Ever since Justin Bieber grew a pube however many years ago, it seems he’s experienced a weird form of bodily disorientation,… Read More
Justin Bieber and his friend Khalil were hanging out shirtless the other day, when a little idea popped into… Read More
“It’s alright to cry, even my dad does it sometimes,” Ed Sheeran urges towards the end of X, an album that’s so shrouded in Nice Guy Syndrome that Sheeran deserves his own tackily named subgenre. In the larger context of mainstream music trends, the acoustic strummer falls under the heading of Sad-Boy Pop. He may be alone emotionally, but Sheeran and a few similar chart-topping artists — like Sam Smith and Bleachers — are together in redefining what it means to be a solo male star in pop circa 2014. Sonically, they couldn’t be more different, but they’re united by their embrace of the melancholy amidst a genre marked by its blissful frivolity. Even Robin Thicke is sad these days, going from “I know you want it” to “I’ll wait for forever for you to love me again.” … Read More
In Teddy Wayne’s 2013 book The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, the protagonist is an 11-year-old pop star with a great range, a love of Michael Jackson, a manager named Jane, and an entourage. He’s the head of a multimillion-dollar corporation that involves singing songs about true love to tween girls every night — and he’s also the loneliest boy in the world, playing video games and searching for anyone who could be his absent father. It is a quick, sharp, sad-as-hell read, the story of a boy stuck in a glimmering prison; it is also a book that completely presages Justin Bieber’s recent publicity troubles as his star is on the wane. As a reader, you spend the book feeling bad for poor, lonely Jonny, ready and waiting for the moment that he snaps and breaks out of his life. … Read More
Gawker ran a fascinating tidbit of news this week related to the ongoing Justin-Bieber-racist-video feeding frenzy. Almost lost in all the “OMG IS BIEBER RACIST” stuff was the fact that TMZ has had the tape for years, something confirmed by TMZ themselves over the weekend: “[We] got this video 4 years ago but we decided not to post it… in large part because he was 15 and immediately told his friends what he did was stupid.” Not so, says Gawker — in fact, the reason TMZ didn’t publish is because they decided “to hold [the video] over Bieber and his team’s heads in exchange for appearances on TMZ’s media properties and cooperation with stories.” … Read More
I could make a list of acts I’m excited to see at SXSW this year: Mark Kozelek, Sylvan Esso, Eagulls, London Grammar, Diarrhea Planet, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Perfect Pussy, Future, Sam Smith, Against Me!, and a lot more I won’t know about until I stumble upon them, tipsily, in the middle of the afternoon.
But half the fun of going to SXSW is improvising when you can’t get into shows or don’t want to deal with lines, in the process seeing artists you normally never would. So instead of focusing on my personal to-do list at SXSW Music, I want to take a look at the topics I expect will garner online chatter this week, once music industry folks and writers alike map out their own highly personalized schedules. Some will focus on the deeply sponsored events, like Lady Gaga performing in a Doritos vending machine, or the entirety of the iTunes Festival, while others will completely eschew the sort of shows that require a badge or even an RSVP. These should cover most of our bases, though. … Read More
Perhaps you heard the screams of your younger sister and cousins on Christmas Eve as they scrolled through Twitter on their smart phones in between rolling their eyes at whatever conversation your dad and your uncle were having that night. Clearly nothing was more important than the shocking announcement that Justin Bieber would be retiring from music at the tender age of 19. Did you make any attempts to console them, suggesting that maybe, like many other musicians before him, Bieber might be a little dramatic (he did, after all, follow that tweet with one saying, “I’M HERE FOREVER”)? Maybe you can assure them that Bieber, like a few of these famous music acts, might come back around again. … Read More