Bleats

Wait, How Long Has This Iranian Music Website Been Editing Women Out Of Their Own Album Covers?

Someone needs to take a Photoshop class.

Melovaz, an Iranian music download site, has taken misogyny to the pettiest possible level. Not only have they decided the women’s bodies are too inappropriate for their site, instead of just getting rid of their album art altogether, they’ve made the totally unnecessary effort of Photoshopping the female artists out.

Twitter

Twitter user @IzzRaifHarz posted a link to the site and several examples, and it is truly bizarre. Most of the world’s most popular artists and albums are hosted on the site, but almost every single woman is blurred out or erased.

You’ve got Billie Eilish’s disembodied legs, a beige blur where Tay Tay used to be, and Lady Gaga being Thanos-snapped out of existence.

My favourite has to be Melovaz’s interpretation of Lady Gaga’s Joanne – the way they’ve depicted a pink hat floating in a pale blue vacuum would be almost poetic if it weren’t so insulting.

It’s not limited to female artists either. Some male artists whose album art features a woman have been altered too, while for no discernible reason other covers have slipped through the cracks. Oh, and vindication for Peppa Pig too, I guess.

Hilariously appalling Photoshop skills aside, there are so many problems with this to unpack. So, clearly the rationale here is that under Islamic law, it’s illegal under most circumstances for a woman to be seen uncovered, which very much includes art and photos. But it’s kind of a double standard to force that on women who don’t share that belief.

Even more hypocritically, it’s not like any of the music itself has been altered from its NSFI (Not Safe For Islam) state, which Iggy Azalea was quick to point out the lunacy of. You can use the site to listen to, and download, the uncensored entirety of Nicki Minaj‘s ‘Anaconda,’ complete with the line “Come through and f**k him in my automobile”.

Come on, random Iranian music website, go hard or go home.

In addition to being distastefully misogynistic, it also happens to be a completely free, downloadable library of popular music. Iran’s copyright law is tough to suss out, but this whiffs of illegal torrenting. Does it even count as a torrent if it’s so low effort?

Roughly translated from Persian (thanks Google), the website states that it “started its work with the aim of creating a specialized reference for the music of the United Nations.”

So piracy is an ambition of the UN now is it, Melovaz? Given that half of the site’s content is ripped straight from Spotify’s curated ‘This Is…’ playlists, it seems unlikely to be sanctioned.

The edit memes are already coming in thick and fast, so if the site had any good reputation before, it certainly won’t by the end of the day. Now, who wants to take bets on how long it takes for the #melovazchallenge to trend?

You Can’t Just Tease An Adele And Beyoncé Collab, Unless You Intend To Follow Through

Ryan Tedder's got us Counting Stars.

OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder dropped the wildest sentence in an interview, and people are quite rightly losing their minds. When radio station Z100 fished for some “secrets” about the band’s upcoming album, he unblinkingly replied, “We’ve got one song featuring Beyoncé and Adele, with a Chris Martin piano solo in the bridge.”

Ryan, you can’t just do that to us! That’s pop royalty you just name-dropped virtually unprompted – I’m surprised the end of the clip wasn’t the interviewer collapsing to the ground with heart failure. Instead, you can just hear Ryan say, “I don’t want to talk-–” before it cuts off.

Release the full clip, you fools!

This has to be BS, doesn’t it? You can’t tell us that someone who has been in the music industry as long as Tedder, someone who has written 150 songs for more than thirty artists, would just ‘accidentally’ slip-up with that kind of a bombshell.

We’re not talking an NME or Billboard interview here, either – this was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it backstage festival chat. Sure, the radio station is the highest rating in New York, but in the grander scheme of things…?

As crazy as it seems, the idea of an Adele/Beyoncé collaboration isn’t totally outside of the realm of possibility. Legends support legends, and Adele would definitely consider herself a member of the Beyhive. Remember when she split her Grammy in half to honour the queen?

Beyoncé and Adele would seem like ridiculous pulls for a single track, were it not for Ryan Tedder’s musical history with both. He wrote ‘Rumour Has It’ and ‘Halo,’ which he conveniently played at the festival where the interview took place. So either Bey was already on his mind, or they were dropping hints onstage too – which doesn’t really help us narrow it down.

Maybe I could suspend disbelief for a Beyoncé feature, but my limits were tested with Adele. She’s really going to come out of a four-year hiatus for a track feature? It’s just not realistic. Then he throws in Coldplay. It’s too much, I tell ya! Should’ve included the tooth fairy and Santa Claus for good measure.

Even if, and that’s a big ‘if,’ this turns out to be true, are we sure this is something we want? Society just isn’t ready for this kind of collab. This is a stellar collision right here, we won’t survive. It’ll break the internet. When Ed Sheeran announced his No. 6 Collaborations Project, people went wild with speculation and hype. Scale that up to Beyoncé levels and you’ll see my point here.

Only time will tell if Tedder is trolling us or not. Honestly, I don’t know if we even deserve that much sonic goodness.

If We’re Not Cancelling Slowthai For His Boris Johnson Severed Head Stunt, We Need To Forgive Kathy Griffin Too

Nothing great about decapitation.

British rapper Slowthai is not in the least bit shy about his political views, either in his songs or on stage. However, his performance at the Mercury Prize ceremony may have gone a tad too far. Yelling ‘f**k Boris Johnson’ is one thing, but Slowthai also flailed around a severed head prop with the aforementioned politician’s likeness.

In May of 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency, comedian Kathy Griffin posed in a now infamous photoshoot with a similarly disturbing effigy, only it was Donald Trump’s image that had been moulded in plastic and dipped in fake blood.

Kathy lost her job at CNN, got placed on the no-fly list, and still gets harassed by strangers more than two years on. She’s been on Hollywood’s blacklist. Slowthai has faced the fury of the Twitterati and a handful of morning show hosts and… that’s about it.

Kathy retracted the photo and apologised. Slowthai is selling t-shirts.

So despite the similar circumstances, why are the reactions so different? Slowthai may have built his artistic brand around political commentary, but Kathy Griffin has also spent her whole career being controversial.

Twitter

For a start, being hounded by the leader of the free world is obviously going to escalate things. For once, a Trump celeb feud was actually somewhat warranted, but still dude – you should know not to send your millions of devotees after one person. On the other hand, as far as anyone knows, the British PM hasn’t said anything about slowthai’s stunt.

Then there’s the two years of total political chaos creating the perfect storm for this kind of thing. There are plenty of op-eds out there lamenting the ‘normalisation of political violence’, and whilst the severed heads clearly have an artistic purpose, the world has definitely gotten a lot angrier.

There’s no question that brandishing a severed head – even a fake one – is shocking and distasteful. Most of us would agree on that.

Regardless of how you feel about the artists, or the world leaders they mock, or even how they go about it, it’s not exactly fair that one has to fall so much further and harder than the other. Cancel both or neither, cause there’s nothing great about a double standard.

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