I wrote a long thing about Sleigh Bells' record for SPIN. Cheerleader pop, but it's mostly about death and dying and suicide.
I talked to Craig Finn for GQ about infamous solo records that paved his way for his solo album, including David Lee Roth's spanish language album: "Him singing in Spanish really highlights what's amazing about him. David Lee Roth is a great example of 'If you can't sing that well, just make sure you have something to say.' "
I wrote a thing about Lana Del Rey for the NY Times "Room For Debate" section. Just in case you were not sick of talking about and reading about her. I imagined last night that her press campaign went so nuclear around the release date that now she is just sitting alone with nothing to do, just like, brushing her long flaxen locks and staring down at the hotel pool, watching The Voice and wondering who would pick her.
I wrote more about having lived the Rihanna/Chris Brown dynamic in my younger years for Rookie yesterday.
“I’m not a rude guy who just goes around calling women “b*tch” but at this point, this is not just a wake up call to let go and do something good. I have been doing good, I have a track record. I have been doing good in the community with the kids around the Bay Area. Just being involved with the programs around here. The message that is missing (for me) is about this whole aggressive sexual thing. It is entertainment to me. I have been saying that for a long time. I have been making money off of it. I could have spoke about what I really believed in, I could have been a Tribe Called Quest or KRS-One type artist, but I knew if I just write these little curses, people would want to hear that. My mind was saying “do what they like.” At the same time I was battling with myself on doing what I thought and knew was right.”
There are many parts of this conversation that almost made me cry, for so many reasons. Ms. Hampton talking about what young girls accept as normal behavior from boys. Too $hort realizing, at 45 years old, that his idea of how to turn a girl on is actually to assault her and that he has never been told any different. Too $hort, 20 years into his career, being honest that he knew the money was in being nasty, not in being honest. Too $hort’s sadness on the version of masculinity he has been sold, and insisting he is not to be forgiven for this, for profiting on women’s pain. It’s all heavy, heavy shit.
"So maybe these collaborations were an inevitable outcome, though they suggest two kids playing around without adult supervision more than they suggest a calculated grab for public redemption or approval. It displays an advanced understanding of marketing and an understanding of moral obligations and ethics that’s not much more than rudimentary. It is a woman publicly accepting her abuser — nothing more, nothing less."
Jon Caramanica on Rihanna and Chris Brown's unfortunate collaborations.
You wanna think Rihanna would know better, or display better, or make a bigger show of self-respect just for oh, THE SAKE OF IT. You want her to be more better at all of this. Because she is awesome.
And then I remember, when I was exactly Rihanna's age I was habitually returning to a boyfriend of such enduring awfulness that my dear roommate Al Burian told me it was like watching someone stick a fork in a light socket, over and over again. I had friends that stopped being friends with me out of protest, out of disgust, out of concern, and also because they were tired of hearing about my drama and why this time was different. When the honest truth was I was continually committing myself to a boyfriend I was scared of, who cheated on me with my best friend (I knew it, and yet!)...but I kept being with even after he told me he was ashamed for people to know we were together--his friends just thought I was stalky, they had no idea he slept at my house every night. Meanwhile, you know, I am otherwise a fully functioning successful woman running my own business, publishing a zine, writing for magazines, playing music, dreaming big. Except for this one thing. Which was a sad obsessive terrible relationship that was obviously destructive. That I clung to. That I filled years of journals over, and pretty much every page was a variation on the same theme. A pretty fucking depressing way to spend the better part of your twenties... filling notebooks about your asshole boyfriend that you cannot manage to leave.
I was watching the Clinton Presidency documentary on PBS tonight and when Clinton apologizes, in the Rose Garden, and say "I gave into my shame," and I was like "I know how it is, Big Dog." Maybe Rihanna is giving into her shame, maybe she just doesn't know what to do with it. Maybe she is just in that spot where the fear is really tangling her up. I can't pretend like a part of me doesn't fully understand the compulsion to return to someone you know is an asshole. Again and again.
Or maybe she is just irresponsible and stupid?
William did his first mixed media art installation today. He picked out the pictures from a poorly bound copy of the Terra Magica art book DOGS and I stuck them where he pointed. He then had me pull about 30 small pieces of scotch tape, which he most applied to the faces of the poodles in the pictures. I think someone wants a dog... but he's getting a brother instead. Hope he can deal with that.