I liked Lorde as much as any other electro-pop single-of-the-week from hypem.com, but I can’t for the life of me understand her enduring popularity this year. It reinforces our cultural infatuation with youth. She reflects a particularly disappointing aspect of contemporary youth, namely, the YOLO generation’s dismal, aimless narcissism and cynicism. All her lyrics are the type of dark shit I liked when I was sixteen, but I really don’t understand why it has broader appeal.
In contrast, MO is awesome, but doesn’t seem to have broken out nearly as much as Lorde. I bring her up as contrast because the genre is similar (post-the knife-female-international-synth-pop), and it is always frustrating to me when the better artists don’t get the relative credit they deserve.
Artist Of The Year
Major Lazer, or specifically Diplo, however famous he is, deserves every bit of credit and more he receives. His aural aesthetic drove the direction of all pop music this year, merged the best aspects of Trap (which owes a huge debt of gratitude to NOLA bounce) and dubstep, and did it all with positive vibes and progressive politics (if you have any doubt, look no further than his hit ‘express yourself’ featuring queer rapper nicky da b).
Review of 2013’s ‘It’ Girl:
You can’t talk about 2013 pop music without talking about Miley Cyrus. I have nothing to say about her that anyone else hasn’t already said. Sex appeal almost always carries a femme fataile quality (even Beyonce stayed relevant this year by reminding us that she’s got a bit of bad in her). Being bad has always been a turn on, and insofar as that is a fact, you could do worse than a rebel without a cause like miley cyrus (gangsta rap, or Britney’s transparently corporate “fuck me” ballad). That being said, you can do a hellof a lot better (Lady Gaga), and given miley’s success, I don’t see any need to defend her antics, no matter how fun they are to compulsive masterbators. At least when Britney or Madonna did it, they didn’t have a cigarette or a joint hanging out of their lips while they sang songs glamorizing legitimately dangerous drugs. To this end, I think miley is really just a white rihanna, subject to the same disproportionate hype for doing traditionally black things that eminem received ten years ago. She wins a point for the post-feminist genre of being a female bad-ass and proud of it, but this type of antic grows old faster than miley’s hips fill out, and now that our female entertainers have whittled down their attire to almost nothing, there isn’t much more one can do to provide a shock besides having sex on stage — or finding a way to entertain us without such explicit sex.
Hope for Humanity award:
the breakout success of HAIM gives me hope for humanity. Next up, a real breakout queer artist who isn’t affiliated with Diplo or NOLA bounce (R.E. nicky da B)
Old Skool Mainstay award:
Snoop Dogg/Lion/-zilla is the only thing moving his generation of hip hop forward. While his contemporaries like Pusha T or Nicki Minaj waste their verses lamenting haters, Snoop keeps his focus on good vibes and positive energy. Like Justin Timberlake, he his a consumate entertainer. This is the attitude that helped give hip hop it’s mass appeal in the first place, and it is refreshing to see that he’s keeping it up today.
Overrated (hip hop specifically):
by that token, kendrick lamar is the most overrated artist (rap/hip hop) of the year. Chance the rapper already sounds fresher and more relevant than kendrick.
Underrated (hip hop):
Random ghettos in New Orleans, from which the year’s pop-culture moment emerged. Exotic dancers who invented twerking probably deserve an honorable mention.
A final request:
Can someone PLEASE fix the sound on SNL’s music broadcasts? They are really hanging a lot of good artists out to dry.
Published on December 30, 2013 in Other