Bleats

All The Outrageous Music Merch That’s Had Us Shook Over The Past Decade

From Taylor Swift's Tiananmen Square reference to Ariana Grande's dick jumper, we are confused, to say the least.

Music merchandise has become increasingly more important over the years. As the music industry has shifted from digital downloads to streaming, artists are “selling” their albums less and less. However, what they are selling is merchandise. As such, the production of merchandise has increased substantially, with many artists taking the direction of their offering often into strange areas. So, without further ado, here’s a whole bunch of weird merch from artists you know and love.

The Weeknd’s Vape

Credit: PAX

When The Weeknd released his vape in collaboration with PAX, he was simultaneously promoting his song “The Hills”, which contains the lyric “When I’m f*cked up, that’s the real me”. So, as you can imagine, this vape is actually quite on-brand for The Weeknd. 

Kacey Musgrave’s Colouring Book

Credit: Kacey Musgraves Shop

Okay, so I kind of see the relevance with this one. Considering Kacey Musgraves has a song called “Rainbow”, this unusual piece of merchandise definitely passes with flying colours. What better way to get your fans into the rainbow-mood, than by getting them to do it themselves. Plus, the colouring book is illustrated by Kacey’s mother, Karen Musgraves. We love a family moment!

Travis Scott’s Action Figure

Credit: Travis Scott Shopify

There’s a new doll on the block and he’s got a “SICKO MODE”. Released in 2015, this action-figure is actually the same doll on his Rodeo album cover. However, with a price point of $150USD, we aren’t sure who in the world is getting this bad boy. Maybe if your earnings are the highest in the room… 

Taylor Swift’s Controversial Shirt

Credit: Taylor Swfit’s Online Store

We should have known this was trouble when it walked in. If you’re a super Swiftie, you may not recognise how this particular piece of clothing might be considered controversial. But to the normal eye, this reads “T.S. 1989” as in Tiananmen Square: 1989. And as China’s notoriously known for censoring the slightest reference to the incident, her merch expansion to the country was insensitive, to say the least. 

BROCKHAMPTON’s Skipping Rope

Credit: BROCKHAMPTON’s Online Store

Now, you can make like Dom McLennon and “skip on the beat like (you’re) Pee-Wee Herman”, literally! Introducing the official BROCKHAMPTON jump-rope! This piece of merch is destined to get you jumping around to all the GINGER sad-boy bangers. 

LMFAO’s Sunnies

Credit: Party Rock Clothing

In 2008, Kanye West rocked some sunnies and we all thought to ourselves, how does he see through them? Well, in 2012, he was trumped by none other than LMFAO! These shuffler’s put the “art” in party with their aesthetically gorgeous sunnies! Just… don’t drive with them. Please? 

Ariana Grande’s Questionable Sweater

Credit: Twitter

Once in a blue moon, a pop queen releases merchandise so bad that it becomes iconic. This year, Ariana Grande was that queen. Her design aesthetic embodied that of a Microsoft 98 Paint meets questionable, suggestive shapes. Is that a giant blue dick on a sweater? Yes. Do we want to buy it? Yes.

What Ever Happened To Mix Gender Pop Groups?

They were 5, 6, 7, GREAT!

The late ’90s were a wild time. Bubblegum pop had been birthed, baggy jeans were in fashion, and the hardest decision of your life revolved around choosing between a Backstreet Boys or a Spice Girls doll at your local Toys’R’Us. 

Since then, the boy-band and the girl-group have not only evolved, they’ve thrived. We’ve seen K-POP come and dominate our senses with their infectious videos embedded with virality.

BROCKHAMPTON have rebranded the “boy-band” to be more inclusive of PoC members, queer members and other sonic influences. And girl-groups have branched out to the alternative music scene with HAIM at the forefront. But what made this golden age of pop-groups quintessentially golden, has since been forgotten. Yes, we’re talking about mix-gendered pop groups. 

There really ain’t no party like an S Club party.

Mix-gendered pop groups were incredible. They ripped apart traditional, gendered stereotypes and promoted equality for kids. Suddenly, from action figures and domesticated dolls, we had boys and girls co-existing, playing with puppies together, dancing around the CBD together, even quad-biking together. 


5,6,7,8 walked so that Hoedown Throwdown could run.

The nexus of this energy is embodied by the incomparable, S Club 7. The singing, dancing, acting ‘Britpack’ was something never-before-seen in pop culture. They pumped out timeless bangers, a BBC television series (Miami 7) and merchandise we could only dream of owning. And while they now go by S Club 3, their legacy is probably best seen in the marketable pop-groups that dabble in television, such as Liberty X & Scandal’Us, both coming out of Popstars

Remember this song? Neither did we!

But, aside from the positive messaging and TV entertainment, the songs were incredible too. We honestly wouldn’t have David Guetta and Calvin Harris without the infectious euro-dance pop that The Vengaboys and AQUA gave us. Not to mention the Black Eyed Peas, who normalised pop-rap, so that your favourite artists could exist today!

So, with all this in mind, why the hell don’t we have mix-gender groups? I mean, they’re fairly existent in the alternative music scene but, you don’t need me to tell you that. Considering they’ve been so successful in the past, their absence in 2019 is deafening. 

Since this golden age, we’ve seen a retreat to masculinity and femininity as a locus for these pop-groups, but with a new lens. Boy-bands like One Direction have redefined masculinity in favour for a less toxic one and girl-groups like BLACKPINK have taken the independent-womengirl-power mantra to a whole new level.

So are mix-gender pop groups no longer marketable? We hope not. All I’m saying is, the best band of all time, ABBA, was a mix-gendered group, and no one has made better music than them.

BTS, Peppa Pig & All The Snubs That Prove The Grammys Are Outta Touch

The Grammy's need to calm down.

The Grammy nominations are always contentious. From nominating artists in categories they have no place in, to nominating artists who don’t necessarily deserve it, The Grammy’s picks for music’s highest honour often rub some fans the wrong way. But, where it hits us the hardest are the artists that they snub. And so, to catch you up to speed, here are the biggest snubs from the 2020 Grammy nominations.

Peppa Pig

The 7-foot-tall, 4-year-old has been nothing short of iconic in 2019. With her first album, aptly titled My First Album, being released in April this year, she’s given her hardcore stans all the timeless bops they needed whilst simultaneously impacting the Irish, Scottish and UK charts. Reasons why she was snubbed are unclear – it could be her infamous beef with Iggy Azalea or the London Fire Brigade, but hopefully, The Grammy’s will listen to her plea to be taken seriously. 

Taylor Swift

Yes, she was nominated for Song of the Year for ‘Lover,’ Best Pop Solo Performance for ‘You Need to Calm Down,’ and Best Pop Vocal Album for Lover. But when we’re talking about Taylor, this is considered a snub. Notably, T-Swizzle is absent from the Album of the Year category, one that she has won on two separate occasions, leading Swities around-the-world to lose it. Given all the drama that’s unfolded this year, it’s not hard to see why Swifties are mad that TayTay losing the chance to win AOTY for an LP that she actually owns. 

BTS

With the drop of their album Map of the Soul: Persona, the seven-piece K-pop machine rose to critical and commercial acclaim. The LP also earned them their third chart-topping album within an 11-month period. So, why the hell are the biggest boy-band in the world being snubbed from music’s highest honour? Who friggen knows. All we do know is, the constant snubbing of K-pop artists leads to an even bigger divide between the Academy and the actual interests of everyone. Mic drop.

Megan Thee Stallion & City Girls

The Grammy’s have never been good when it comes to acknowledging rap music. With this set of nominations, we see rap music being largely shut out of the major four categories (yet again) and only men dominating the other rap categories. As such, the biggest issue here is the lack of acknowledgement to Megan Thee Stallion & City Girls who have arguably shaped the rap-music scene much more than their male counterparts in 2019. 

“thank u, next” – Ariana Grande

The title-track of Ariana’s latest LP will go down as one of the greatest pop songs of this decade. It’s unclear why the wildly contentious, quasi-problematic 7 Rings has snagged a Record of the Year shoutout and thank u, next hasn’t. I would like to speak to the manager, please.

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