The National doesn’t change things up on Trouble Will Find Me, nor does it need to.
MC: Well, I’ve always known that it was probably the significant moment of my life, getting to do this show. I don’t think that’s overstating it. I got to work with people who were very important to me. It was really formative for me. It really…
Evan: If you bet in your office pool that Chris Brown’s rekindled relationship with Rihanna would end ugly, congratulations, you can now split the pot evenly with every other person in your workplace. About a week and a half ago, the mercurial R&B…
Much of the coverage of Brown and Rihanna’s damned relationship has understandably focused on why a singer of Rihanna’s talent, resources, and pop savvy would reconcile with a man who not only beat her, but has also so persistently badmouthed her. Lately, though, I’ve been more interested in an admittedly less consequential question: Why can’t Chris Brown just leave it alone? At this point, my opinion of Brown is so low that there’s little he could do outside of rape or murder that could genuinely shock me—like almost everybody else I know, I long ago filed him away as an abhorrent human being—yet I’m consistently awed by his inability or unwillingness to disguise his transparent awfulness. How is it possible that someone whose exacting career requires such discipline could lack the basic impulse control to stop himself from firing off a repulsive tweet? The first step toward not being viewed as a horrible person is to stop doing horrible things, and yet that’s a step Brown seems simply incapable of taking.
Brown, of course, was far from the first musician to face domestic-abuse allegations. James Brown, Rick James, Jackson Browne, and even John Lennon had histories of hitting women, and as Chris Brown’s endlessly loyal fanbase argues tirelessly, none of those artists’ reputations were irreparably damaged by their offenses. The difference between those artists and Brown, however, is that none of them seemed to wear their guilt as a defiant badge of honor—not even Ike Turner, rock’s great boogie man, who for as often as he changed his story over the years usually conveyed at least some sense of remorse. After failing to land his initial apology attempts following his 2009 arrest, though, Brown abandoned contrition altogether. Instead of distancing himself from the incident, he spit in the face of conventional P.R. wisdom by actually embracing it, going out of his way to remind his fans and the general public about it at every turn. The three albums he’s released since missing the Grammys that year are peppered with references to the assault and its fallout, many in the form of calls for sympathy, others in the form of cruel taunts directed toward the woman he clearly still blames for his near-downfall. If the pair of collaborations he released with Rihanna last year seemed similarly designed to rub the incident in the public’s face, then his reconciliation with Rihanna represented the culmination of his efforts to troll the world—the moment that Chris Brown, after years of not only surviving but prospering, truly won.
Annie, help me make some sense of this. In a rational universe, Brown’s career should have ended when the Internet got hold of those photos of Rihanna’s bruised face. What do you make of his resilience? Through sheer audacity, did Brown find a way to cheat the system, or is his continued commercial fortune endemic of a bigger, more systematic problem? It sometimes seems like Brown is being rewarded for making the calculated decision to write off listeners who probably would never have forgiven him anyway. That’s a very different approach than the one taken by Surfer Blood frontman John Paul Pitts, who since being arrested for domestic battery last spring has stayed mostly silent. Will you be able to listen to the upcoming Surfer Blood album without thinking of those allegations, or is the baggage of domestic abuse too much for any musician to overcome?
Electro-dance duo travel back in time to find the future.
Just because “transcendental black metal” is a thing doesn’t mean it’s not from the heart.
Rebels gettin’ rebellious.
After kicking Scott Weiland to the Vaseline-covered curb earlier this year, Stone Temple Pilots have enlisted Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington as a replacement.
Back in April, The A.V. Club premiered an almost 9-minute clip of Patton Oswalt spouting off an improvised Star Wars filibuster during a taping of Parks And Recreation. Now, because the Internet is the Internet, some awesome person has made an animated version of said speech, and it is, of course, fantastic.
Finally, a real Justin Bieber story.