The Thoughtless Fear and Hate of Popular Artists: In Defence of Miley and Yeezy


There’s a nineties hangover that some of us nursed for many years into the new millennium. A relic from a time when commercial pop music was generally pretty banal, safe and dull. It is a shadow that kept me from a multitude of great music, and one that people need to get past already. It’s the fear of the mainstream, a dull assumption that T-Swiz, Kanye, Gaga and Katy Perry are crap, when actually, they’re not. It hit home for me when, after having thoughtlessly written Kanye West off for years, towing the South Park line, I actually listened to a song (Welcome to Heartbreak). I instantly fell in love, and have since found West to be the most challenging, thoughtful, risky and powerful artist of the 21st century. And I had written him off without even thinking about it. White men and their subservients are terrified of seeing a black person or any woman in such a position of cultural power. If you actually took the time to examine precisely what it was about an artist that you so fervently hate, you might find your feelings dissipating like the vapor that they are. Or at the very least, you might see it for the simple jealousy and self concerning frustration that it is. I’m just as full of that stupid shit as anyone else. But every time I look honestly and coldly at those feelings, they reveal themselves for what they truly are. Man, I fucking hate Passenger. Which is to say, I fucking hate my own lack of success and the fact that this guy who doesn’t appeal to my tastes is doing so much better than I am.

Miley
It’s not her ‘sexual’ style of image and performance – people have been doing that shit for years. It’s the fact that it’s such an ugly brand of sexuality, as if, *gasp* it were her own body and not yours, men’s or fucking Disney’s. It’s the casualness of it all, a refusal to package her body as it it’s a precious sacred gift to be offered up, at some point, to one man of appropriate wealth. It’s not the fact that she’s prone to nudity, but that she’s prone to nudity that isn’t designed for your tastes. If you think she’s just a ventriloquist doll manipulated by her management and label, you’re plain wrong. The Miley business was running just fine when she was a Disney princess. She flaunted a glorious Fuck You to one of the most powerful corporations in the world, and if that’s not badass, then nothing is. Bangerz sounds a tad thrown together in it’s wide range of influences and broad, brash hooks, but I pretty much guarantee her next album will be a subversive pop masterpiece.

Yeezy
Because he refuses false modesty. And because he’s black, powerful, and uncensored. When he sings a line like “I am a God” this is pretty much the literal truth, or a snappier way of saying “I am akin to a God”. Just take a second to consider the sheer power that Ye wields, with his cultural influence, his ability to constantly penetrate the news cycle, his huge amounts of money, and his genius (admittedly a subjective element).  He now, additionally, shares in Kim Kardashian’s similarly gargantuan cultural and monetary power. It’s the fact that he’s willing to say it, to rub it in your poor, inconsequential face that so sparks your thoughtless hatred. Like your FB bitching hurts ‘Ye. You idiots, he’s manipulating you into doing EXACTLY what you’re doing. And you wonder why he calls his album Yeezus. Is he really that much more egotistical than, say, Justin Timberlake? (sidebar: JT is pretty freaking great as well). I don’t think so. He’s just way more honest and way more black. To turn your enemies into your best promotional tool – pretty Goddamned Godlike.

 

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