So I watched an Avril Lavigne music video…

This one:

It’s called “Hello Kitty” by one Avril Lavigne. I believe she’s famous for having trouble with skateboarding children, who she would see at a later point?

So, the music video starts off with this young woman speaking with a thousand voices in Japanese and pointing at me.

Why is she pointing?

Why is she pointing?

I don’t know what I did, but she’s quite excited.

Then she’s morphed into a room accompanied by disapproving, silent Japanese ladies. This will be their face and general demeanour throughout the entire parade of American teen-pop diabetes-inducing shitstorm the video is.

Come play with us.

The colours made my eyes crawl inside my skull to die in pleasant darkness.

Then the music skips tragically on her saying “Ka”, so she says, “ka-ka-ka-kawaii“. And that’s when my brain shook its head, put on its hat and left via my nostrils. It knew the actual music would start.

SPIN FOR NO REASON, AVRIL! SPIINNNNN!

SPIN FOR NO REASON, AVRIL! SPIINNNNN!

She plays a guitar which apparently contains the trapped soul of Skrillex.

DO SOMETHING WITH THIS FLUTE OR WHATEVER MUSIC PEOPLE CALL IT!

Help! I’m trapped in the body of a shittily programmed guitar!

Then she does this weird… “dance” thing?

I can move my kneeeeeeeeeeees

What is she holding? Why is she now wearing candy spectacles? Why is she dancing with that… thing? It looks like the Staypuff Marshmellow Man’s aborted child.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON IT, AVRIL!

Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 12.47.15 AM

And on it goes.

This blistering, glittery-nailpolished middle finger to music; this blackboard scraping called vocals; the music sounds like the someone throwing a small angry police car around. It’s not so much music as it is glorified white noise, allowing this pop-star to use the colour palette of Candy Crush as a weapon against common decency.

And where the fuck is she? It’s like a racist’s fever-dream of Japan, after taking too much LSD. Everything looks like it takes place in Willy Wonka’s sweatshop.

This would, of course, be nothing without the lyrics. WITNESS THESE GRAND POETICS TO MAKE EVEN DANTE ALIGHIERI WEEP.

Mom’s not home tonight [1] [2]
So we can roll around, have a pillow fight
Like a major rager OMFG [3]

Let’s all slumber party [4]
Like a fat kid on a pack of Smarties [5]
Someone chuck a cupcake at me [6]

It’s time for spin the bottle [7]
Not gonna talk about it tomorrow
Keep it just between you and me [8]

Let’s play truth or dare now [9]
We can roll around in our underwear how [10]

Every silly kitty should be

My thoughts correspond with the notes above:

1. Where is your mother?

2. It’s not night-time at all in this music video.

3.  What is… nevermind.

4. You can “party” and “slumber”; and you can have a “slumber party” – but you can’t “slumber party”. You are not using those words correctly.

5. OK, now I don’t know what you mean by slumber party. Is this only something “fat kids” can do? Do thin kids not enjoy Smarties?

6. Dear god, who else is at this daytime event where you slumber party that “someone” must throw dessert at you? Won’t your poor mother on her night duty have to clean up?

7. OK, now I’m convinced there’s more than one other person at your day-time event.

8. But now this reads as though no one other than the person you’re singing to is there. Who else would the bottle spin toward? I’ve never played, but I did see attractive people play it in high school.

9. Wait, is spin the bottle finished?

10. Is that before or after truth or dare??

And so on.

This bizarre explosion of “culture” has some racism going for it, too, with its portrayal of everyone who isn’t the white American woman as mindless Japanese drones. So yay for integration. Or whatever.

Conclusion

Whoever decides whether humanity should continue or die will surely be yearning to push the red button after hearing this – because afterward they won’t be able to hear anything else like “Please, no!” Imagine we sent this off as part of a collection that constitutes who we are as a species; imagine intelligent aliens found it. I think it would be immoral for them not to destroy us, as the sound of a cat getting its tail stepped on screeches lyrics about bottle-spinning and day-time slumbering partying. If you’re not diabetic after this, I admire you: the twee and candy-coloured hatred for all things humanity has built in its long march away from oppression makes avoiding sickness difficult.

But whatever. Don’t watch it. Just know it exists. And I watched it for you because I’m apparently a masochist.

I kinda defend Nickelback

As if it’s not enough that I “defend” “racists” and hunters, I’m now defending the worst of them all… like, ever, totally: Nickelback. Kind of.

I guest-posted on my friend’s Guardian blog about musical taste and shaming (and still snuck in a big of bigotry about better music, I think? Er, oops?).

Anyway, science is fun. Don’t shame people for their music taste and don’t be ashamed, say, for liking pop music.

Related: How horrible my experience was in retail – as I’m sure it is and was for everyone – but at least it means I can sympathise with these (mostly) horrible stories.

Should we stop supporting lostprophets, on streaming services, because of Ian Watkins?

The Welsh band, lostprophets, have essentially disbanded, after lead singer Ian Watkins was found guilty of horrible crimes against children. I stopped listening many years ago, thankfully, but I can imagine my first instinct would be to delete all their albums, destroy their CDs and remove any posters or paraphernalia. People have, obviously, also wondered (or screamed) about stores and streaming music services continuing to host lostprophets.

BBC Wales Arts and Media Correspondent Huw Thomas Tweeted about the music streaming service, Spotify.:

When asked if there’s a precedent for this, Thomas replied:

Major retailer HMV appeared to be one of the few he knew about that had removed the band:

(I can’t tell if lostprophets is still being hosted, as I have no access to Spotify due to living in the Dark Ages, according to the Internet.)

Assuming the band is still being hosted, that the other band members’ knew nothing about Watkins’ crimes, and services like Spotify do provide money to artists/performers, is it right for us to ask for the band’s removal from services providing them (both) with an income?

My first thought is that Watkins’ crimes don’t need to hurt more people; in this case, it would be the other band members who appear innocent. Often in our haste, fuelled by anger, we forget that punishment aimed at the offending individual can sometimes, inadvertently, hurt innocents related to that person.

Justice is meaningless if punishment is only a synonym for revenge. No, we’re not courts or police or whatever: but we too can and do punish (witness the rage and the events of the Justine Sacco incident). So the point is to target the wrong-doer and undermine punishment for those closely related.

Of course, one can say that it’s bigger than band members incomes. These gentlemen aren’t,  as far i know, struggling for money, nor are they completely reliant on streaming music services. Thus, by removing lostprophets, Spotify can show support for abused people by saying “we care more about solidarity with your safety and sense of injustice than [say] making money”.  Better yet, lostprophets could themselves withdraw.

But why only Spotify? Should the band members cease all touring, should hosts cancel the performances? Perhaps there’s less at stake with concerts, since most don’t care who host those concerts – since it’s about the band rather than the organisers. Spotify however has its name everywhere, so you can associate that brand directly with the current awful cloud around lostprophets.

Of course, the band has essentially broken up due to Watkins’ horrid crimes. But there are issues that arise if the other, innocent band members were entirely dependent on the band and income from sales.

In many cases, of course, the point is that I can buy all the albums and just destroy them and they’ll still make something; but what about tours, future listeners, and so on, that generates more and new income? This seems little different to instances to any organisation is brought into the spotlight not for the efficiency of what they do, but because of the horrible crime of one or two members. Investors pull out, clients drop them and so on.

There’s no hard and fast solution; it requires case-by-case analysis but, in response, we must remember not to punish too far and too wide off the mark of who deserves punishment (and even then we must decide what that punishment looks like). If I were a fan, I’d probably no longer be – but I would be hesitant since, if everyone did so, it could unnecessarily harm innocent people who just happened to be making money the same way as Watkins.

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