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.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Seaborn Gray