Viv’s Year in Music

by Vivian Obarski


If you asked me to sum up this year in music, I’d probably start screaming about U2 and Songs of Innocence which is a good album. But I already did that and that album showed up in September. To talk only about that album would be neglecting the rest of the year, which had a lot of fun pop music as well as some aggravating moments as listed below:

Did we learn nothing from Beyonce?

One of the more fascinating things I saw was music journalism asleep (yet again) at the end of December, when D’Angelo dropped Black Messiah on December 15 after fourteen years of silence. Did we learn nothing from Beyonce last year? To haul out the “best of 2014” lists in the beginning of December neglects the last-minute entries into the field which can send shockwaves rippling throughout culture.

To be fair, I’m not a fan of D’Angelo’s work, so I can’t speak to the album itself (I haven’t even heard it yet), but I trust that other people can assure me it’s fantastic.

That could also be the point of these stealth drops — with Beyonce it was proof that she can control the media to such a degree that she didn’t need to preview or tease. She could drop her album and people would go crazy because she’s Beyonce. With D’Angelo I wonder if it’s a response to mainstream media — especially a mainstream media that says Iggy Azalea is the best female rapper and Ed Sheerhan wins hip hop awards — and choosing to not court them, but instead go for the fans. With the staggering number of artists battling for position, sometimes it’s not about getting the new ears but letting the old fans know you’re here.

Dammit! She got me! /Leslie Jones

I’ll confess it right now — I tolerate, nay, enjoy Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. I sometimes think the video is the white girl version of Bernadette burning her ex-husband’s stuff in Waiting to Exhale. Shake it Off was a little too self-defensive for my tastes, but Blank Space was more tongue-in-cheek as she grabbed the serial monogamist image shoved on her and ran with it full tilt, creating a character that can represent some of the darker urges we all have during a break-up.

Alex Boye remaking Shake It Off made me like the original (as well as forced listening to the song thanks to my daughter). I’m not sure what happened to be honest — maybe it was taking ownership of the image of her as someone who is a serial monogamist, maybe it was her evolution as a person, maybe it’s the dorky dancing at award shows, or maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome. Whatever it is, I feel like all the people in the Swiftamine skit on SNL. The girl got me.

Somewhere my inner 14-year-old is squealing with joy

If it took me awhile to come around to Taylor Swift, that wasn’t the problem with Lorde. I fully embraced her when I heard Royals and everything since basically is catnip for my angry gothy side. Other people listen to metal or hardcore rap to get psyched or to burn off anger. Me? I listen to a young lady who looks like a mix of Morticia and Wednesday Addams, except with a wild set of curls.

Not to mention, I love the way she dances. She dances the way I do and also gives about as much fucks as I do.

Dear Britain: Can you explain Rita Ora to me? Can Sam Smith sing a happy song?

Maybe it’s that I’m old. Maybe my sister needs to explain this to me, but I don’t get Rita Ora. She’s like the music version of Fetch — I hear her everywhere, I see her everywhere and I don’t get why people like her. Keidra and I were commenting that we haven’t met people who are her fans. Even Ariana Grande has fans even though I keep wanting to scream at her that consonants are her friend. Why is Rita Ora a big deal? She seems like a pleasant enough person, but if you guys were going to send over an artist, I would’ve preferred Emeli Sande or Laura Mvula (go check out That’s Alright — it’s an amazing single).

Also is Sam Smith always sad? He’s like the male version of Adele (and I like Adele, but she fits a certain mood and feeling with 21). Honestly, I’d like to think that everyone there is somewhat happy and not crying after sex.

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