Election years tend to carry more chaos then normal ones, but there was something else going on in 2012. Maybe it's the aura of apocalypse made people a little stranger this year.
We had the Syrian Civil War, the Aurora Shooting, Israel being dicks to Gaza and vice versa, Mitt Romney was treated like a reasonable human being, somehow Obama got another pass, Ron Paul quit, Sandy threw up all over the East Coast and I got fired from my job selling cheesecake at Costco because I slept with my girlfriend instead of going to work. Insane, indeed.
The world of music wasn't exempt. In fact, in many ways, these musicians were more spoiled and out of control than silly little politicians saying silly little things to their silly little voters. What follows are The 10 Most What The Fuck Moments of 2012.
Justin Bieber Pukes
Throwing up on stage is no biggie. It's happened to plenty of females, like Adele, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna and most recently, Justin Bieber. The difference is, Bieber didn't run off stage like the other girls, so we got to watch this video over and over and over and over. No wonder it accumulated like a billion views in a few hours. It's delightful.
Bieber gets a pass, however, because he isn't bulimic and (probably) isn't pregnant. He was clearly poisoned by Tempe pop culture thieves MAN-CAT, as explained in this informative video by the Association for Artistic Integrity:
Fiona Apple's Pot Bust
Texas border towns are the worst and you'd think your tour bus driver would know that. Unfortunately for Fiona Apple, she didn't avoid Sierra Blanca, a little shitstain of a town that is infamous for busting musicians with drugs. Apple, like Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg before her, was taken into custody for having a tiny amount of pot and hash.
Apple later told a crowd in Houston that she had evidence against the cops that laughed at her all night, that she had written in code, torn up and put into two lock boxes. Um, OK. The sheriff responded, saying he was "already more famous than her" and continued to laugh at her. Just in case we aren't clear here, these men dragged this woman off a bus, ridiculed her all night in a cage and are now demanding money like some kind of backwards kidnappers. All because she was in possession of a harmless plant.
Future generations are not going to look back on prohibitionists kindly. Whenever you have those old timey snapshots of puritans smashing barrels of Budweiser in the street, you probably think it's insane. What excessive exercise of power and greed! What incredible shortsightedness! What a waste of perfectly good beer!
This year's legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington were landmark moves because it's made this country a little fucking normal again. It's a war against drugs and half-baked stoners and little weeds from the Hindu Kush mountains are winning! The more police forces persecute normal, hard-working folks like this, the more idiotic they'll look to future generations. After all, 15,000 years of cannabis consumption the world over hasn't stopped people from safely enjoying themselves in the best possible way that doesn't involve pregnancy: getting baked.
Did you know that Chris Brown is 23? I thought he was something like 12. Not sure how else I'd explain his long string of bad decisions, this year alone. Bad decisions such as dressing like a terrorist for Halloween, pissing dirty on a drug test, deleting his Twitter account a bunch of times for sexist, stupid comments and generally, just being Chris Brown. So it almost isn't a surprise that his latest neck tattoo closely resembles the police photo snapped back when Brown smacked Rihanna around.
Brown denied it of course, saying it was this half-dead zombie girl, but think of how shortsighted this idiocy truly is. You should never get a neck tattoo in the first place. Rihanna only responded by getting an equally terrible tattoo underneath her rack. Blegh.
I guess Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together, which is kind of sad, but also kind of shows how powerful forgiveness is. Yeah, the couple has denied their relationship status to the press, but that makes sense if they want to avoid a lot of unnecessary attention. Yet, if that's true, explain to me why RiRi is Instagramming (Is that a verb? It is now.) photos of her cuddling up to Breezy. I want to believe these people were born without the ability to use foresight, (or pick decent nicknames for themselves) but they're probably just screwed up.
The Flaming Lips frontman has done everything this year from selling his collaborator's blood to recording a War of the Worlds-like radio special concerning a human faced tumor on his leg. When TSA discovered a disarmed grenade inside his suitcase, it caused huge delays at Will Rogers Airport, causing one traveler to lose $1,000. Coyne agreed to compensate the traveler by dropping acid with him, which is enviable.
But perhaps the most controversial thing to happen to Coyne this year was his Twitter spat with Erykah Badu. The two were filming a music video for a cover "The First Time I Saw Your Face" that, true to Flaming Lips style, featured lots of weird fluids. Coyne prematurely tweeted a few images and Pitchfork premiered a rough cut of the video, causing Badu to balk that it wasn't what she agreed to appear in and it was posted without her permission.
Seeing as Badu has flaunted her nudity on the streets of Dallas before, it wasn't the naughty bits that offended her, but the way it was edited. She said in a statement "I never would have approved that tasteless, meaningless, shock motivated video." I guess she's just not cool enough for Coyne.
The controversy garnered the video thousands of more views, but in the end Coyne just reshot the video with Amanda Palmer instead. Speaking of which...
Amanda Fucking Palmer
Did you know she actually refers to herself that way? Amanda Fucking Palmer. I like that.
Pretty fitting for someone who pretty much only sings about her genitals or flashes her chest every chance she gets. Palmer showed her ta-tas in another video directed by Wayne Coyne for "Do It With A Rockstar," showed them for a protest she made about "free digital content" and flashed them yet again when she raised $1.2 million for her Kickstarter program to record the album Theatre is Evil.
That's cool, I guess. But it wasn't cool to a lot of people that Palmer raised so much money, then begged the horn and string players in her Grand Theft Orchestra to play for free. Well, the actual compensation was beer, merch and hugs. Great. Steve Albini called Amanda Fucking Palmer an idiot and she changed her mind, deciding to pay the folks who help make her money. No word if she also flashed them. Which reminds me...
All The Nudity!
Speaking of nudity, what's with all the celebrities almost totally baring it all? Rihanna all but showed nipple on her Unapologetic album cover and Lady Gaga did a pose in nothing but a skin-colored thong, plus dozens of the typical nip-slips and what-have-you.
Not that there's much wrong with that. Personally, I think nudity is fine and censoring it is like saying women's breasts are obscene, which is the opposite of true. But the conservative majority seems to lose their shit the second they see an aureola. Everything else is on the pizza is fine, but not the pepperoni. I don't think I'll ever understand that.
On the other hand, nudity isn't really all that interesting, especially if you have high speed internet. The point of this is that more and more, celebrities seem to be getting closer to just spreading their legs for the camera and making that their album artwork. Death Grips sort of did that (more on that later) and then, Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls did a side-project with her husband, Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles called Haunted Hearts. Of all the images in the world they could have chosen for an album cover, they chose this totally NSFW shot of someone's fuzzy crotch. Real original and deep, guys.
If you're unaware of #Seapunk, well, you're not missing much. It's just a bunch of stolen '90s ocean imagery parading as an art movement on Tumblr and Twitter. The problem is, Azealia Banks and Rihanna (boy, she gets mentioned in this rundown a lot, doesn't she?) borrowed heavily from the "genre." This started a fervent and kind of sad Twitter war.
As I've said before, seapunk isn't even really a subgenre of electronic music, despite what Wikipedia claims, because seapunk doesn't add anything to EDM's musical aesthetic. In other words, it doesn't sound any different from any other EDM stuff. It's not like there are actually dolphin squeaks used as backing beats or something. Unlike other internet meme genres that accidentally became serious like witch house and trap muzik, seapunk is merely just a turquoise fashion statement.
It ain't really punk, either. Sure, it's got that DIY flair, but photoshopping a pixilated sea cow and posting it to Tumblr isn't quite on par with The Sex Pistols, spiking a Mohawk or ironing anarchist symbols to your leather jacket. If anything, seapunk is more aquakitsch. I know exactly what some people will say: What cultural movements have you started? Admittedly, none, if you're really convinced this hashtag nonsense counts as relevancy.
In the approximately two weeks it takes for this cultural stain to "vanish utterly," something even more lame will inevitably take its place. But if all it takes to change pop culture is to rip off animated Angelfire graphics, wear a SpongeBob t-shirt and then tweet/twat about my own genius, I can do that. I call dibs on #CivilWarReenactmentThrashMetal. Or how about, #EgyptianAcidJazz? Wait, I got it: #ButterflyDubstep, or #Butterstep for short. I can't wait till Lady Gaga rips that one off.
The most viewed video in YouTube history, beating out Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, is the mega-hit by South Korean pop star Psy. This is incredible. Not to be a hipster, but I did hear this song way back when the views were in the 1,000s. I thought it was awesome, but didn't realize it had this most potential. As soon as I started hearing it everywhere I went, my ears did double-takes (or whatever ears do like that.)
Perhaps the most WTF aspect of this tune is the public's reaction to it, especially from culturally illiterate folks like Bill O' Reilly, who expressed his confusion on his show. How out of touch can one get? He doesn't even seem aware Korean is a language, saying "At least Elvis had words in his songs." The pudgy pundit discussed the absurdity with psychiatrist Keith Albow, who compares listening to "Gangnam Style" to getting high all the time and wasting one's life.
But the best part is, it's actually a pretty clever song, commenting on the upper class in Seoul. Not sure how many folks actually researched that after seeing the video, but jeez, the song isn't vapid. In my opinion, it's refreshing, much better than hearing "Call Me Maybe" over and over.
The dick pics, the media silence, canceling a huge tour, leaking their own album, getting dropped from Epic Records... Almost nothing Death Grips has done is without tinges of WTF? At first, all this nonsense appeared to be a publicity stunt, then it seemed (to me, at least) to be childish idiocy, but the SPIN interview really got to the heart of it: it was all about the music and the label just didn't understand that. Aww. Hopefully, Grips can recover from their rough year and it's doubtful they're done shocking and awing us.
At its height, the Pussy Riot controversy was really funny to listen to on NPR, because they would say "pussy" over and over and over in their funny British accents. But it's a serious matter.
Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre referred to Pussy Riot on his blog, something to the effect of "Name one song." He's totally missing the point. Pussy Riot may have only recorded a few tracks, but their stunt in the Russian Orthodox Church, where they said a prayer to Saint Mary asking for the removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was all that mattered. Arrested and convicted for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred," three of the band members face two years in prison. One of the girls, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was let go on probation, but the future still looks grim for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.
The outpouring of support came all across the board - Madonna, Moby, Paul McCartney, Peaches, Die Antwoord and tons of others expressed their solidarity. The outrage sparked protests all across the globe and soon everyone, including Jesus in a South Park episode, were raising banners and donning balaclavas.
That really takes the cake in terms of WHAT THE FUCK. Imagine that this happened in America? Let's say, you lived in Portland, Oregon and also had some extremist political views, so the FBI broke down your door, stole all your stuff, then threw you in front of a jury not much unlike Putin's kangaroo courts, all because the FBI said you were at a riot in Seattle when you totally weren't. That's crazy, right? That shit only happens in Russia, right?
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Troy Farah also does stuff on this website that (coincidentally) bears his name: troyfarah.com