The 11 Stupidest Events from the World of Music, 2009 Edition
Hi there, 2009. Please have a seat. Are you comfortable? Would you like some coffee, or perhaps a cigarette? No? Okay, good. Let's just cut straight to the point, then. You suck, and frankly we're sick of your bullshit. You were an awful year, filled not just with economic collapse, scary right-wing backlash, and a multitude of celebrity deaths (some of whom we didn't even hate), but some of the stupidest music-related shit we've ever seen. Oh, you don't believe us? Well, that's okay, 2009, because you see, we've been taking notes. Here are all the dumbest events within the music community to happen during your irresponsible tenure. No no, stay seated. Seriously, move again and we'll break your ankles. 11. Solange Knowles Live-Tweets Her Own Overdose Now, don't get us wrong. We love Basement Baby and the way she flips off the press with one hand and embraces her fans with the other. Therefore we were all the more disappointed when she was the first celebrity to provide a real-time account of an overdose. Honestly, we'd have preferred it from an Amy Winehouse, a Pete Doherty or a Courtney Love, or some other drug-addled meathead too strung out on bathtub crank to type properly. But Solange passing out in a baggage claim after taking too much cough syrup? Sounds like a lame-ass story we'd hear at a family reunion. We're glad Solange is okay, and we hope she's learned her lesson: leave the OD'ing to the train wrecks. 10. EMI Quits Selling CDs Out of Indie Music Stores EMI Records, which, with the help of various subsidiaries, handles bands like Art Brut, LCD Soundsystem, Sigur Rós and the White Stripes, decided to cut independent record shops out of its sales system. Their artists will now be sold exclusively by one-stop stores like Best Buy and - gag - Walmart. Like any other clueless corporate giant, EMI blames file-sharing for its waning profits, despite the fact that pretty much every study done on the subject shows that people who download music illegally spend more on music in general than those who don't . Even if they were right about the cause, where is the logic behind cutting off indie record shops, where the people who still really, really care about music go to buy stuff? Stuff like, oh, maybe Art Brut, LCD Soundsystem, Sigur Rós and/or White Stripes albums and merchandise? Are we really to believe there's no profit to be had at these places? It really seems like just another desperate move by a record company floundering in the dark. Next thing you know, they'll be suing people for singing to themselves as they go about their daily business. 9. Record Companies Sue Singing Clerk In England, something called the Performing Rights Society tried to sue Sandra Burt for playing her radio where she worked (a grocery store) and then, when she stopped, threatened to sue her for singing to herself as she went about her daily business. Jesus Christ. We thought people who run companies like this were supposed to be smart. Did no one think it might be bad publicity to rattle their lawyer-sabers over a sweet-looking, matronly pepperpot keeping herself entertained while she stocked groceries? Still, at least it ended well. Since the story is set in England, the PRS eventually realized they were being right proper douchebags and issued a tasteful, sincere apology accompanied by a bouquet of flowers. If this had happened in America, right now Sandra Burt would be the happiest bag lady singing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on her way to the Circle K to see if she's panhandled enough change to afford today's bottle of MD 20/20.
8. Chris Cornell. Timbaland. Shudder. For some reason, Chris Cornell got it into his head that the thing to do would be to call noted R&B/pop producer Timbaland into his studio to overproduce the bejeezus out of his next album. The results were a morbid curiosity, like a fire in a fireworks factory, or if the first couple of Ween albums had been serious. What possessed Cornell to take some surprisingly decent rock songs and mercilessly squeeze all the heart and soul out of them? Why the sudden streak of musical sadism? We have no idea. On the other hand, it resulted in probably the funniest thing Trent Reznor's ever done , aside from dating Courtney Love. Speaking of which... 7. Courtney Love Hates Jews , Sues Guitar Hero , Loses Her Money , Also Her Daughter So the erstwhile Mrs. Cobain chose 2009 as the year she decided to break down in a full-on gale-force whirlwind of stupid-crazy. Give her credit: she held on for a lot longer than any of us here at Rocks Off thought she would. She started off the year with a bang, spewing anti-Semitic nonsense during an interview for a magazine called Heeb , and continued to snowball into madness, suing the companies behind Guitar Hero for including a character that resembled Kurt Cobain, before revealing that she'd lost just about all of her money somehow. Who knows where it all went (hint: she ain't what you'd call a "natural" skinny), but finally the authorities did what they should have done the second Kurt pulled the trigger: took Frances Bean away from her so the girl would have half a chance at turning out somewhat less than completely fucked up. For God's sakes, Courtney, you're 45 years old. Your daughter is going to start college soon. Fucking get it together. The "tragic doomed youth" thing isn't cute anymore when you're months away from menopause. 6. Pretty Much Everything Weezer Did Weezer... please go away. Just go away, and we'll try to pretend none of the albums after Pinkerton ever happened. Okay, look, we'll even pretend that some of the songs off Maladroit were long-lost B-sides and cherish them, too. But you can't expect us to follow you down this ridiculous road that has long been bordering on David Lee Roth-level self-parody. There's a reason why Roth's most relevant evidence of musical influence these days is a coked-up cartoon clown . From promoting a custom Snuggie to collaborating with Kenny G to releasing an album called Raditude , it's sad to see a once-great band indulging in silly antics they're surely hoping will be interpreted as ironic. First, you guys are too old for that kind of irony. Second, those paychecks aren't very ironic, are they, boys? As much as it irks us to imagine Weezer chuckling smugly all the way to the bank, we can't help but imagine that they'd probably cut the bullshit immediately if they thought for one second that they could produce an album as respected and relevant as either of their first two. The fact that they persist with all this lame-stunt crap (Lil Wayne on a Weezer album? Seriously?) shows that they don't think they can, and this is the only way to keep their faces out there. They've given up, and yet still, somehow, they persist. Sad.
5. The Aerosmith/Steven Tyler Debacle First, Joe Perry announced on Twitter Aerosmith was in the market for a new singer. Steven Tyler awoke from his drug relapse long enough to squeak "News to me!" before passing out again. Then there commenced an uncertain, foggy period: denials and mixed messages abounded. Maybe they were breaking up, maybe they weren't, maybe they were just dumping Tyler after all, nobody really knew what the hell was going on. Names like Lenny Kravitz and even Buckcherry's Josh Todd were bandied about as possible replacements, but every musician mentioned by the press declined to get involved in any way. This was briefly big news, before all at once everyone realized: nobody fucking cares. About anything anyone in Aerosmith does or says. When was the last time they released a semi-listenable song? Early '90s? When the guy from Buckcherry has better things to do than front your band, it's over. Take Tyler's stint in rehab as a sign and just quietly pack it in. 4. Pete Doherty Sings Nazi Anthem... In Germany Pete, maybe you could clear something up for us real quick: are you a junkie, or are you retarded? In all the history of rock and rollers who've taken then stage in Munich while high as a kite on any number of substances, not one of them, other than you, saw fit to sing the Nazi Party's anthem "Deutschland Uber Alles" until he had to be hauled offstage. You see, Pete, Germany's grandparents were responsible for the single biggest cultural failure in all of recorded history, and so their grandkids... well, they're a mite sensitive about it, as you may imagine. You're lucky they didn't kill you, you stupid-ass clown shoe. 3. Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift at the VMAs In a moment so ridiculous it spawned an Internet meme , an ego with sunglasses resembling Kanye West took the stage before Taylor Swift could even really begin her acceptance speech for the MTV Video Music Award she'd just won, and stopped her short. He went on to blurt that Beyonce had "one of the greatest videos of all time... of all time!" before handing the microphone back to the mortified teenager. Another dick move in a career of dick moves, this one seemed to be the breaking point for the general public. The backlash against West was so huge, he seemed in shock and awe, scarcely able to believe he'd done such a thing. He promptly issued a frenzied but sincere apology and went virtually into hiding, emerging only for brief apology-laden appearances. Between this and the humbling South Park episode, could this have been the year Kanye finally learns his lesson, that lesson being that constantly acting like a bipolar toddler is considered off-putting? Hell, maybe. Snoop Dogg gave up weed a couple years back, so anything is possible. (Snoop's still off the weed, right? Right?)
2. Chris Brown Beats the Shit Out of Rihanna, Wishes She'd Quit Making Such a Big Deal About It It was bad enough that soulful pop star Chris Brown turned out to be the kind of person who would wail on his girlfriend until she called the police in terror. But the salt in the wound was how Brown handled it, issuing insincere, nonspecific apologies which only vaguely alluded to what we all know happened, instead of bluntly accepting responsibility. After Rihanna's tearful interview where she came across as a heartbroken victim instead of the vengeful harpy Brown would have no doubt preferred, he nonetheless made statements saying he wished Rihanna would keep the matter private. No shit, right, Chris? The nerve of that girl, to drag your dirty laundry out into public, which, by the way, just happens to be the same place where you pounded her face into hamburger. Really, we're glad Brown and Rihanna never made it home to privacy, because according to the police report , he threatened to kill her once they got there. And for once, we think he may have been telling the truth. 1. Quacks Kill Michael Jackson A lot of people were surprised when Michael Jackson's autopsy revealed that he was not taking any illegal drugs. Why would he, when far superior prescription drugs were readily available via a ring of dubious "doctors" he had surrounded himself with? We acknowledge that Jackson was an adult and therefore somewhat responsible for his actions... but really, how much of an adult was he? Even setting aside allegations that were never conclusively proven, his bizarre public behavior over the last 20 years or so painted a picture of a hopelessly damaged man forever trying to recapture the innocence of a youth he never had, having been treated as a singing, dancing ATM by his father who used a series of jabs and hooks as his PIN number. Jackson never really became an adult, and unfortunately, there seemed to be no one watching over him to make sure assorted Hollywood remoras wouldn't take advantage of him. Hence, he became addicted to numerous painkillers and sedatives until, finally, one stopped his heart. His death has finally been ruled a homicide, and his chief "doctor," Houston's own Conrad Murray, is justifiably in a world of shit. It's just moronic that there was evidently no way to stop what happened before it did. Oh, one more tidbit of good news: until Murray gets convicted of murder, he's going to keep practicing medicine right here in Houston! Fuck off then, 2009. Everybody hates you.
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