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Posts Tagged ‘Beyonce’

Ignored 110: Big Leaguers

In Graphic on September 22, 2016 at 3:26 am

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Ignored 92: Recounting Pitchfork

In Graphic on June 15, 2016 at 2:56 am

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Ignored 68: 75K to 99.9K records sold

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

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Ignored 23: No cover

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2014 at 11:49 am

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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (& Museum) isn’t much.

I get the gist of what it’s trying to accomplish in creating a singular source (and tourist destination) dedicated to the immensity of popular music. In a (non-obvious) sense, I applaud their efforts in making artistic recognition more athletic recognition-ish.

I love music. I love sports. Let’s squish them together. In Cleveland.

However, on paper, populating a Hall of Fame of musicians makes no sense since artistic appreciation is 100 per cent subjective. Any effort to quantify “everything” is ultimately going to offend in the court of personal preference, not to mention realms such as gender, creed, sexual preference and age.

The physical Hall of Fame opened in 1995 and the concept seemed massively antiquated even at that time. Once Internet became the Internet, YouTube views and Twitter followers and iTunes sales became the new (and more legit) signifiers of “making it” rather than enshrinement and/or the chance to rub elbows with Jann Wenner and friends .

However, maybe that last paragraph doesn’t speak to an apples-to-apples comparison. “Greatest” (in a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (& Museum) sense) shouldn’t be a measure of pure volume.

… and to clarify, that’s volume in the $$$/eyeballs sense and not in the “hey, Dinosaur Jr are f**kin’ loud” sense.

If we’re talking pure metrics, WWW-based signifiers would be more akin to:
– Albums sales
– Number of Billboard Top 10 singles
– Concert tickets sold

For math nerds or Nate Silver-types, these numbers are absolutes. But again, they are merely quantitative counting stats and not qualitative “greatness” measures.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (& Museum) aspires to be the latter.

It never will be.

In short, does anybody really care who gets elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (& Museum)? With the possible exception of Rush (who’s fan base anecdotally has a disproportionate amount of math nerds and Nate Silver-types), there have been few fan bases who visibly gave a (damn) as to whether their favourite artist(s) was/were elected or not.

For modern superstars like Kanye West or the Arcade Fire, is anybody anywhere wondering how their latest album or tour will contribute to their respective Hall of Fame resumes? Of course, not. The Hall will continue to induct acts who are quantitatively great (ABBA, The Eagles) and acts who are qualitatively great (Laura Nyro, Randy Newman).

It’s fine. Nobody really cares and nobody puts any real demands on the Hall. Again, nerdy Rush fans are the exception to this rule. And perhaps the staff of PositivelyCleveland.com.

… strangely, this whole Rock & Rock Hall of Fame (& Museum) spew isn’t even the point of this post. It’s moreso a set-up to assess a pair of other “greatness” measures and determine if they’re still relevant in the present.

Exhibit #A

Most artists who appear on Saturday Night Live have hit some level of critical mass. There have been a few outliers over the years but in general, it’s a pretty static measure of popularity (greatness?).

Janelle Monáe, HAIM, Alabama Shakes and Kendrick Lamar are some of the artists who made the leap in 2013. On paper, appearing on a TV show that is almost four decades old seems a hugely antiquated measure of anything. However, the shareability of these performance via YouTube (and GIFs) gives an SNL appearance a cultural resonance that goes way beyond the original airtime.

Exhibit B

What about the cover of Rolling Stone? In general, nobody buys magazines anymore and Rolling Stone is almost a decade older than SNL. However, back in the day, a Rolling Stone cover was typically a guaranteed measure of both qualitative and quantitative greatness.

… In spite of this and this and this. Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

Circa now, the only time a magazine cover tends to get noticed is when controversy or nudity is involved. Boston (the city, not the band) freaked last year when Rolling Stone put civic bomber Jahar Tsarnaev on its cover, he looking very much like Syd Barrett in the process. Boston’s mayor got mad, a ton of people wrote about the controversy. Etc. Etc.

A hypocrisy ensued because on the one hand, we are conditioned to believe that nobody cares about magazines any more (statistics and this Twitter feed support this). And yet on the other, we are supposed to feign outrage when a player from within this (supposedly dead) medium does something irksome.

Parallel: the public outcry in Toronto over the sale of Honest Ed’s. Arguments rooted in neighbourhood preservation and community are completely valid. But the store itself? Kinda brutal and no doubt teeming the kind of sweatshop-supplied “goodies” that’d make Walmart seem righteous in comparison.

Anyway, the point is that magazines might be dead and/or dying but in the right context, a magazine cover story can still have a broad impact.

So what is the real value of a Rolling Stone cover in 2014?

I think the value is largely rooted in intent. Back in the day, a lot of Rolling Stone cover stories sought to lift the curtain on our heroes. Popular themes: substance abuse, the rigors of the road, grappling with fame, relationships, troubled childhoods, more drugs, more drinks, depression, drugs, rehab, a few more drinks, stronger drugs and death.

The writing had a lot of gravity (not in a bad way). The word “fuck” was typically left in (in a good way). Sometimes the articles were great and insightful. Other times, they were beyond pointless.

A 2003 Rolling Stone cover story on the Strokes is a good example of the latter. Tough assignment for journalist (and The Game purveyor) Neil Strauss, trying to get anything quotable from a band bred to look and sound bored. The full feature can be found here but more interesting is the play-by-play from Strauss’ notepad. Dude gave it the ol’ “college try” but this was an obvious “blood out of stone” scenario. Strauss should be commended for not hurling his pad towards Julian Casablancas’ face.

Again, the value of this brand of puff-y modern journalism is the intent, not the content.

In the present, lifting the curtain is a technique that publicists have reclaimed from journalists and bloggers. Wanna give your fan’s a peek at something? Put a snapshot on Instagram. Release a live recording on your website. Have your bassist tweet something wacky or offensive. Call TMZ.

The content is technical authentic but also completely fabricated. It’s so real, it’s fake.

On the flipside, subjecting oneself to a Rolling Stone cover feature is now (somehow) a post-modern means of letting go. By speaking to this under-read magazine, an artist is making this statement…

Hello. I am temporarily put my image in the hands of this writer. The resulting article will be largely irrelevant unless I say something provocative, stupid or racist. In short, the content doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this interview is an act of trust and I am comfortable with exposing myself in this manner. I hope this makes me look real. Because I am either real or want to be seen as real. Ideally.

This isn’t new. Trust has always been the subtext of any interview. What’s different is with so many more controlled options available to market oneself in the present day, there really is no need to pursue publicity in something as disgustingly antiquated as a (wretch… puke) magazine. Unless you’re consciously trying to make a statement about relinquishing control in a “I have nothing to hide” fashion.

The willingness is a statement. Everything else isn’t much.

Ignored 15: Antisocial networking

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2013 at 7:14 pm

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Fake musicians on social media platforms is nothing new.

Fake Paul Anka has 400+ followers on Twitter while fake “official” Madonna has 2,900+. Fake A$AP Ferg has a terrible “real” Facebook page. This Bon Iver Tumblr page is less “fake” and more “meh”.

Overall, this practice is a whole lot of rubbish.

Sadly. popular professional networking tool LinkedIn (the self-proclaimed “world’s largest professional network“) is not immune to this nonsense.

Frankly, the only thing more ridiculous than creating a fake LinkedIn profile for your favourite musician is creating a blog post that summarizes a bunch of these, gives them a score out of 10 and then ranks them.

Anyway…

Eddie Vedder
Singer en Pearl Jam
Chile – Entertainment
http://cl.linkedin.com/pub/eddie-vedder/17/530/638/fr
Rating: 7/10
Comments: I love this fake profile! Namely because it’s clearly some random dude in Chile who spent all of five seconds creating this and never thinking of it again. This lack of commitment is incredible, even by Internet standards. Big moment!

Elvis Costello
Self made man at Self-Employed Freelance Technical Writer
London, Greater London, United Kingdom (London, United Kingdom) – Writing and Editing
http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/elvis-costello/5b/3b8/710
Rating: 6/10
Comments: I like the assertion that Costello is a “self made man”. Not much else here but that piece is solid.
Viewers of this profile also viewed: 3x fake Iggy Pops, PJ Harvey, Tom Waits (‘experienced entertainer’), Damien Rice

Elvis Presley
Butt Doctor at Phil McCrackin, Ass Specalist
Dwight, Ontario, Canada (Ontario, Canada) – Alternative Medicine
http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/elvis-presley/60/89a/6b0
Rating: 9/10
Comments: There’s a lot to like here and the culprit assumedly lived in Wisconsin based on the “Also viewed” section. Just a really strong effort all around with a nice blend of 5th grade humour and smarts.
Viewer of this profile also viewed: The Mayor of Milwaukee

GG Allin
Worker at Lisbon Seafood
Tiverton, Rhode Island (Providence, Rhode Island Area) – Wholesale
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gg-allin/51/963/731
Rating: 3/10
Comments: Not much to work with here but either way, the notion of GG Allin/”GG Allin” working with food makes me want to avoid Lisbon Seafood, if possible. Y’know, that thing he did with the banana et all…

Kendrick Lamar
Recording Artist at Top Dawg, Aftermath & Interscope
Compton, California (Greater Los Angeles Area) – Music
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kendrick-lamar/63/517/b67
Rating: 8/10
Comments: Assume this is a fake but at least the faker took the time to include actual social media links and plenty of factual whatnot. Shows commitment to the craft!
Viewers of this profile also viewed: Dr. Dre, J Cole, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West

Mike Reno
Independent Entertainment Professional
Vancouver, Canada Area – Entertainment
http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/mike-reno/4/1b0/288
Rating: 5/10
Comments: Uh… I’m not entirely convinced this isn’t the REAL Mike Reno. So no further comments…

Nate Dogg
Badass
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada (Kitchener, Canada Area) – Automotive
http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/nate-dogg/6a/6/6b3
Rating: 10/10
Comments: Now THIS is a fake LinkedIn profile!!! In essence (and in our hearts), the late Nate Dogg is a professional “badass” who lives in Cambridge and works in the automotive industry. A real prime example of stupidity on the Internet!

Slim Shady
Rapper
Beverly Hills, California  (Greater Los Angeles Area) – Investment Management
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/slim-shady/50/268/51a
Rating: 0/10
Comments: Pointless.
Viewers of this profile also viewed:  Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, Lil’ Wayne

Snoop Dogg
Owner, Doggy Style Records
Greater Los Angeles Area – Music
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/snoop-dogg/3b/927/17b
Rating: 4/10
Comments: This is a bit of a “yes, and….???” propisition since it’s not funny yet largely accurate. You’re likely as polarized as I am.
Viewers of this profile also viewed: Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Beyonce Knowles, 50 Cent, Pharrell Williams, Wiz Khalifa

Stephen Malkmus
Musician at Pavement
London, United Kingdom – Human Resources
http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/stephen-malkmus/26/71/798
Rating: 1/10
Comments:  This is weak stuff. A stingy zero connections, Malk never lived in the UK and working in Human Resources is neither funnny nor remotely.
Viewer of this profile also viewed: All four members of “Sonic Youth”, Lou Barlow

To summarize…
1. Fake Nate Dogg
2. Fake Elvis Presley
3. Fake Kendrick Lamar
4. Fake Eddie Vedder
5. Fake Elvis Costello
6. Fake (real?) Mike Reno
7. Fake Snoop Dogg
8. Fake GG Allin
9. Fake Stephen Malkmus
10. Fake Eminem (also known as Slim Shady)