Sympathy for the Devil?
The ever-boastful Kanye West has identified himself with some fairly huge personalities: Michelangelo, Picasso, fashion designer Alexander McQueen, filmmaker James Cameron and, uh, the people who built the Egyptian pyramids (and that was all spouted during oneinterview!). But his latest genius-by-association comparison is definitely the most unexpected, even for a man noted for saying and doing things outrageously unexpected. West said he sympathized with former president George W. Bush, whose new book features a confession that West calling him a racist (or, rather, saying that Bush “doesn’t like black people”) on live TV during a Katrina relief benefit was “one of the most disgusting moments” of his tenure in the White House (assumedly just ahead of “starting a bullshit war and getting thousands of people killed”). Kanye claims that he, too, was called a racist after he famously interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMAs in 2009 during an acceptance speech. (“Racist?” More like “huge asshole.”) In a radio interview, West said, “I really more connect with him just on a humanitarian level.” Tightening the unlikely bond even more — Kanye also doesn’t know how to correctly pronounce “nuclear” and also thought he had good intelligence about WMDs (though he may have been hallucinating and/or wasted).
Radiohead’s fan following and music-critic support is so strong that they could release an album of their own burps and farts and probably still sell oodles and get nominated for a Grammy.
That theory will be put to the test with the recent release of “2 Minute Silence,” a single containing exactly what the title suggests. The sonically empty “song” is actually being issued to raise money for past and current members of the British military (it was released Nov. 7, Britain’s “Remembrance Day,” their version of Veteran’s Day). Like all great charity singles, the band was joined by several guest artists, including Bryan Ferry, Mark Ronson, actor Bob Hoskins and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who … well, we have no idea what they contributed (silent rousing and uplifting singalong chorus?). Trendspotters be alert — this could be the hot musical trend of 2011. If you find people who talk loudly throughout concerts annoying now, you’ll need to double-up on the earplugs (irony!) when SilenceCore starts taking off.
Lady Not Gaga Over Jury Decision
A Minnesota woman who has become something of a poster child for the music industry’s over-the-top actions against people who “steal” music online went through her third trial to determine what, if anything, she should pay for 24 songs illegally downloaded (the whole ordeal began in 2005). A federal jury determined Jammie Thomas-Rasset owes The Recording Industry Association of America around $1.5 million (or $62,500 per song). As was the case in her previous trials, Thomas-Rasset says she can’t and won’t pay the penalty and her lawyers are arguing for another trial, calling the sum “unconstitutional.” The songs Thomas-Rasset is charged to pay the equivalent of a small Beverly Hills mansion for included tracks by Richard Marx, Journey, Gloria Estefan and Bryan Adams, which suggests she should have saved everyone the headache and just bought a couple of K-Tel-like compilations of bad ’80s and ’90s music for $4 at a used record store.