It’s not even June yet and already 2015 is shaping up to be one of the weirdest years in music ever. Have there been other years as strange? In 1989, when Fleetwood and Fox famously blundered their way through the Brits and Jason Donovan had the best selling album of the year, many probably thought it would never be topped. And yet 2015 – still relatively young – could turn out to be yet more freakish. We’ve chosen just ten good reasons from a cornucopia on offer to prove why the world has gone completely bananas (except for Jack White’s tour rider which outlawed bananas, natch). Take a look at the evidence!
People falling over
In 2015, more pop stars have fallen over per square capita than in any other year in living memory, and that includes the drunken Britpop years. First up it was Madonna, unceremoniously dragged across the Brits stage in a recalcitrant cape and slammed to the floor, which at least proved she’s mortal like the rest of us. Then U2 kept up their Dad’s Army of Pop routine, with the Edge following his mate Bono by putting the prat into pratfall. Best of all, The Edge finally dropped off the edge. Laugh? We precepissed ourselves.
Madonna losing it on social media
It’s been a vintage year for Madonna, who hasn’t been the cause of this much sensationalism since she got off with a Black Jesus in the ‘Like a Prayer’ video. In January she showed uncharacteristically that she had little nous for digital media, and no idea how to use Instagram when she trussed up icons of social change like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela in photoshopped bondage, causing general annoyance. A later picture of Margaret Thatcher was uploaded with a “not sorry” message – and then swiftly deleted, indicating that she probably was sorry. It also demonstrated a strident swing to the right: pre-election opinion polls should have taken note. Thankfully she soon made up for all this nonsense by snogging Drake’s face off on stage.
Madonna was involved yet again as a bit part player in what is an ongoing saga called Tidal, with Jay Z at the helm. Mr Beyonce’s attempts to bring money back to artists is commendable, at least ostensibly, until you factor in that it costs twice as much as other streaming services and a very rich Hova stands to get even more super rich if it’s successful. That’s a big IF. The launch should have been mega with all the stars lined up to take part – although it stuck in the throat that usually when so many are gathered together it’s for a benevolent cause other than just lining their own pockets. More to the point, Deadmau5 looked like a fucking tool in the parade.
Anger at Kayne West headlining Glasto
If you thought the fury that greeted Jay Z’s booking at Glastonbury in 2008 was deafening, then the brouhaha when the Eavises booked Kanye West was ear-splitting. A poor misguided fool who’d never been to Glastonbury before set up a Change.org petition which was then signed by over 100,000 malcontents, UKIP voters and all the other people who’d signed a similar petition the following week directed at the BBC to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson as the presenter of Top Gear. Emily Eavis wrote a piece in the Guardian where she did well to hide her contempt.
Anger at Kanye West. Period.
Kanye got everyone’s backs up again when he almost dissed Beck at the Grammys and then thought better of it, but his presence on stage was enough to annoy everyone, and the comments afterwards about Beck not respecting “artistry” were churlish at best. But still, Kanye’s a card, and the yin to his yang was in full effect a couple of weeks later when the rapper got up on a table in Nandos in West London for a cheeky freestyle. The assembled who were chanting ‘Yeezus’ as he performed the Sermon on the Surmount left peri-peri happy indeed.
Robin Thicke reduced to penury
In 2015, ripping off other people’s ideas – which has been the currency of pop music since its very dawn – became a very murky business indeed. Where once you could get fined for stealing someone else’s tune, suddenly you were bang to rights if your song was of a similar spirit to a previous one. That at least was what a jury decided in March when it imposed a $7.2m fine on Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for what was surely merely using a beat similar to one by the late Marvin Gaye. The Gaye family were jubilant, anyone else who’d ever written a song suddenly looked over their shoulders. Pharrell of course has big financial shoulders and can bear the burden, whereas one hit wonder Robin Thicke will be forced to go and live under tarpaulin in a forest somewhere feeding on flies. Which we didn’t mind too much really as ‘Blurred Lines’ was famously utterly sleazy.
Unusual musical pairings
Strange collaborations have been everywhere so far this year, but none surprised us more than Paul McCartney working with Kanye and Rihanna. Judging by the robotic and monotone ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’, Riri probably should have tapped the old fella up for a couple more whistleable melodies. And Franz Ferdinand teamed up with legendary glam pop oddballs Sparks, calling themselves FFS. Expect Roy Orbison to come back from the grave and make a record with Flaming Lips under the title ROFL soon.
Offense taken at band names
The aforementioned Franz Ferdinand named themselves after the figure whose assassination precipitated the First World War where 17 million people died, and yet few batted eyelids. The same goes for Gang of Four, Joy Division and the Dead Kennedys and a host of other historically-named bands besides. Tenuous you might think, but Viet Cong were not spared opprobrium when they were banned from playing an indie disco in Ohio in March for their insensitive moniker. A medium-sized media shitstorm followed, and much more wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Liam offers an olive branch to Blur? Come again?
And finally, former Oasis gob Liam Gallagher stunned everyone in May when he endorsed the new Blur single ‘Lonesome Street’ tweeting that it was “song of the year”. Somehow the sky didn’t fall in.