Culture Feature

9 Times Conservatives Proved They Love "Cancel Culture"

Boycotts and blacklists are tools conservatives perfected — they just don't like it when the tables are turned.

I don't want to alarm anyone, but...THE LEFT IS CANCELING MR. POTATO HEAD THEY'RE CANCELING DR. SEUSS, AND NEXT THEY'RE GOING TO CANCEL YOU!

It turns out that the political Left in the US is actually made up of various literary estates and multi-national toy corporations that are intent on destroying your cultural values by erasing the biological sex of a plastic potato and ending the publication of racist caricatures in some obscure books you were never going to read. But these are just the latest instances of what the Right-wing outrage machine has identified as a violent attack on free speech.

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It all started with "Kissgate" in 2014.

A blurry photo of Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss allegedly making out spread like wildfire across the internet, only to be quickly debunked by a rep for the singer. Regardless, the conspiracy theory remained prevalent, with fans dedicating an exorbitant amount of time to unearthing The Truth: that Swift and Kloss had been secretly dating for years.

Swift has always had a dedicated fanbase in the queer community, and rightfully so. For years the singer has been a powerful LGBTQ ally. But she also has a long history of queerbaiting. If you don't know, queerbaiting is defined as a "marketing technique for fiction and entertainment in which creators hint at, but then do not actually depict, same-sex romance or other LGBTQ representation." Swift's career has been rampant with it.

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As a kid, I was a die-hard Taylor Swift fan.

I have vivid memories of listening to "Fifteen" while playing Zoo Tycoon. I loved Taylor, all the way up through her "Mean" days. She seemed to stand for outsider girls like me, who like to turn events and feelings into words.

Taylor Swift - Fifteen www.youtube.com

Around the Red era, something changed. I became disinclined towards pop artists in general, but particularly Taylor. I also found it difficult to relate to Taylor as she switched from confessional country to pop songs that spoke about a way of life that seemed glamorous and utterly unattainable. She'd become a cheerleader and the leader of a clique overnight, and I suppose I felt betrayed.

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New Releases

Dixie Chicks Return with First New Music in 14 Years, "Gaslighter"

"Gaslighter" is a return to form for the country trio.

Philippa Price

The Dixie Chicks are back, sharing the lead single from their first album in 14 years.

In 2006, the iconic country trio of Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, and Martie Maguire turned their anger into their biggest hit to date—and they're still not ready to back down. Today, the Dixie Chicks make a welcome return with "Gaslighter," the title track from their forthcoming comeback album.

"Gaslighter" holds no prisoners, spelling out a spouse's habitual lies. In true Chicks fashion, the lyrics lean on real-life occurrences: "We moved to California and we followed your dreams / I believed in the promises you made to me / Swore that night 'til death do us part / But you lie, lie, lie, lie, lied," Maines sings. By the arrival of the chorus, the subtle bluegrassy tune erupts into a full-blown barnburner, with the work of coveted producer Jack Antonoff giving the song a full, layered effect. "You're such a gaslighter / Denier," the band sings in unison. "Repeating all of the mistakes of your father...You're sorry but where's my apology?"

"Gaslighter" is a return to form for one of country's most resilient artists.

www.youtube.com


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MUSIC

Get in to Lena Stone's 'Personal Space'

The pop-country singer is beginning her year by opening up.

Photo by Logen Christopher

Lena Stone is a singer-songwriter who knows how to let you in.

Her production style is fun and unpretentious, her vocal quality is easy and welcoming, and her lyrics make you feel like you're old friends catching up. Over the last few years, she's been steadily releasing quality material and courting favor in the pop-country community. Her past offerings have been strong, setting her up for a 2020 where the wider world will celebrate her the way she deserves. That celebration is geared to begin with her latest single, "Personal Space."

As a lightly fuzzed guitar is plucked in a staccato rhythm, layered against scattered drums and claps, Stone starts to share details of her life; uncomfortable truths, odd quirks, and intimate secrets. Then the chorus hits, and the meter changes, moving to a soothing new plane. Lyrically, Stone invites the subject of her song into her personal space, letting them witness the tapestry of who she is.

As the song progresses, we see a picture of closeness unfold that's fun and relatable, all cuddling on the couch in baggy sweatshirts. It's the kind of love that most of us can reasonably aspire to, free from the glitzed up glamor of Hollywood romance.

"Personal Space" is joyous and comforting, like a warm blanket on a chilly day. Ultimately, the song is about intimacy, and most importantly, it expresses the wonderful feeling of finding someone who you don't mind letting in—the kind of person who you want to see you without makeup, defense, or pretense. It's about the power of vulnerability between two people who value each other. Add it to your Valentine's Day playlist, play it for your special person, and watch the sparks start to fly.

Follow Lena Stone Online!

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Music Lists

20 Music Predictions for the 2020s

What will our favorite artists be up to this decade?

Now that we're deep enough into 2020 that our New Year's Resolutions have wilted away, it's time to focus on things that matter most: what our favorite musicians will get up to in the decade to come.

A lot can happen in 10 years; hell, Spotify hadn't even hit the United States yet when the last decade began. Since 2010, the music world has been shook with Beyonce's surprise self-titled album, Lady Gaga's meat dress, Ariana Grande's massive benefit concert for Manchester, and Billboard revamping their Hot 100 formulations to include YouTube hits, making viral dance number "Harlem Shake" a surprise No. 1. So, what's next?

Here are 20 events we think could take the music world by storm in the 2020s.

-Grimes pivots from electropop's robo-queen to full-time mommy blogger. She and her unborn child's father, Elon Musk, reportedly launched an Instagram account for their baby, which has "family friendly spon-con" written all over it.


-Lizzo teaches a flute masterclass for those aspiring to follow her example of woodwind-assisted twerking.


-A documentary, or maybe even a hologram tour, of Mac Miller is created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his debut LP, Blue Slide Park.

Getty Images


-Too preoccupied by being obsessed with his wife, Chance the Rapper quietly retires from music.


-Ariana Grande dates a minimum of two high-profile, tattooed, skinny white men before tying the knot.


-Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy form a duo, Soccer Snail, and release an album together. They still get mistaken for each other.


-Facebook launches a music streaming platform.


-100 gecs headline a major music festival.


-Billboard starts factoring in TikTok plays to calculate songs' positions on the charts.


-Lil Nas X—already known to be a hit with kids—pens a Wild West-themed children's book, and a coinciding G-rated soundtrack.


-Post Malone opens a tattoo studio in New York City, further pushing the popularity of facial script tattoos.


-Drake makes a cameo in Euphoria, commencing his full return to acting.


-Following the Dixie Chicks' highly-successful comeback, they collaborate with Kacey Musgraves.


-It is revealed that Vampire Weekend frontman, Ezra Koenig, and his longtime partner, Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones, secretly got married years ago during an intimate ceremony at Columbia University's Butler Library.


-The Postal Service—the band with Ben Gibbard, not the government agency—reunite for a 20th anniversary performance of their sole album, Give Up.


-My Chemical Romance are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (they'll be eligible in 2027).


-Feeling inspired by his Sunday Service performance at Joel Osteen's megachurch, Kanye West opens his own megachurch near his home in Wyoming. Tourism in Wyoming reaches record highs as a result.


-Billie Eilish surpasses Van Halen in record sales.


-In the wake of the the climate crisis, an allegiance of major artists will cease touring to minimize their carbon footprint.


-Speaking of climate, Greta Thunberg launches her singer-songwriter career. Her breakout hit is a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi," the original environmentalist anthem. It becomes a No. 1 hit, and Thunberg donates all the proceeds to various environmental groups.