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Why Miley Cyrus’ ‘Bangerz’ Tour Might Be The Most Important Tour Of The New Year

When will the public finally take Miley Cyrus seriously? And no, I am not asking that facetiously. I will admit that she certainly doesn’t make it easy, especially considering her slew of press-baiting stunts over the last few months that sent every media outlet into a seemingly permanent salivary frenzy. Still, whether or not she is in control of her public image – the ultimate point of contention anchoring a furious celebrity blog-off several months ago – her (or her management’s) decision to bring Sky Ferreira and Icona Pop on her upcoming Bangerz tour is a totally brilliant move: one that crystallizes and enlarges the cultural impact of what each artist has, up until this point, been doing separately in order to make pop music a safer place for women to rightfully do whatever the hell they want.

The album cover for Ferreira’s new record Night Time, My Time features the melancholy singer staring somewhat crazily and vulnerably out at the audience, nude and framed by dripping shower tiles in Van-Gogh green. It’s more disturbing than it is sexy. But of course, that hasn’t stopped scores of critics from accusing her of employing nudity simply to boost album sales. The story, as she’s told it, is that Capitol, her record label, didn’t want her to be nude in the first place, and even suggested using other photos from past years for the album cover. But Ferreira was adamant. “It’s hard enough to be a woman making music at all,” she told Pitchfork. “But I’m not going to start covering myself up just to seem more credible—I’m going to embrace my sexuality because I have every right to.”

If there’s any statement that makes Cyrus’ recent salacious stunts more understandable in light of the challenges facing female pop artists, it’s that one. While the double standard of female sexuality is (hopefully) not news to anybody, it’s even more pronounced in pop music, where any display of female sexuality is commonly demonized as a PR stunt or a money grab: essentially anything that constitutes the opposite of “authentic” music, which is supposedly focused on pure form and creation. This is, of course, total bullshit. To solely attribute financial motives to a female artist’s decision to pose nude is to subscribe to the same type of thinking that circumscribes female nudity to the porn set or the bedroom. It is to place rules around where and when it is correct for women in pop to make certain choices about their bodies, and strips them (pun intended) of the ability to even have that choice in the first place.
Continue reading ‘Why Miley Cyrus’ ‘Bangerz’ Tour Might Be The Most Important Tour Of The New Year’

Sinead O’Connor’s Remarkable Open Letter To Miley Cyrus

Upon hearing that Miley Cyrus had cited her as an influence, Sinead O’Connor was compelled to reach out to the younger pop star in an open letter. O’Connor, no stranger to controversy, the pitfalls of stardom, or the dark and manipulative side of the music industry, has taken the opportunity to warn Cyrus not to let herself be exploited. O’Connor slams in particular the “Wrecking Ball” video, in which Cyrus appears nude, licking a sledgehammer and riding an actual wrecking ball. We can’t pretend to be impartial here, it is a disturbing and debasing clip. We’ll let O’Connor take it from here (h/t to our friends at Vanyaland):

OPEN LETTER TO MILEY CYRUS

Dear Miley,

I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.

I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.

I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.

The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.

None of the men oggling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.

Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them pray [sic] for animals and less than animals (a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and the associated media).

You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.

I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.

You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.

As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.

Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.

 

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Lana Del Rey’s SNL performance

There’s no arguing that Lana Del Rey has a beautiful voice, but there’s also no arguing that she is gangly as all get-out. The torchy chanteuse made her television debut on Saturday Night Live last weekend, and it turns out she’s quite a polarizing performer. Juliette Lewis initially dissed Del Ray, saying it felt like watching “a twelve year old in their bedroom.” But the next day Lewis woke up singing a different tune. Decide for yourself if Del Rey is “fresh and yummy” or wiggity-wack by watching her performance below.

Trent Reznor, Flaming Lips, Radiohead protest Internet legislation

Musicians are up in arms this week over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA)—two bills making their way through Congress that will allow the government to block access to sites accused of copyright infringement before their court date. The Lonely Island, Nada Surf, MGMT signed this online petition, while Radiohead and Flaming Lips posted anti SOPA and PIPA banners on their Web sites and Twitter profiles. We’ll see if star power can move mountains, or at least Capitol Hill.

The Bad

Jay-Z hasn’t retired the b-word after all

This week numerous media outlets reported that Jay-Z had released a poem announcing he’d given up the word “bitch” in honor of his daughter, Blue Ivy. Turns out, the whole thing is a crock of bitch (hey, if he’s not retiring it, then neither are we). Jay-Z will still be going H.A.M. when it comes to profanity, which gives us a sneaking suspicion of what Blue Ivy’s first word will be.

Kate Bush stalker breaks in to propose

When Kate Bush sang “Let me into your window” in her song, “Wuthering Heights,” little did she know one day a fan would let himself into her window in an ill-fated attempt at a marriage proposal. Police arrested Frank Tufaro after he broke into the reclusive singer’s home with a $4,500 engagement ring. Bush wasn’t home at the time, but we’re guessing her answer would have been “no.”

The Ugly

Elton John and husband get catty with Madonna

Madonna won the Best Original Song at the Golden Globes on Sunday, much to the dismay of Sir Elton John and his husband, David Furnish. John was nominated for his song, “Hello Hello” from Gnomeo and Juliet, but lost to Madge’s “Masterpiece” from W.E. That pissed Furnish right off, and he let everyone know it on his Facebook page. You can read the rant here, and see a screenshot of Elton John’s sourpuss during Madonna’s acceptance speech.

Diddy loses another battle in the vodka wars

Page Six is reporting that P Diddy lost his cool once again when patrons of a pre-Golden Globe party were prohibited from drinking his Ciroc vodka because the event was sponsored by Grey Goose. Not that anyone was asking for Circoc, mind you. Maybe that’s what he was really mad about. Get the rest of the gossip here.

Miscellany

OURSTAGE MODEL U.N. – IRELAND

alphastates

Alphastates

Today we journey to The Emerald Isle to throw back a Guinness and take a look at the Irish music scene. Have you ever heard of some guy called Bono or a lady called Enya? How about the pope-picture-tearin’ Sinéad O’Connor? Apparently the entire world has. These international superstar artists helped throw Irish music into the consciousness of the American mainstream. Many Irish bands like The Chieftains and The Corrs stay true to their Irish folk roots. Other Irish acts, such as Bell X1 and My Bloody Valentine, are hard to tell apart from their American or British contemporaries. Then, of course, there are artists like Morrissey with Irish blood and English heart. Nevertheless, Ireland has a strong track record of producing quality music. Give a listen to these up-and-coming OurStage Irish acts before you’re spending $300 on their special edition iPods and taking a third mortgage out on your house to see them live from the nosebleed seats:

Irish folk rock band The Rye keeps things festive with their spirited tune “The Banana Song”. One listen and you’ll soon picture yourself in an Irish pub surrounded by an entire village of friends singing along. Just try not to your footprints all over the bar.

With Bloc Party rhythms and dreamy harmonies, Angel Pier has a sure fire recipe for power pop stardom. At least that’s what NME thinks. Judge for yourself by listening to their rock ballad “Emily”.

Sisters Fiona, Nayome and Evangeline O’Neill form the dangerously addictive pop trip The Girls DEFY. Formally known under the name Sirocco, The Girls DEFY moved to the states to try their hand at the American music scene. Lady Gaga better watch out for these girls. With hooks reminiscent of The Writing’s on the Wall album by Destiny’s Child, The Girls DEFY are poised to dominate Top 40 radio for the next decade.

BATS

BATS

BATS are a noisy Dublin rock band that recently recorded their debut full length, Red In Tooth & Claw with Kurt Ballou from Converge in Salem, Massachusetts. The band has been making a name for themselves after a few choice opening spots for bands like The Locust, Liars and These Arms Are Snakes. Their song “Credulous! Credulous!” is full of raw post-rock energy with a dash of dance-punk and a touch of cowbell.

Stand is an Irish band with an old school country fried approach to storytelling through music. Fans of The Hold Steady and Magnolia Electric Co. are sure to warm up to this band. Stand is set to co-headline with Jukebox the Ghost on CMJ Opening Night at the Delancey October 20th.

If you’re tired of waiting for Garbage to put out new material you can look no further than Alphastates to fill the void for electro pop with female vocal attitude. Their track “Angel Kiss” shows us a band that was reared on a healthy diet of Portishead and Joy Division. Alphastates have had the honor of opening for the likes of Cat Power, Mercury Rev and Zero 7.

 


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