Protesting Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer on year end lists!

I’m all for folks showing who they are in their music and I’m all for equal rights, racial equality, economic equality, etc, but at the end of the day I want banging music that I return to.  I don’t find that in Dirty Computer.

This track below (by Janelle Monae) meets all the requirements and the fact that this track was somewhat suffocated (read about it here) and Dirty Computer is on the year end lists as the best of this year says everything that’s wrong with the music business and the music PR, and music journalism.  Too much about the personal lives and identities of the performers and not enough on the music.

I would rather listen to 1999 and to this tune as a combination of music and politics than the restrained and detached music on Dirty Computer.

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Is it fine or pathetic NPR and NY Times to have the same #1 album for ’18?

From NPR:

NPR_JanelleMonae

From the New York Times:

NYT1

As a disclaimer, I adore Monae’s drum and vocal tune about police brutality.  It’s a must listen.

Regular readers know that I aim to show what I view to be the pernicious influence of music PR on the music business and there’s no place where you see this influence more than on the year end lists.

When NPR and the New York Times pick this Janelle Monae record as best of the year this forms what passes for buzz these days.  My main argument as I listen to the third song is that record lacks passion and is a recycled Prince record.   But where Prince brought his unique smashup of faith and sex the temperature here is much lower.  If the arrangements and the singing had more energy and more heat I would be much more up for it.

I get the identity politics of this pick but in the long run listeners are looking for emotional connection.  That’s why people freaked out when Prince died and why I think this is not record of the year and why it kinda sucks these two ‘liberal’ news outlets are throwing down for this record.

Beware the music/fashion/lifestyle packages!

From the Guardian here:

LifestylePackages

These are my two obsessions — music and politics. When you sort people into ‘these people like this music and clothes’ you can manipulate them politically.

And as a rabid music blogger I’m constantly amazed at how the music business has sorted people into categories and demographics and has never made any attempt to get people to listen to as many different kinds of music as possible. Wouldn’t it be more profitable if suburban housewives put on Converge records or if Puerto Rican kids were into African music as well as urban Latino music? Variety is the spice of life, no?

Not only is it politically dangerous to keep all the rednecks listening to country music and all the hipsters listening to vapid indie music it is so fucking boring! How boring will America become in the hands of corporate pimps and lifestyle creators?

What is after boredom? Death I guess, it’s a partial death when people give up on expanding their minds and their personalities and checking shit out. And when they’ve stopped thinking for themselves and don’t decide what they like and what they don’t like for themselves you can see how that can turn into political manipulation.

Only people who smoke weed listen to reggae!

Only stinky metalheads listen to metal!

Only bearded hipsters listen to indie!

A colossal load of crap and not good at any level once these lines are drawn.

Do you think record companies are run by scumbags????

From the Guardian here:

Michael Jackson’s record label Sony has been caught up in a legal battle over whether the singer really performed the lead vocals on three songs in a posthumous album released under his name.

In a US court this week, in attempting to persuade a judge that it should not be a defendant in a lawsuit over the songs, Sony hypothesised that Jackson was not the main singer on Breaking News, Keep Your Head Up and Monster – but argued that such a scenario would not mean it had no legal right to sell the music under his name.

How the New York Times makes These Heaux/Music biz hoes legit!

 

From the New York Times:

TheseHeaux

The New York Times is a piece of shit, especially in its music writing.  For those readers who don’t know the story of Bhad Babie, this front page clipping makes it look all positivie.  First off it’s described as Big Business, and America loves big business.

In addition, the description of Bhad Babie transforming from a trouble teenager to having a major label record deal sounds like a Cinderella story.

Bhad Babie is what’s wrong with America.  She is now 14-15 years old but she came to prominence virally for going on Dr. Phil and off handedly talking in ebonics about whoring herself out to audience members with the catchphrase ‘Cash me outside how bout dat?’  She talks smack to her moms and is generally a pain in the ass but hypersexualized.  And the money to be made off her would be nothing without the hypersexualization of her body and personality.

Of course, major labels see all the free publicity she’s already generated for herself and they sign her to a deal.  Not because she has skills but because she’s already made herself known with her crossover whore routine.  And they put out her first single which is clipped below and is not really a Cinderella story, it’s a cynically corporate move to cash in on a R-rated almost girl.

If you check out this video Bhad Babie has been pimped and is pimping at the very same time — images of guns, of Bad Bhabie’s body, BMWs, all of the classic hardcore rap images.  At the core of the tune Bhabie is denouncing other women, these heaux, who she is not like at all — though she kinda has a legacy of being whorish.

The only intelligence that has been shown in the saga of Bhad Babie is the person who thought they could take her and make a profit off her.  That’s the only creativity here and it’s very cynical and transactional creativity.

And the New York Times makes all of this legit without mentioning any of it!  It’s big business and a ‘troubled teenager’ who is now a major label rapper.  It reeks of the efforts of a music publicist spinning the shit out of a piece of shit.

It’s not called GooglePimpTube for no reason!

From the Guardian here:

YouTube has an estimated 1.3 billion users who regularly watch music videos and it paid $856m (£650m) in royalties to music companies last year – an estimated 67 cents per user annually.  In the UK, record labels and artists earn more than double the royalties from the sale of 4.1m vinyl records than they did from the 25bn music videos watched on YouTube last year.

I don’t need Spotify to decide my listening for me

spotify_r.kelly

It’s not for Mastercard and Visa to cut off donations to Wikileaks and it’s not for Spotify to morally judge who belongs and who does not belong on their streaming service.

Never mind that this opens a giant ass can of worms if you’re going to have artists meet some ethical threshold.  There are dozens of musicians who have engaged in all sorts of shit.  And there are all sorts of Wall Streeters who have done the same shit.

It’s no surprise that Spotify came down hard on a black dude and believe me I’m no fan of R. Kelly’s behavior but that’s a job for the courts not fucking Spotify.