December 27, 2008
If it were up to me, I'd attempt some career resuscitation... before you get all agitated by the disses, note that I don't bother doing this with artists I hate. Well, I sort of hate Prince now, but he used to be my boyfriend.
Before I begin, let me say that Beyonce Jay-Z needs to GO AWAY and Rihanna needs to end her attempt to rival Robyn for the most re-releases of an album.
REM. Another meh album from the band in 2008. Their previous disk (title?) was too meandering and soft. No balls. The new Accelerate was a reaction to that, which is a recipe for doom. It tried too hard to be rockish and raw. We all know what needs to happen: they need to break up, at least for awhile. I get the sense they're no longer friends, but business associates, albeit friendly ones. M Stipe needs to be challenged to carry out his own vision for a solo album. Having said that, if they stay together, Bill Berry needs to return. Then the band needs to run off to a rural North Carolina studio (NOT Athens GA, where their legend looms too strong) with some new collaborators.
Prince. An album is due in 2009 and I could care less. He needs: 1) a lesson in humility and 2) an A&R who reigns him in. He needs clever art and videos to further define him for the post-1999 era. No more novelty hits tours: anyone who thinks Prince is still good need only hear the full length right-down-to-the-ground version of Little Red Corvette to know the inspiration is shot. In fact, if you want to hear a great Prince album, just play Oracular Specuacular by MGMT and rock out with u'r cock out. Finally - and most importantly - Prince needs to stop antagonizing his fans - he has done irreparable damage with the lawsuits and threats. A bitter purple pill.
Madonna. First, removed the chicken cutlets from your face, close your legs and stop being a craven cougar. Desperation is a respect-killer. You are not a boxer, your vajayjay is not a sugar bowl and, most importantly, you are not Lourdes. Madonna has succeeded all these years by confounding expectation. Hard Candy represents the first time she really 1) repeated herself (visually and musically) and 2) removed herself from the artistic process. For her next disc - her only commodity is music - she needs to go deep and beautiful. One would hope a divorce would elicit some of the self-examination that made Like A Prayer and Ray Of Light such fine examples of commerce merged with art. All Madonna albums need an expressive dance-the-pain-away moment, but The Rebounder needs to take her time and craft ten songs that offer something heavier than "watch my booty get down." It's that simple. And Lady, Steven Klein has become a tired, pisspoor conduit for your visual image. Divorce him too.
Keane. Do not promote your album by saying months in advance that it's the best thing you've ever done. That sets up unruly expectations. And if you extol the greatness of collaborations with Jon Brion and Stuart Price, make sure their influence is evident and that it extends beyond one song. And finally, stop gilding the lily. Perfect Symmetry was overbaked. The singles were unique and truly exhilarating, but the deep cuts tended toward same-iness in arrangements - a sound marked by fussy wall-o-noise arrangements. I'd also suggest the fantastic Tim Rice Oxley write about very specific topics. He can be a bit vague.
Janet Jackson. Three shit albums in a row: give up and become a mom. Really, spare us your exploding cooch and your dribbling lips and your ill fitting space-age spandex and fauxhawks. Truth is that Janet will return to Jam and Lewis for her next record. I've said it before, Janet needs to ditch that horny pug of a boyfriend and get politically active, writing songs about the "new agenda."
Kylie Minogue. I did not intend to do something about The Minogue. I liked her last CD. Tricky Dick [I bet he hates that -sorry Richard] made a suggestion that, for Kylie's 11th album, she should decamp to her native Australia and produce cuts with indie-disco kids Cut Copy. I say the other half should be done with the Kylie-suckled Greg Kurstin. Two producers max and one writing moment in New Zealand with Pip from Ladyhawke to add an all-girl thrill. Sounds like a plan to me.