On Tuesday, The Onion published a piece jarringly titled, “Heartbroken Chris Brown Always Thought Rihanna Was Woman He’d Beat To Death.” It’s a riff on "the one that got away" truism—only instead of wistfully saying that he always thought he’d have k
Rihanna's Feelings Are For Her to Know, and Us to Figure Out
November 30, 2012
What we learn about the pop star from her new album.
How Rihanna Upended Oprah’s Standard Redemption Narrative
August 20, 2012
Why Oprah’s interview with Rihanna was a surprisingly nuanced look at domestic abuse.
The Strange Pop Culture Tastes of Dictators
March 16, 2012
One of the most prurient aspects of reading the personal emails written to and by Bashar al Assad that were obtained by The Guardian has been the chance to observe the dictator’s strange shopping habits on iTunes. Apparently, the Syrian dictator is a big fan of contemporary party music. But Bashar is far from the first dictator to have a strange relationship with pop culture.
The Renaissance of Pop Collaboration
June 03, 2011
The pop charts have gotten awfully crowded. There are still only ten songs in the Top Ten, although some could count as multiple songs for the way they combine elements grafted from other pieces of music. There’s nothing new or scandalous in that method, by which Lupe Fiasco employed parts of a Modest Mouse recording to make “The Show Goes On,” the number-nine hit on the Billboard singles chart this week. What’s extraordinary—in fact, unprecedented in the history of pop music—is the high number of ad hoc teams of collaborators named as artists.
"Domestic" is For House Cats
December 14, 2009
I was just listening to a segment on NPR about girlfriend-beater Chris Brown. One of the guests was talking about how he has no interest in listening to Brown's new album because he doesn't think Brown has sufficiently owned up to his personal sins, noting that the singer typically uses weasel words like "what I did" or "what went down" instead of more specific words like "domestic violence." Please. "Domestic violence" itself has always been a wishy-washy way of describing the crime of beating the hell out of someone you supposedly care about.
Chris Brown's Victory Lap
October 21, 2009
I'm sorry, but there's something creepy about Chris Brown's launching a "fan appreciation tour" to thank the masses for sticking by him during the poor, poor man's ordeal of standing trial for brutally beating the shit out of his girlfriend. Not that Brown shouldn't be boot-licking grateful he's not cooling his heels in prison, much less preparing to rake in megabucks on a nationwide tour that is, sad to say, likely to get a boost from all his recent publicity. But from the fans' point of view, who really wants this kind of recognition? Whoo-hoo!
In This Installment of Celebrity Justice
August 31, 2009
Celebrity worship is tiresome if largely benign. Celebrity justice, by contrast, is corrosive on any number of levels. Sadly, the case of R&B singer/woman beater Chris Brown increasingly looks like a nasty example of the latter. Sure, Brown got a few years probation and six months community service.