What’s on your iPod? The Best of the Worst of 2011

Justin Jones

Though I don’t actually have any of the following items on my iPod, a lot of people certainly do. The question I’d like to ask is, “Why?”

1. Rebecca Black, “Friday”

Okay, let’s be real. This song is catchy. Addictive, even. It eats away at your brain and tears your musical world apart. And whether you give in to the unabashed bubble gum hysteria that emanates off it or not, you surely won’t forget it. In 2011, I don’t remember a single song that had as large of an impact as “Friday.” Rejected for its origins — 13-year-old-brat and fame-mongering parents are terms that probably come to mind — its lyrics — “gotta have my bowl/ gotta have cereal” — and its overall delivery — even autotune can’t solve some things — Rebecca Black’s “Friday” endured whirlwinds of scrutiny, but somehow managed to be continuously played on YouTube and brought up in the media. Heck, even my musically-inclined Plantz hallmates of last year kindly greeted me on Friday mornings with their own renditions of the earworm tune. Musically terrible on almost every level possible, yet catchy as all hell, “Friday” really said something about the guilt-inspiring love/hate dichotomy of commercially popular music. Even if it was just, “Which seat should I take?”

2. Metallica and Lou Reed ,”Lulu”

Loutallica. The sound alone makes one quiver. Yet, the (long-awaited?) collaboration of classic avant-garde rock talker Lou Reed and heavy-riffing, illegal download hating metalheads Metallica actually happened in 2011. Based on German playwright Frank Wedekind’s play of the same name, “Lulu” is a beautifully deranged collection of lackluster riffing and incoherent talking/yelling. Lacking in musical development and lyrical togetherness, “Lulu” is a far cry from the formerly storied careers that Reed and Metallica have had in their respective genres. Yet, as both have distinctive sounds, Reed and Metallica don’t exactly forfeit any of what makes them them. The result is an odd coalescing of aged heroes, grappling with their personal identities while collaborating on a surprisingly heady, conceptual piece.

3. The Grammys still suck

Wisconsin’s favorite son, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, got some controversial headlines from his quotes about the Grammys — basically that they suck. In the end, Vernon and the Bons were nominated for four of them, including best new artist — despite having already released two discs dating back to 2007. Overall, Bon Iver’s self-titled second LP was a great listen and their subsequent fame and acclaimed status is well deserved. Yet, placed in the company of Katy Perry, J. Cole, Bruno Mars and the Band Parry, it is evident that the Grammy selectors didn’t look too far past the Top 40. To put it bluntly, the Top 40 charts don’t matter anymore and, consequently, America’s “most prestigious” music awards don’t either.

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