It's not a surprise to hear singer/songwriter/producer Claire Boucher, better known by her Grimes alias, offer a defense of pop music. Grimes' own music is obvioulsy heavily pop informed, bouncy and hooky and filled with tons of old-school tricks from the pop songbook—enough to get her on our Top 100 Songs of 2012 list—though also spacy and atmospheric and occasionally free-form and really weird as well.
But it's the pop side of her music listening that drew attention when she posted a list to her Tumblr of her own favorite songs of last year, as the list included the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and Psy, artists not normally name-checked by the Pitchfork-approved set. Grimes apparently received enough criticism for her list that Boucher felt the need to offer a defense of it on her Tumblr, which gained a good deal of attention after being picked up by the 'Fork themselves. On Psy, she writes:
I'm sorry, but I think it's fucking incredible that a Korean language song is the most popular thing on the planet. That's so good for humanity. PSY wrote and produced "Gangnam Style" himself and directed the video HIMSELF. No one made PSY. PSY is a genius and I dont think it's so terrible that he's been recognized for this. It also doesn't make him evil. His art is creating a generation of kids that will grow up seeing Asian culture as being as valid as Western culture which they currently don't. I know because I grew up in Vancouver and half my high school was Korean or Chinese and the kind of shit I heard all the time was horrible. I used to walk around with my Chinese boyfriend and people would yell slurs out of cars. Racism isn't over. Sexism isn't over. The only way things actually effect social change is by hitting the audience that perpetuates these ideas. Therefore, when a deserving artist blows up its good for everybody.
Then on Mariah Carey:
And yet I know very few adult males who consider themselves serious 'music guys' who don't laugh when I say I like Mariah Carey. Why? Because she's beautiful and people like her. Therefore she must be selling sex, right? So obviously her music is terrible, right? Ugh. The first time I heard Mariah Carey it shattered the fabric of my existence and I started Grimes.
We certainly support Grimes in her crusade here—Mariah may or may not have shattered our existence's fabrics, but her greatness is self-evident to us just the same, and Psy's success was something we considered to be good news, no doubt. It's a little disappointing, though, that Grimes felt the need to fight the good fight at all. Are we not past this as a culture? Does Pitchfork's readership really still feel there are hard dividing lines to be drawn between Their Music and Our Music? Wasn't mega pop star Usher responsible for the #3 song on Pitchfork's year-end list last year, beaten out only by Frank Ocean and Boucher herself?
Apparently these debates are still very real, as the fallout from all of this has inspired Boucher to delete her Tumblr account altogether. Racism isn't over, sexism isn't over, and it looks like dumb pop/indie debates aren't over either.
SahBabii, UnoTheActivist and more make up this weeks under appreciated releases
Juice WRLD's posthumous release, Legends Never Die, has already sold over 400,000 copies, putting it in the running for the biggest release of 2020.
Meanwhile, Summer Walker confidently returns with a sleek new E.P., Kid Cudi and Marshall Mathers unite for the first time, James Blake quietly dropped a shadowy new track, and H.E.R. added a splash of reggae flavor to her new track "Do To Me." While it was a big week for the mainstream, it was equally as massive for the underground. Upcoming mumble emcee SahBabii's released an infectious collection of wavy, levitative hip-hop, and the iconic Fresh Veggies duo of Casey Veggies and Rockie Fresh return for their second outing. Check out the latest underground releases below.
Eat like a pop idol.
Chef Paul Wahlberg always knows when his brother, Donnie Wahlberg, is in town. How? A mass of fans will turn up to their Wahlburgers restaurant chain, signaling that the New Kids on the Block singer is on his way!
"I know Donnie's coming because the Blockheads come beforehand," Paul tells us. "The message gets out there, everyone comes and that unity is amazing."
Donnie and Paul teamed up with actor brother Mark Wahlberg to launch their first Wahlburgers in Massachusetts in 2011, and the business, now global, was also the focus of reality TV series, Wahlburgers.
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