He's got nothing on the Dixie Chicks, Rick Ross or John Lennon
On the music star Richter scale of gaffes, just how bad are Justin Bieber’s comments that he hopes Anne Frank would have been a “Belieber?”
As you know, he created a tsunami of a backlash this weekend when he visited The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and left the following message in the guest book: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber.” Oh, Biebs, why couldn’t you have stopped after the first sentence?
In the pantheon of controversial comments made by musicians, on a scale of 1-10, I’m giving this a 1, and it's barely that. He didn't say anything negative, he just inserted himself a little too much into the story. The AP story does not mention it, but a story in British newspaper The Independent cites a source saying the Bieber was told that Frank was a big fan of culture (if I remember correctly, she had photos of movie stars on her wall) and that she probably would have liked Bieber. If the source’s comment is true, then Bieber’s message needs to be taken in that context.
We now live in an era when any comment— written, said or sung— immediately gets put under the worldwide microscope for dissecting, parsing, and blame assigning. I’m sure there are more pieces coming about Bieber’s mental state and his narcissism. (What? Accusing an artist of being a narcissist? Are you kidding me? Good grief, being a narcissist is a job requirement!). He will now be required to apologize and explain over and over for years...or until he does something more boneheaded.
Next thing you know, some “enterprising” reporter will be asking Elie Weisel to comment. Please, please, please don’t let it come to that. (If you don’t know who Eli Weisel or Anne Frank are, please look them both up immediately before reading further. According to the AP story, many of his young fans tweeted that they didn’t know who Anne Frank was so he may be educating some folks).
Here are just a few randomly-selected scandals and gaffes by artists that we consider worse than Bieber’s most recent goof. We are only talking about something the artists wrote or said, not actions (yes, we’re talking to you, Chris Brown). We also left out perpetual offenders, who just tend to insert their foot into their mouth regularly, like Kanye West.
*John Lennon: He, of course, said the mother of all gaffes, when he said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus in 1966. Even though the comment was said to a British reporter for the London Evening Standard in March, it didn’t so much as cause a blip in the U.K. No, that happened when a teen magazine, Datebook, picked it up in the U.S. and more than two dozen stations in the south temporarily banned the Beatles music and burned their records. Rating on the Richter scale: 10
*Dixie Chicks: Natalie Maines’ comment before a London audience that she was “ashamed” to be from the same state as President George Bush on the eve of the Iraqi war 10 years ago still resonates. Maines herself tweeted about it on the 10th year anniversary last month, and the trio never recovered at country music radio. I’m hard pressed to come up with an example where someone’s words (not actions) hurt them so severely. Rating: 12
*Ted Nugent: Oh, where to even begin? He's a one-man flamethrower on his comments about President Obama alone, whether it's calling him evil or comparing him to Hitler... there's really no end to it. Last April, didn't he say that if Obama got re-elected, he'd either "be dead or in jail by this time next year?" The clock is ticking. His comments are get a 10 for their offensiveness, but he gets a 0 for his relevance, so we're averaging. Rating: 5
*Hank Williams Jr: Like Nugent, he also likes to compare Obama to Hitler. The instance that got him in trouble was when he told "Fox & Friends" that House speaker John Boehner golfing with Obama was like "Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu." He then followed with some tirades about Obama in concert. The little stunt got his "Are You Ready for Some Football" opening yanked from Monday Night Football by ESPN: Rating: 6
*Rick Ross: Yes, his rape comment was spoken in a song, but it counts. After rapping, “Put Molly all up in her champagne, she ain't even know it, I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it,” in the song “U.O.E.N.O,” Reebok dropped its endorsement deal with Ross this month. And for good reason. Rating: 7
*Eminem: His violent homophobic comments from early in his career, most notably in songs like “Criminal.” He’s apologized or explained a number of times and seems to have learned his lesson: either he’s become more enlightened or simply learned to keep his mouth shut: Rating: 7
*Blake Shelton: It’s a miracle Shelton doesn’t find himself in more trouble given how much he tweets, but earlier this year he found himself having to mightily backpedal after telling GAC that “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music.” Apparently, country legend Ray Price took that remark personally even though Shelton named no names and Shelton had to apologize in one of the biggest faux scandals of the year. Rating: 2
*Brad Paisley and LL Cool J: The fact that two of my examples are from the last two weeks alone shows what a glaring spotlight every artist’s actions fall under. Paisley and LL Cool J released a song called “Accidental Racist,” a well-meaning but incredibly naive and clumsy dialog about race relations. They talked about it in the press and presented their case tremendously well. Paisley wanted to start a dialogue with the song and he certainly did. Rating: 1
Which scandals would you add?
How does Margaret Thatcher play into this week's list?
1. Coachella: The first weekend of the desert alternative music festival gets underway. Rinse and repeat next weekend.
2. Brad Paisley: He wanted to “start a conversation” about race with his song “Accidental Racist” with LL Cool J. He may have gotten more than he bargained for, although it looks like the album will be his eighth Top 10 on the Billboard 200, so all press is good press.
3. Twitter: Following the company’s purchase of music tracking site We Are Hunted, the only question is how soon will Twitter’s music app launch? It could be while you are reading this and waiting for your invitation to music.twitter.app.
4. Republic Records: Speaking of Coachella, the road to Indio, Calif. is paved with signs promoting Republic Records, home to five acts playing the festival. In a canny marketing move, the label bought eight billboards along the road to Coachella. Who’s in now for the road to Bonnaroo?
5. “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead”: The “Wizard Of Oz” ditty climbs the UK charts following the passing of the polarizing former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. However, as far as we know, a house falling on her was not the cause of death.
6. Psy: Can “Gentleman” come close to topping “Gangnam Style?” All we know is the S. Korean artist is drawing more attention in his native country than the missiles possibly pointed its way by its neighbors to the north.
7. Jay-Z: C’mon Hova... No more songs like “Open Letter,” where you address a litany of negative press. We know you can take the heat. Stop your whining. Can you talk about me in a song now?
8. Rick Ross: He apologizes a lot too late for his rape lyrics in “U.O.E.N.O” after Reebok drops him like it’s hot. Smart move, Reebok... last we checked, women buy your shoes too.
9. Luke Bryan: No one was more shocked that he captured the ACM Awards’ coveted entertainer of the year trophy more than he was. One of the truly all-time great award reactions with humility and delight ruling the day.
10. Universal Music Group: A lawsuit alleges there is “massive marijuana use” going on at the Santa Monica headquarters. Between that and the cocaine ring bust a while back, it looks like UMG may have found its way to deal with continuing declining album sales.
Debuts dominate the Top 10: Eric Church, Brad Paisley come on strong
A revamped Paramore’s self-titled fourth set should top the Billboard 200 next week, followed by at least six other debuts. The Nashville-based rockers will sell up to 115,000 copies.
Brad Paisley’s “Wheelhouse,” fueled by the controversy over his track “Accidental Racist” with LL Cool J, is in a dead heat with Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” for No. 2, according to Hits Daily Double, although Timberlake, who has been at No. 1 for the past 3 weeks, may fall to No. 3.
The Band Perry’s “Pioneer,” which debuted at No. 2 this week, will likely slide to No. 4, although “Pioneer” and Blake Shelton’s “Based On A True Story...” are both poised to sell between 60,000-65,000 copies, so it’s too close to call on who will come in at No. 4 and who will settle for No. 5.
Other than Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not A Human Being II,” which likely falls from No. 5 to No. 8, the rest of the titles in the Top 10 belong to newcomers: Eric Church’s “Live: Caught In The Act” will come in at No. 6, with sales of up to 60,000, while rapper Tyga’s “Hotel California” looks good for No. 7. Stone Sour’s “House of Gold & Bones, Part 2” and heavy metal outfit Device’s self-titled set, both debuts, are too close to call for No. 9, with both slated to sell between 35,000-40,000.
Span the globe with Bieber, his fans and Ludacris
- Critic's Rating A
- Readers' Rating F
Justin Bieber brings his “Believe” tour to you with his new video for “All Around The World.”
The song focuses on the universal desire to be loved, while the video takes the “all around the world” part literally. We see Bieber on stage across the planet, interspersed with shots of instantly recognizable landmarks in places like Sydney, Rome, and Rio de Janeiro.
[More after the jump...]
New track drops in 119 countries today, preoccupies South Koreans
- Critic's Rating B-
- Readers' Rating n/a
Hey sexy lady, can lightening strike twice for Psy? Or will the South Korean performer’s lasting legacy in the U.S. be the ridiculously popular “Gangnam Style?”
“Gentleman,” which was officially released today, features a similar galloping electronic track that made “Gangnam Style” such a hit, although it's not quite as catchy, and I really, really don’t need to hear a bespectacled, be-suited Psy saying in fractured English, “I’m gonna make you sweat, I’m gonna make you wet.” Whoa there, Nelly...
[More after the jump...]
You're never too old to feel 22
What's that about a 'From Justin to Kelly' sequel?
Kelly Clarkson will be rocking around the Christmas tree this holiday season.
Clarkson told CMT Radio Live with Cody Allan that she is cutting the Christmas set. “I’ve been dying to make a Christmas record for more than a decade and I’m finally making one,” she says. She adds it will probably be her favorite record that she makes because she loves Christmas. No word on a release date yet.
In addition to producer Greg Kurstin, Clarkson will work with Brooks & Dunn’s Ronnie Dunn on the seasonal record, according to Idolator. The album follows her current greatest hits set.
Clarkson also revealed that she didn’t want to do the “From Justin to Kelly” movie, but was “legally obligated....I think Jimmy Fallon and I should do” a sequel. Oh, from your lips to God’s ears...
Clarkson will hit the road with Maroon 5 on the Honda Civic Tour, which starts Aug. 1 at St. Louis’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
If you need your daily dose of Clarkson, she will appear on tonight's "American Idol," the show where, as you know, it all began for the Season One winner in 2002.
And, in case you were wondering, she also plans to have yellow roses at her wedding. “I’ll be drunk at the end,” she also added.
Alabama Shakes, Ben Harper and others also take part in PBS's Memphis salute
Things take a very dark turn, literally...
- Critic's Rating B
- Readers' Rating n/a
In the new video for “Heart Attack,” Demi Lovato’s current single, there are two Lovatos duking it out. There’s the mankiller Lovato, a full-on rocker Lovato with her kohl-lined eyes, wind-machine blown hair, and the vulnerable Lovato, with minimal make-up, face freshly scrubbed with her hair pulled back,trading verses.
They’re meant to provide a contrast between the Lovato who can love ‘em and leave ‘em when she doesn’t really care about the dude vs. the Lovato who thinks she’ll have the titular “heart attack” if she really has to show what the feels.
[More after the jump...]
Find out what he is only the second artist to achieve
Bruno Mars finds himself in elite company as he lands his fifth No. 1 tune on the Billboard Hot 100 with “When I Was Your Man.”
He ties with fellow solo male artists Diddy, Ludacris, Prince and Lionel Richie for taking a quintet of tunes to the top. The only solo males act who have gone to No. 1 more are Elvis Presley, Phil Collins, George Michael, Usher, Paul McCartney Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson, who tops them all with 13 trips to the top, according to Billboard.
Additionally, his tune, which features only his vocals and a piano, marks only the second time an artist has hit No. 1 with such a spare track: Adele’s “Someone Like You” was the first in 2011.
“When I Was Your Man” knocks “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz out of the top spot down to No. 2. It looks unlikely that the hit will return once again following six non-consecutive weeks at the top as it falls in streaming, sales, and airplay.
Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason,” featuring fun.’s Nate Ruess continues its march to No. 1, as it climbs 5-3. Similarly, Rihanna’s “ Stay,” featuring Mikky Ekko moves up two spaces, 6-4.
Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” featuring Jay-Z falls two spots to No. 5, as Timberlake’s album, “The 20/20 Experience,” spends its third week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Former chart topper “Harlem Shake,” from Baauer drops 4-6, while Macklemore & Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” follow-up, “Can’t Hold Us,” featuring Ray Dalton, leaps eight spots to enter the top 10 at No. 7.
Country duo Florida Georgia Line sees its hit “Cruise” re-enter the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 8 following the pair’s win as top vocal duo at Sunday night’s ACM Awards and the release of a remix with Nelly (the song also vaults back to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart).
The top 10 rounds out with two tracks each taking one step backward: Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” slips 8-9 and Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” slides 9-10.