For the first time since the Paris tragedies on November 13, Eagles of Death Metal — whose performance at the Bataclan was interrupted by terrorists who killed more than 130 …Read More
Patti Smith emerged unexpectedly at two shows in Paris over the weekend, performing with Thom Yorke and U2 at their respective concerts in the city.
Last night, U2 surprised audiences — in perhaps a less arbitrary way than having Javier Bardem don a boa and grind up on Bono — by having Patti Smith come onstage and perform her revolution-fantasizing 1988 song, “People Have the Power” with them.
Despite having played a wide variety of roles, Javier Bardem is perhaps most known for his haunting performance as destruction in human form in No Country for Old Men. If you cannot purge this affiliation while watching a new video of the actor crashing the stage at a U2 concert, you’re in for a disturbing viewing experience. In fact, even if you can purge these affiliations, the zealousness of Bardem’s performance will still make you feel a little uneasy, if also impressed.
Someone is always watching.
For the longest time, that idea underpinned grim visions of a totalitarian future in books and movies, from Nineteen Eighty-Four to The Hunger Games — cautionary tales about the fate awaiting a citizenry that allows itself to be deceived by the people in power.
Then the future arrived, and it turned out those bleak fantasies of an all-seeing surveillance state weren’t so farfetched: in the post-9/11 world, someone really is watching, be it Facebook mapping your life’s history for the sake of advertising dollars, or the National Security Agency keeping tabs on your phone calls and text messages in the name of freedom.
U2 force-fed their new album to the world for free and ended up the enemy. Taylor Swift took hers away and ended up a hero.
Swift changed her narrative in 2014, and it wasn’t about ditching country or dating out of the public eye. She became the face of skepticism over how technology has changed music, during a year when the streaming music economy was debated more than ever — not only among artists, whose wellbeing is affected greatly, but in the court of public opinion as well.
If you ever need a reminder that all those rose-tinted remembrances of the pre-internet music industry do not account for the full story, look no further than Steve Albini’s seminal 1993 essay for The Baffler. It’s called, simply, “The Problem With Music.” In it, Albini details the flaws of the major-label music system in actual numbers and simple math — something that’s not done often enough in trade and consumer publications alike when it comes to how musicians actually make their money.