Bleats

Lana Del Rey Slamming A Critic For A Review Is Petty AF

Now that music is cheaper than water, we've got to work out the value we place on it ourselves.

Lana Del Rey got angry with a critic. It’s not the first time an artist felt someone got them wrong, and it’s not the first time that an artist has gone public with their petty disdain, but it’s definitely time to ask… well, why bother?

Sure, it’s been a bit Striesand Effect-y, since we probably wouldn’t have cared about Ann Powers’ (positive, intriguing, thoughtful) review of the new album Norman Fucking Rockwell! had Ms DR not chosen to hit up Twitter and complain about it.

Although nice clapback from Th0rn here, making the well-phrased observation:

But all that aside, and as a music writer of longer than I’d like to admit it breaks my heart to say it, but there’s never been a time to give less of a damn about what critics think than now.

There are barely any of us working in fulltime music criticism these days, certainly compared to previous decades, and our influence is somewhere below that of a car dealership forwarding memes on Instagram. Lana getting petty at a critic just looks like punching downward.

And that’s not least because nowadays anyone can listen to the record for themselves the second of release, thanks to it being 2019. It made sense to have some trusted voice say “yeah, this is worth your time” before you dropped $30 on a CD; nowadays, who cares?

Also, you’re one hundred feet tall. You could crush us without trying!

So given that the gatekeepers are less important now that access to music is less an exclusive nightclub and more a wide open paddock, and that a review is unlikely to make a tangible difference in the somewhat-reduced financial circumstances of artists, it’s never been more important for artists to just goddamn love what they do.

And getting angry with a critic for having an opinion – you know, the job – is just petty.

After all, there’s no shortage of music out there and it’s never been more accessible. You’re not just competing with the new hot things; you’re going head to head with the Beatles and Madonna and Prince and whatever else the algorithm throws up.

So surely – SURELY! – these days artists would be only making records they feel a deep personal need to make and with which they are in artistic love.

Because if you’re in love with your own album, Lana, no critic’s opinion is going to matter a damn bit.

FKA Twigs Tearing Open Her Stitches While Dancing In An Ad Is Next Level Commitment

Fortunately the ad went viral, as opposed to bacterial.

FKA Twigs is an artist who does not do things by halves and if that means having to tear her stitches out while dancing in an ad for Apple every so often then hey, so be it.

This vile piece of information was gleaned from a new i-D interview with Ms Twigs, known to her mum as Tahliah Debrett Barnett, in which she explained that recovery from a piece of uterine surgery ended up accidentally coinciding with filming an ad with Spike Jonze.

You’ve probably seen the 2018 ad. It looks like this:

And we get it: people don’t want to give up a chance to shake a hoof for one of the best directors on the planet. But…

“I had tumours in my uterus, so I had an operation to have those removed. Then, four weeks after my operation, I get a call from Spike Jonze.”

It turned out that she had to do some impromptu moves right then, on FaceTime, and then fly her to LA the next week.

“I looked like death, I looked disgusting. I wasn’t supposed to be moving. And Spike’s like, ‘Okay, so we’re gonna play the song and I need you to dance around your living room to it’. I was fully going for it and literally feeling like my uterus was gonna fall out. I didn’t tell them about the surgery or that I had all these stitches in my bellybutton. It was grim. It was grim as f***.”

Surely being in that Google Glass ad was painful enough?

And it gets better! And by better, we mean… more post-surgical.

“When I was on set with Spike, the stitches in my bellybutton were splitting open. I told him: ‘Just so you know, if I start bleeding through this white shirt…’. I basically couldn’t lift my arms up, because all your organs stick together and you can’t stretch your stomach.”

Fortunately everything stayed where it was meant to be and FKA Twigs is now without stitches again and free to dance with abandon.

Meanwhile, now we can’t look at that ad without clenching.

These Are The TV Show Soundtracks You'll Never Get Out Of Your Head

Four must-listens, and one strong avoid-at-all-costs.

You know, for a long, long time the soundtrack to the average TV show was, at best, an afterthought: whacking some obvious song cues in for a romantic scene or a car chase, and then some contemporary hits of the day, maybe with someone we’ve been forced into including on the show.

It wasn’t until shows like The OC and Buffy came out with a strong niche-age audience that someone went “hey, let’s get someone with an actual idea about music to choose some songs to go in the ear-place of our viewers.”

And thus was the Musical Supervisor born, and now no show worth its tie-in media is without it. And it made career too. Think Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ and Grey’s Anatomy, or Sia’s ‘Breathe Me’ and Six Feet Under. Goddamn, those people are kingmakers.

And we live in a goddam golden age of good sounding shows, including the ones we’re about to get into.

Just to be clear, these are playlist-ready tunes rather than ones with amazing commissioned soundtracks. So not the stirring scores-made-for-the-actual-show (thanks for playing, Game of Thrones; goddamn you’re perfect, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s Stranger Things score).

The Genre Nailer: Glow

The jubilant eighties vibe of the show starts with the (sort of) theme song – ‘The Warrior’ by Scandal featuring Patti Smyth – and it would have been super easy to just pull out the standard pop hits as per the cues in Stranger Things.

It’s when they go deep, like pulling out Siouxie & the Banshees or Yazoo cuts that really deserve the chef’s kisses.

The Accidental History Lesson: This Is Us

When you’ve got a show that leaps between timelines it’s helpful (and easy!) to indicate where you are via musical references, but This Is Us just pulls them off so damn well.

One scene will have Cat Stevens or Stephen Stills, and then BANG! we’ve jumped forward and it’s the Cure or Jason Mraz or Inara George. It’s a TV show soundtrack as an education.

The Primer: Luke Cage

The Marvel series about the indestructible man kept him soundtracked with deep jazz cuts and modern soul, managing to evoke the Shaft comparisons without being beholden to them.

And sure, Wu Tang and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings work perfectly, but it was one of the quieter moments that really made clear just how inspired their music supervision was: pulling out Nina Simone’s version of the standard ‘Plain Gold Ring’.

The New Original Classics: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

With songs that jump from 80s synth pop to country to protest marches to slow jams to hip hop to everything in between Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s music was always its secret weapon even as the show got more convoluted.

But if you’ve ever thought “hey, what would Huey Lewis and the News sound like if they did more songs about being bisexual?” then yes, they’ve answered that question for you too.

You’re welcome.

The Worst: Riverdale

Sure, the show is turning into some sort of parody of a parody of itself, but just when you think “that’s it, I can’t even watch this show any more” they’ll suddenly drop some a goddamn awful cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Union Of The Snake’ or something which raises so many more questions than it answers.

The existence of the Pussycats should mean awesome pop tunage, as per every single other incarnation of them, but in this universe they do nothing but covers and they’re always ghastly.

Burn it to the ground and then burn the ashes just to be sure.

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