Loaded: Kanye the jackass
kanye West has never been short of opinions and a recent update on his blog is likely to fuel those who endorse President Obama's description of him as a jackass.
"Let us soak in positive forces and look down upon those who masquerade as truth-tellers and objective fact-givers. In reality, everything that is projected has an agenda of brainwashing us, the 'consumer', the public, to believe what they want us to."
On a less irritating note, West revealed that he is at work on a new album, the follow-up to his downbeat 2008 effort, 808s & Heartbreak, but he didn't waste the opportunity for trademark self-aggrandisement: "It's funny how so many rappers get worse as their careers stretch out, but true poets get better," he blogged. "We will follow in the footsteps of Maya Angelou, Gill Scott Herron [sic] and Nina Simone. Their work improved with time. They documented what was happening in culture ... so when the powers that be try to rewrite history, you can always look at our works and find truth and sincerity in a world of processed information."
He's worked with the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, T Rex and U2 and now BP Fallon -- the true renaissance man of the Irish music industry -- is back back with a typically esoteric project.
Jack White's Third Man record label is set to release as a limited edition seven-inch the veteran Dubliner's spoken-word single called I Believe in Elvis Presley.
Sample lyric: "I believe in vinyl records/I believe in MP3/I believe in Tutti Frutti/I believe in R&B/I believe in psychedelics/I believe in LSD."
No doubt, most of you are as sick of end-of-decade lists and statistics as I am, but here's one more nugget to chew on. James Blunt had the biggest-selling album in the UK in the decade. Back to Bedlam topped the Official Charts Company's list.
Like most fully paid-up critics, I can't stomach the man but I do feel a little foolish that I didn't realise just how big he was going to be when I saw him play a tiny, sparsely attended show in Crawdaddy, Dublin, back in 2004.
The eager staffer from Warner Bros told me she thought that Blunt was going to be huge and oh how I laughed. I remember thinking that the average hopeful playing Whelan's on a Monday night would have a greater chance of world domination than the timid, uncharismatic figure on stage. More fool I -- and maybe that's why I'm thankful I work in the critic's game and not in the A&R department of a record company.
Playing Super Bowl's halftime show is one of the most covetable gigs for any act to land. You're guaranteed an audience of hundreds of millions worldwide and everyone from Springsteen to U2 has jumped at the opportunity.
This year, The Who are set to turn back the years by performing at the show on February 7, but there are growing calls in the US for an alternative to be found.
A child-abuse activist group is pushing for the band to be dropped, citing Pete Townshend's 2003 arrest for accessing child pornography online. "The Who [are] a great band. Pete Townshend is the only issue here," wrote Child Abuse Watch founder Evin Daly in an open letter to the National Football League commissioner.
"Inviting Townshend to play is a blatant disregard to the values of American families and a slap in the face to victims of child sexual abuse."
The same sentiment was expressed in a letter by another US group, Protect Our Children, which wrote to the US Department of Immigration and Florida's attorney general, asking them to reject Townshend's visa. "We acknowledge he was not convicted, but he was on [the UK] sex offenders' list. In the United States, you're on a sex offenders' list for life."
Despite these pleas, it is unlikely that the guitarist will be stopped from entering the US, but it will be interesting to see if the movement carries enough traction for the Miami crowd to make their feelings felt.