Entertainment behind the scenes
Back in 2008, visual artist turned rap star M.I.A. was blowing up in everyone’s faces as the year’s hot new star, with her mix of killer hooks and political outrage. Then came 2009 and the rise of Lady Gaga, weird outfits, killer stage antics and all. Now in 2010, M.I.A., aka Maya Arulpragasam, is squaring off against Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Germanotta, in an interview with the British magazine NME.
“None of her music’s reflective of how weird she wants to be or thinks she is,” M.I.A. said in the interview. “She models herself on Grace Jones and Madonna, but the music sounds like 20-year-old Ibiza music, you know? She’s not progressive, but she’s a good mimic.”
M.I.A. went on to label the artist — about whom she obviously hasn’t gone gaga — the music industry’s “last stab at making itself important — saying, ‘You need our money behind you, the endorsements, the stadiums.’ Respect to her, she’s keeping a hundred thousand people in work, but my belief is: Do it yourself.”
Aside from M.I.A.’s assertion that Lady Gaga is keeping 100,000 people employed, there’s an argument here about the direction that the music industry is headed, with just about any artist being able to distribute their own music as major stars Prince and Radiohead have done.
New York band The Strokes’ 2001 debut “Is This It” topped music magazine NME’s album of the decade poll, beating British rockers The Libertines’ first album “Up The Bracket” into second. The result was decided by a panel of musicians, producers, writers and record label bosses. Here is a rundown of NME’s Top 20 from the “Noughties”:
1. The Strokes – ‘Is This It’; 2. The Libertines – ‘Up The Bracket’; 3. Primal Scream – ‘Xtrmntr’; 4. Arctic Monkeys – ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’; 5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Fever To Tell’; 6. PJ Harvey – ‘Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea’; 7. Arcade Fire – ‘Funeral’; 8. Interpol – ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’; 9. The Streets – ‘Original Pirate Material’; 10. Radiohead – ‘In Rainbows’
The indignity just keeps piling up for pop stars these days. Fans are either pirating their records, or just not bothering to listen to music anymore. The labels are cutting back wherever they can. And now there are fewer opportunities for pats on the back and shiny statuettes.