The non-existent feminism of Selena Gomez

selena-gomez-revival-album-2015-billboard-650x650

I can’t get behind this cover for Selena Gomez’s new album “Revival”

In her new autobiography, “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs,” Grace Jones puts modern pop stars on blast for failing to be shocking by trying to be shocking:

 “They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts – that is the status quo.”

Ms. Jones is so right. It’s not shocking AT ALL anymore when modern pop stars do something “shocking.” You know what would be shocking? Madonna making an age appropriate album instead of making us pretend for the millionth year in a row that she’s 21.madonna steve buscemi

That’s why when I saw the cover for Selena Gomez’s upcoming album “Revival,” I was nothing but disappointed at it’s sad attempt to be shocking, because I was unaware that patriarchal nudity was still considered shocking.

For real: Is she challenging the patriarchy by showing us her naked body on this album? Is she challenging rape culture? Exploring her own sexuality? Promoting feminism? A woman’s right to do what she wants with her own body?

Based on the lyrical content of her latest single “Good For You,” I don’t think so:

Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight
Do my hair up real, real nice
And syncopate my skin to your heart beating

‘Cause I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
Let me show you how proud I am to be yours
Leave this dress a mess on the floor
And still look good for you, good for you, uh-huh

First of all: honey, it’s 2015. NO.

Second: These lyrics are all sorts of NOPE.

The song was written, unsurprisingly, by three men and one woman.

Let that sink in like a long, wet fart from a stranger 5 minutes into your hour long bus commute. A 23-year-old female pop singer is singing a song written by dudes, about wanting to please dudes and look good for dudes. In 2015. It’s not as if songs like these haven’t been hitting our mom’s Dodge Caravan radios for decades/millennia, but the tides have turned. Rihanna is known for not writing her music, but at least she has the intelligence and will to curate empowering music like “Bitch Better Have My Money” that tears the shit out of the patriarchy.

More and more people learn about what rape culture is everyday. Feminism is discussed daily in the media. And “Good For You” is nothing if not another tired attempt at perpetuating harmful patriarchal ideas, like women only wanting to look good for the male gaze, or that anybody not going to their senior prom is wearing an updo. Which begs the question:

WHY IS A FEMALE POP STAR SINGING ABOUT LIVING FOR THE MALE GAZE IN THE MIDDLE OF A MAINSTREAM FEMINIST MOVEMENT?

Was Selena so hungry for a hit song that she didn’t care about the contents? Did her label make her do this? Is her career managed by 40+ year old men who have total boners for the patriarchy? All signs point to probably. This is hardly the first time she’s sang a song that is decidedly anti-feminist (no wonder Rihanna passed on “Come and Get It“).

It would be one thing if feminism wasn’t being talked about EVERYWHERE. Or if Taylor Swift, arguably the queen of the entire music industry right now, hadn’t ignited conversation about the importance of being a feminist for the past year. Or if Britney wasn’t tell all men to “suck my fucking toe.” Or, you know, if THE Beyonce hadn’t performed in front of a GIANT SIGN that literally said FEMINIST on MTV.

 

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SLAY BEY BEY

It’s very true that pop music has not always politically correct or woman-friendly (Blurred Lines, anyone?). But we live in a really special time in mainstream music right now where women are writing and producing their own music more than ever before in a typically male-dominated industry. Taylor Swift, Grimes, Katy Perry, SIA and Lady Gaga, to name a few, all have a heavy hand in writing, composing and producing their own music. It’s amazing! It’s inspiring! And it’s about goddamn time to have actual female perspectives via the written word in mainstream music.

It’s one thing if you’re writing your own music about loving the male gaze, or wanting to look good for that Canadian human mop Justin Bieber. But it is quite another to not even be involved in writing the gross songs that support the patriarchy. Good thing you’re teaching all your young, impressionable, coming-of-age fans that it’s cool to do everything you can to please men sexually. How progressive of u.

Lorde famously called Selena out in the press for singing anti-feminist songs. And she’s right. There’s no place for this in mainstream music anymore. Popular culture is changing, women in music are more empowered than ever and ain’t nobody got time for that male gaze shit. I get dressed for ME, I wear lipstick for ME and so should YOU, Selena. You, your fans and top 40 radio deserve better than this. It’s 2015©.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments. 

 

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Pop culture: Is the lyric video the new music video?

Lady Gaga’s lyric video for “Applause”

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Katy Perry and Lady Gaga both released singles this week ahead of schedule due to leaks (duh, welcome to the internet and 2008). Along with their single releases, they both have released lyric videos to go along with their singles. You know, to give the drooling pop obsessed masses (yo what up thats me 2) something to look at while the real video gets made, and so the artist/record label can make official money off the ads from youtube. Holla fo that dolla. But really, have we entered a new era of the music video?

TRL! my heart strings are a-pullin'. miss u 4ever.
TRL! my heart strings are a-pullin’. miss u 4ever.

The first music video to ever grace MTV was The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star.” LOL. 4shadowing FTW. MTV gave music videos a great place to live until they decided ain’t nobody got time fo that shit. They cut down the regularly scheduled music video programming to an hour and a half after school on Total Request Live, or belovedly, TRL. In case you were living on Mars, Russia or a home where your parents banned television (my condolences), TRL was awesome. It was a place where kids got to call in (USING LANDLINE PHONES!!!!!) to request their favorite music videos and hopefully get their Britney or NSYNC vid to the number 1 spot. It was such a big fucking deal. I actually miss it.

Since TRL’s cancellation in 2008 (R.I.P. 4ever and PLEASE bring this show back on the internet. seriously. SRSLY), the music video has had a pretty much exclusive internet platform, because let’s be real: MTV2 couldn’t even keep to its word that it would be the real music video channel, and VH1 LOL. Throw in internet file sharing and the money-losing scramble of the music industry over the past decade, our poor little Music Video has suffered quite a lot in quality, budget and creativity.

first lyric video However, out of a seemingly doomed medium of sonic visual expression came a little thing called the Lyric Video. It’s a modest, bastardly child of the once great Music Video. The first lyric videos started off with horrible fonts and and a gross blue screen. You’ve seen them. They’ve come a long way since Windows 2000 though. Now they’ve got pretty colors and exciting fonts. The joy!

a still of Ke$ha's lyric video for "Die Young"
a still of Ke$ha’s lyric video for “Die Young”

Somewhere along the line, a music exec/artist/manager not completely fucked up on blow realized how many views theses videos get, how CHEAP it is to make them, and how useful it would be to slap ads on an official lyric video and make some extra dollaz.

Good job, music industry. It only took you about 8 years to figure that shit out.

Anyways, it seems more and more with big time releases to put out a lyric video while the actual video gets made, if one even gets made. The lyric video has sort of become a toe in the water to see if a real music video would be a lucrative venture or a compete waste of time and money. But is this creating a greater creative divide between video formats for songs? If the lyric video is the cheap, low-key video version of the song, then will real music videos in turn become something more cinematic? Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.

Taylor Swift released both a lyric video and an official video for her single “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” Swift’s lyric video has over 27 million views, and the official video has nearly 175 million views. That’s over 200 million views combined. That’s a lot of fucking views.

T swift and her font-y lyric video
T swift and her font-y lyric video

Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Ke$ha have all released lyric videos this year for songs. If it hasn’t become a huge norm to release a lyric video, it’s going to be. Especially since both Katy Perry and Gaga released lyric videos quickly after their songs leaked. It’s a great way to make a little quick, extra money ahead of a budgeted music video, give the fans something official to watch and deliver a cheaply made but (hopefully) creative video to accompany a new single.

After all, throwing money at something like art doesn’t always make it good. Put restrictions in place, like money, time and scrolling lyrics, and see how creative artists can get within those boundaries. Who knows. We may have our next piece of musical cinematic brilliance in a 2 Chainz lyric video. Maybe not. All I know is, we are entering a new era of videos made for visually enjoying and interacting with modern music. Thank god a new creative platform has come to the music industry, cuz it’s about goddamn time.

Gross: Demi Lovato sells cars now

Demi Lovato, Car Saleswoman

EW. WHAT? Excuse me? Demi, are the first lyrics to your new song “Made in the USA” (PUKE TITLE) Our love runs deep like a Chevy? And is your chorus really cuz our love was made in the USA? Jesus. Nice try on the “Party in the USA” rip off, but no. Just… no.

Image via broadwayworld.com
She’s so edgy. Image via broadwayworld.com

How much do you think Chevy paid to have Demi Lovato, singer, actress, judge on The X Factor, to put a line referencing Chevy’s slogan in her song pukingly titled “Made in the USA”? Probably a lot. Oh, did I mention yet that Chevy is also the official car sponsor of The X Factor where Miss Lovato just happens to be a judge? Interesting! Transparent. And disgusting.

It’s like the mainstream music industry isn’t even trying to creatively cross promote anymore. Sure, Britney Spears made a couple of songs for Pepsi (and this AMAZING commercial that is my favorite commercial of all time), but she NEVER had a line in one of her albums about how good Pepsi is. It’s one thing to endorse a company and their product, but it’s another to bring it into your art or music and still call it art. It’s not art honey, it’s an ad. You make ads now.

Mental illness marketing is IN

The other thing that pisses me off about Demi Lovato is that she used/currently uses her mental illness(es) as a marketing tool. Come one, come all, o dearly afflicted teens! GROSS.

On one hand, she IS bringing awareness about mental illness into the homes of middle America. On the other, it seems a bit exploitative and confusing to talk about mental illness so much, and then release songs like this empty crap that have nothing to do with anything besides bringing brand awareness to said afflicted teens. Sort of like, Hey guys! I’m bipolar and depressed too. It really sucks, but you should check out this new 2014 Chevy. They are cool now. Skip the therapist to go for a test drive, cuz this shit runs DEEP. 

She's totally upset about the growing wealth disparity, you guys. Image via depotpicture.com
She’s totally upset about the growing wealth disparity, you guys. Image via depotpicture.com

Demi Lovato is the epitome of an uneducated, blank industry pawn. It’s not like she’s the first one ever, but she’s definitely the most obvious this year. It hurts me to know that these young stars, Miley, Justin, Selena, T-Swift, don’t have college educations, because I think a lot of them would be woken up to just how shitty of an influence they are on the world. It pains me to think about what’s going through their heads when they think of the world, life, entertainment, capitalism, commercialism, sexuality etc. *Shivers*

All in all, Lovato’s career is kinda doomed. She’s not ever going to be taken seriously as an ‘artist’ because of shit like this. There’s not really any coming back from corporate shillings. Cuz honestly, what’s next? A song about using Veet on your vag because boys think pubic hair is icky? “I love to Veet my vagina/it makes all the boys say ‘Hey Demetria!'” Wait that’s pretty good, actually.

I pray for my country.

On the fence: Justin Bieber

Whoa. Image via fanpop.com
Whoa. Image via fanpop.com

Justin Bieber.

Yes, growing up in the spotlight is difficult. He was supposed to be the modern-day Canadian equivalent to the humble, funny and talented Justin Timberlake. However, in recent months, Bieber has shown us just how fussy and annying a super-famous-mega-star baby of 18 years old can really be. Let’s examine what’s going on in the Bieberverse. (Is that a thing? I hate myself for writing that)

The Evidence

He accepted an award for Favorite Pop/Male Artist at the 2012 American Music Awards and dedicated it to”all the haters” which is SO LAME. Come on dude. No. -2

His music is fun. Don’t lie to yourself! Beauty and a Beat is a hella jam (Max Martin produced, so obvi!) Plus, he directed the video which is a really fun and well directed video. +5

ugh, teens. Image via idolator.com
ugh, teens. Image via idolator.com

He met the Canadian Prime Minister in an outfit best described as farm-douche chic. It’s not like their should be some fascist regime when it comes to style and meeting any head of state. It’s just super annoying. Eye roll! -2

He got mad at James Franco (who gets mad at James Franco? WTF?) for making a parody video of his song “Boyfriend”. The parody vid wasn’t even rude or anything, it was hilarious. Not having a sense of humor about your boy-toy status in the pop music industry? Self-awareness goes a long in H-wood Biebs. Get some. -3

Usher likes him. That’s cool, I guess? 0

Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift probably talk SO much shit about him. It would be scary to have those two against you, especially T-Swift. +2

His back story is amazing. I never finished his documentary, but watching him drum as a little kid proves that he was born with a natural talent for music. And his mom got it on tape! +5

His instagram is ridiculous. Body shots, selfies and now buttcrack. He’s like your friend’s gross little brother who farts in his hand and then throws it at you. Why are you showing your fanbase, KIDS AND TEENS AND QUESTIONABLE ADULTS, your buttcrack? Mooning is so 1983. Over! -1

He took his Grammy snubs alright, saying that “It’ll happen one day”. His manager was pissed though, saying on Twitter that “I just plain DISAGREE. The kid deserved it. Grammy board u blew it on this one.” Just be happy you have a job, you jags!!! -1

The Score

3

This is all I know about Justin Bieber. I think his music is fun, but his personality could use some growing up. Granted, he is still a teen and there is much needed time and room to grow. If we all had cameras following us and listening to our stupid teen opinions, we’d look like shitheads too. But come on! someone get him a decent PR adviser! It’s BEYOND time for that.

Image via daydreamstars.blogspot.com
Image via daydreamstars.blogspot.com

Taylor Swift is single again, another day has its dawn

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Single again! Oh joy. Image via newnownext.com

Just like the sands of time, Taylor Swift finds herself without an 18-year-old boy to hug at nigh-nigh time. Here are my thoughts:

A) Why is Taylor Swift dating 18-year-olds?

I can barely masturbate to anyone my age, let alone ACTUALLY DATE THEM. And seriously, an 18 year-old? What the fuck does he have going on besides having been world famous for a minute? Sure, he’s got that confusing, side-swept hair ‘n bang combo that makes tweens excited in a really uncomfortable way. And maybe he has some money now, but if my exact and unfaltering recollection of boy band money managements past are any indication, I know that young Harry probably doesn’t have THAT much cash floating around. There’s also charm, but homeless guys on the bus can also be charming so that’s null and void.

B) Why does she always have a boyfriend?

SLOW THE FUCK DOWN T SWIFT Image via graziadaily.co.uk
SLOW THE FUCK DOWN T SWIFT Image via graziadaily.co.uk

Girlfriend needs to take some HER TIME. Stop dating anyone who looks kinda cute and is kinda famous. There are plenty of kinda cute boys to ruin your day when you get older. There’s no need to rush it! Hasn’t she seen every episode of Sex and the City? Love and relationship anguish literally never ends unless you’re lobotomized or in a coma 4ever.

Maybe it’s super lonely being that famous. And sadly it kind of seems like she never had a lot of friends growing up either. But the reason I like being single so much is because I have AMAZING friends. Maybe she should work on forming strong and true friendships this year instead of jumping on every cute celebrity who says they like her Max Martin-produced songs.

C) This may be why she gets dumped a lot

Harry Styles was reported as saying that during their Carribean fight, T-Swift proclaimed “You’re lucky to even be with me.” Whoa, bitch. That is uncalled for. Definitely some ego that NEEDS to be checked. Don’t say that, not to anyone, ever! You are one human being who just happened to become famous by writing songs about failed high school relationships. So what, we’ve all written angsty poems about our high school loves gone wrong. You are successful, but you are not a god. Don’t say shit like that.

I’m not picking sides here and I really don’t even want to defend Harry Styles because I like Taylor Swift’s latest album, but what EXACTLY is lucky about being with Taylor Swift? That once the inevitable break up happens, she’s gonna totally shit on you in an amazing song? Or that everywhere you go, paparazzi are following the both of you? Or maybe it’s the stupid celebrity couple name that need to die in a sick a twisted death that haunts him in his dreams? Haylor. HAYLOR. HUG ME HAYLOR I’M RIGHT HERE BREATHING MOISTLY ON YOUR EYE LID. 

They were cute. RIP suckaz. Image via andpop.com
They were cute. RIP suckaz. Image via andpop.com

Taylor: please, slow down. Be by yourself. It can be beautiful. Being alone is not sad. It’s fucking awesome. Pizza rolls? Anytime baby. Take a look into what you REALLY want in a partner, and not into their celebrity status or what kind of song you’ll get out of holding hands with someone you think doesn’t deserve to be with you. That’s kinda insane, girl. Get it together!

Music: Taylor Swift’s new album “Red” is instantly iconic

I stand corrected. This bitch is ON TOP. Image via justjared.com

Watch me eat every single bad word I have ever said about Taylor Swift. Her latest album Red is pretty much the best album I’ve heard in a very long time. Sure, she’s got a weird and crazy love life. But she knows how to make amazing records from it (and to be fair, every celebrity and human being has a fucked up love life).

The thing I’ve come to realize in liking Taylor Swift’s Red is that she is arguably the most talented person in pop music right now. Nuff said.

Red is an eclectic mix of alt rock, pop and a little bit of country. She channels U2, then Stevie Nicks, then maybe a little Regina Spektor, then Katy Perry. And the cool thing is that it never feels tired or contrived. It’s bold and honest and still really fun. It’s the album any pop star would kill to put out, because she drew inspiration across MANY genres but made it work like the baddest bitch ever. I want to close the doors to my room and do some soul-searching/dancing to this album, because that’s how good it is. I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s good, it’s just that I’m surprised that I love it so much already. This is her best album to date and I cannot stress how good this album is. Do yourself a favor and get it.

Here are some really noteworthy tracks, although to be honest the entire album is comprised of noteworthy tracks.

All Too Well

“All Too Well” is alleged to be about Jake Gyllenhaal, and holy shit. It cuts pretty deep. “Maybe we got lost in translation/ maybe I asked for too much/ but maybe this thing was a masterpiece til you tore it all up” and “you call me up again just to break me like a promise/so casually cruel in the name of being honest/I’m a crumpled up piece of paper lying here/ because I remember it all too well.” Ok, girlfriend is fucking growing up, and I am fangirling the shit out of her 20 something love life songs like a new Spice Girls album release in the 90s. This song is amazing.

I Knew You Were Trouble

Um. Yeah. That’s Taylor Swift doing Katy Perry better than Katy Perry. This song is gonna be fucking HUGE. The melodies are spot on and remind me of late 90s/early 00s pop music. This song is baller af.

State of Grace

This is her U2 inspired song. And it totally fucking works.

Begin Again Live

This song is really sweet and reminds me of early Sheryl Crow for some reason.

Gossip folk: American Idol, Do Something! Awards, and Taylor Swift at the VMAs

“American Idol, where washed up people go to have only slightly less terrible careers!” Image via allhiphop.com

American Idol judge rumors

Reports have been circulating completely leaked by anyone who works at American Idol that a bunch of HUGE OMG stars are considering judging on American Idol next season. I’ve read reports that Kanye, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are all rumored to be in consideration for a judge spot on the biggest “that show is still on?” show on TV.

First of all, no. Anyone with an actual artistic career (Kanye and Nicki) would be an idiot to accept a position like this on TV. American Idol is used not so much as a platform for hopeful nobodies to never finally earn notoriety, but more as a restart button for stars who have faded from the spotlight and need to fuel their addiction to gay russian squirrel porn pay their bills and egos. Exhibit A:

Groundbreaking. Image via awesomehq.com
  1. Paula Abdul wasn’t doin’ shit before she was on the show, besides starring in scat videos. I wouldn’t know if she was a household name when her career hit its peak for that month in 1993 because I learning how to spell and shit. But if she hadn’t been a judge on American Idol, not many people would remember her mediocre pop career.
  2. J Lo had a failed marriage and some kids, but wasn’t really doing anything in the realm of entertainment. It’s funny that she’s so famous, because I don’t think she’s ever done anything that’s earned critical praise post In Living Color. Or any kind of praise at all. It’s a corporate conspiracy!
  3. Stephen Tyler, who the fuck knows. He was bored? He got sober and needed something to distract him from drugs and boozey treats?

See? Nobody ACTUALLY relevant and present-day successful becomes a judge on a shitty television show where you have to vote for people you’ll see at your local Walmart during their summer “tour.” That being said, let’s expect to welcome Mariah Carey to American Idol this fall, with the perfect amount of “you’ll never be as good as me” enthusiasm that the young kids really need to hear more of these days.

Do Something! Awards aka C-list celebrities sniffing their own farts

Oh great. Pseudo-celebs gathering on VH1 (seriously, what the fuck happened to that network) to praise themselves and each other for BEING SO GREAT at the Do Something! Awards. Isn’t the point of doing charity work helping others and not calling attention to how great you are?! Sure, it’s nice to party, and I’m sure it’s even nicer to party and be on TV (even if it IS on VH1). But good god. Famewhores alert! Is Ryan Lochte gonna be there too?!

The stunning presenter list includes Kristin Bell, John Cho, Olivia Munn, Will Ferrell, Harry Shum, Jr. I don’t know who the last guy is. Fitting!

Taylor Swift at the VMAs

So I saw this promo for the MTV VMAs with Taylor Swift and Kevin Hart.

 

And this is what came to mind: Her deadpan is actually really good, and girlfriend could use about 5 cigarettes a day. I would love to hear a gritty, cigged-out Taylor Swift throat singing all her “you should fuck off and die, bastard!” songs. Let’s start a campaign!