.
The Grammys: They’re only sort of still the industry’s golden shower… It’s pretty easy to take pot-shots at the Grammys (yeah, I know, the only thing less relevant in this day and age is Rolling Stone), but this year’s spectacle was actually pretty impressive. Sure, there were awkward monologues aplenty and more unrelated Hollywood celebrities than a Bob Hope benefit, but the academy’s attempt to shift the show’s focus to performance almost made up for it.
Sure U2 delivered a bona fide wankfest and Sir Paul McCartney phoned it in, but the conceptually thin Rap Pack performance that paired a very pregnant M.I.A. with Kanye, TI, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne was simply stunning. Lil’ Wayne’s Big Easy tribute, Kanye’s romp with Estelle, and Radiohead’s brass-band blow-out were equally balls-to-the-wall. No, it didn’t make the actual awards any more important or appropriate — really guys, is Robert Plant the only name you knew!?!? — but at least it wasn’t excruciating. Plus, stripped down on acoustic guitar, Taylor Swift ALMOST convinced me she isn’t secretly a rabid she-beast from planet hell. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is. Bottom Line? Only sort of awful.
Santigold v. Santogold: Another win for idiots everywhere This week, rising dance-pop star (and M.I.A./Gwen Stefani-sounding seductress) Santogold dropped her ‘o’ for another vowel entirely. While her official press release stated that she wouldn’t say why, many have suggested that it’s the result of legal action from long-running joke-rocker (and marginal infomercial jockey) Santo Gold, a douche-y pseudo-instigator so obviously unfunny that one wonders if his shtick is actually Tony Clifton-style antagonism masquerading as art.
The pastier of the two Golds claims that Santi cribbed his style and is thus impeding his ascendancy. While it’s clearly a bid for attention (and Santi probably didn’t want to dignify it by raising a ruckus), I wish she’d given it a chance to go to court. Sure a trial on this would be ridiculous, but one look at this bottom-feeder and any judge would have recognized him for what he is: an attention-staved idiot with no real claim to copyright. Bottom Line? Only sort of awful.
Rihanna v. Chris Brown: The Media Smackdown Sure, this one’s almost too hot to handle, but what say we give it a whack? (Eeep. Too soon?) [Editor’s note: Yes.] No, there’s nothing at all funny about abuse (and that something occurred is starting to look pretty obvious), but I do sometimes wonder what the hell happened to, you know, police being allowed to actually investigate. There were about 2,000 presumptive stories up about Chris Brown’s violent past before anyone actually heard from an authority or knew who was even involved. Why must the tabloids rush to oversimplify what’s clearly a complex story?
Media has a lot to gain from a headline like this, and I can’t help but think it’s already being twisted to unfortunate ends. If, as it seems, abuse did occur, we could use this as a real eye-opener, a reminder that this type of relationship trauma isn’t all that uncommon — even in the upper echelon. But instead, the media is obsessed with minutia, like whether or not Brown is being pulled from radio station playlists. It reminds me of another famous Brown: Bobby became a distractionary Big Bad Wolf for his up-and-down run-ins with Whitney. Sure, violent men should be vilified, but when we blow them up and paint them as super-human agents of evil, it makes everyday idiots seem less common than they are. Bottom Line? Actually evil.
Speaking of machismo-driven maniacs… The return of Limp Bizkit and Blink 182. Remember the week where Diana AND mother Teresa died? Once it gets rolling, it seems bad news knows no end. The announced return of Limp Bizkit and Blink 182 ushers in the end of a far less machismo-driven era. Why now? I mean, Fred Durst looks like a 50-year-old meth head, and no amount of time could wipe the frat-boy smirk off that pack of Jnco-clad pseudo-skaters. Perhaps now that Bush is out of office, these fluffy poseur-antagonists think people won’t notice that they don’t have anything substantive to say? Eck. Really, just Eck. Bottom Line? Actually evil.