Katy Perry is ‘Prism’: or, How I learned to stop worrying and love Katy Perry ☀
Those two words inspire fear, sadness, and vitriol in most of the die-hard gutter punks. People either love her or hate her, and if you’ve spent half a minute in any sort of punk-rock upbringing, you’re probably in the latter camp.
On the surface she’s a pop muppet: an over simplified object of sexual desire writ large across the late 2000s. Like it or not, she’s been around in full force since 2006, and seven years is a long time for a pop star to stick around. She’s also one of the first (and one of the most effective) hipster pin-ups; with her American Apparel outfits and Zooey Deschanel bangs, and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Some might say – and some may be correct – that she’s largely responsible for bringing Los Angeles / Californian hipsterdom to the masses. I mean, who else was going to do that? Steve Aoki? Nope. That guy smells like soup mix.
U2's 'Zooropa' Almost Killed Their Career 20 Years Ago Today ☀
U2’s eighth album turns 20 years old today. Its parents won’t be throwing a lavish party or buying it a Camaro. No: Here began the Weird Years, the Ironic Years, the Tacky Even for Them Years, the Flirting Awkwardly With Dance Music Years, the Dark Years, and/or the Sucky Years if you look to these guys for meat-and-potatoes guitar-god bombast. Zooropa was originally intended as a stopgap EP in between legs of the Zoo TV tour, but like many things in U2’s universe, it just kept growing. It is not quite their most despised album — that’d be 1997’s stupendously gaudy Pop — but it is undoubtedly their weirdest. (The wordless, formless first 1:45 is basically an Oneohtrix Point Never record: uneasy synths, plaintive piano, thrice-VHS-dubbed chattering ghouls.) That a lot of it sounds totally normal now shows how oddly ahead of, and out of, its time it was. As we will see, one of 2012’s best rock songs rips off Zooropa’s first single wholesale. But that only somehow makes it weirder.
The Last Pop Star ☀
In the current generation of Pop divas—Ke$ha, Rihanna, Shakira, Britney, Katy Perry, Beyoncé herself—there’s no match for the alienness of Gaga. Pop in 2010 is thoroughly pornographized and tattoo-demented; the mainstream, as you may have noticed, is not very mainstream anymore. But there perches Lady Gaga, in paradoxical elegance, her plumage bristling, with an uncanny feel for just how much of her freakery we are prepared to absorb. She has successfully managed the rumor that she is a hermaphrodite. (She’s not.) Sweetly and demurely, she has ridden the couch of Ellen DeGeneres: “Who doesn’t love Ellen?” she cooed to the audience. The culture will not victimize her. Rather the reverse: with songs like “Paparazzi” she is, as English soccer commentators are fond of observing in the wake of a particularly jarring early tackle, “getting her retaliation in first.” Watching her stalk onstage with her retinue, one has a particular sensation—of aberrant sensibilities on the march, rive gauche visions, a whole underworld of transgression breaking the surface.
Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More”: A Missional Worship Album? ☀
I believe the reason for their widespread popularity springs from the spiritual thread that runs skillfully through their songs. I’ll even go one step further and label Sigh No More the first truly missional worship album of the 21st century.
No, it’s not praise and worship music. It’s not even “Christian music” in the popular cultural sense because (A) Christ is not the clear object and (B) it’s not “safe for the whole family” as so many Christian radio stations proudly tout.
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