With two major awards ceremonies taking place this week, mainstream pop fans were out in force to deride some of the lesser known winners. And with the rise of Twitter and Facebook, shouting at the TV has now taken on a form that can be archived and kept for posterity, like cut-out-and-keep rage. So, let’s take a look back at the week in mindless ranting.
It all got off to a flying start with the Best New Artist category at The Grammys, for which Florence And The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Justin Bieber, Drake and Esperanza Spalding were nominated. The prize went to Spalding, making her the first ever jazz act to receive it in the ceremony’s 53 year history. So, congratulations from everyone on that. Except Justin Bieber fans, who saw her as unjustly receiving an award that was rightfully that of their favourite singer.
The Beliebers quickly showed her who’s boss by attacking her Wikipedia page, adding such well though out superfluities to her biography as “Recently, she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards by stealing it from Justin Bieber” and “SHE IS F****** REATARD THAT NO ONE HAS HEARD OF SO B**** PLEASE DIE !”
It was Bieber fans who first proposed the idea that success at the awards should be based on the number of people who recognise your name, rather than the quality of your music. One noted on Twitter that “Esperanze Spaulding’s twitter account isn’t even VERIFIED that’s how much of a nobody she is!!11k followers, that’s it, & she won a grammy??!”.
But the rage shown for Spalding was nothing compared to what befell Arcade Fire when they had the gall to win the Album Of The Year award for ‘The Suburbs’, beating Eminem, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Lady Antebellum. One Twitter user summed up the feeling amongst fans of the various losers by saying: “Fuck the fucking grammys!!! I cant see wat im typing but fuck those mother fuckers!!! Arcade fire?!! Who the fuck arfe they? I dn’t know”, while another announced: “I seriously cease to believe in the legality of prizes”.
Fair enough, you might say, this is a band whose debut album peaked at number 131 in the US charts. But then, the follow-up, ‘Neon Bible’, did go to number two, and ‘The Suburbs’, for which the band won their award, went to number one and has sold nearly half a million copies since it came out just over six months ago. Of course all this Arcade Fire ignorance might show the disparity between the singles and albums markets. Or it might just show how little some people pay attention.
We did find one person online who seemed pleased to have been able to discover Arcade Fire through their win, though she was quickly informed by someone else on Facebook that the band is actually called The Suburbs. All of these responses, including one from US talk show host Rosie O’Donnell and various British fans following the band’s BRIT Awards wins can be found at whoisarcadefire.tumblr.com.
Speaking of the BRITs, although Arcade Fire did, as we just noted, get a bit of abuse, most of the bile there was saved for Mumford & Sons, and came from people who were well aware of who the faux-folk quartet are. Laura Marling came out reasonably unscathed after beating Cheryl Cole to the Best Solo Female crown, and luckily both Heat and OK! were on hand to quell any uprising by explaining exactly who she is in hastily prepared blog posts cribbed from Wikipedia. Phew.
It’s not just awards ceremonies that bring out the anger in pop fans, though. No. They can appear at any time in the comments of news stories posted by mild-mannered websites, like, say, theCMUwebsite.com. We fell foul of Steps and Christina Aguilera fans this week.
The Steps army came out after we ran a story on their upcoming reunion, in which we dared to suggest that their music might not have been any good the first time around. Our opinions would not be valid, we were informed, until we had ourselves sold as many albums as Steps. Something we have not done. Still, by that logic no one who has sold fewer albums that the awful five-piece can express their feelings on the matter either.
Even more bizarre than the realisation that Steps still have a fervent fanbase was the abuse that last week’s Beef Of The Week earned us, in which we defended Christina Aguilera after she was criticised for getting a line slightly wrong while singing the US national anthem at the Super Bowl. It seems our sarcasm was a bit too subtle. At least in the first paragraph, which seems to be as far as some commenters got.
But, hey, it works both ways. This week Rolling Stone published an interview with Justin Bieber. For what reason would a supposedly credible rock magazine want to speak to Justin Bieber? To get his opinions on the matters of the day, of course! Or, to put it another way, to ask him a load of questions that few sixteen year olds would be able to give particularly coherent answers to and then print them so that he looks stupid.
It takes a certain amount of nerve to ask a child for their opinions on abortion, but you’ve got to be a special kind of bastard to follow that question up with: “What about in cases of rape?”
NB – Beliebers: That was me defending your idol, no need to leave a comment saying how much you hate me. Thanks.
I originally wrote this for CMU. See the original here.