For years at my old newspaper, I would make Thanksgiving more than a day to enjoy fowl and football and take the opportunity to target some music celebrities who had engaged in some sort of dopey behavior during the year – musical turkeys, if you will.
So why not continue an amusing tradition, a Thursday Riffs, if you will?
Of course, as with most lists, this one could go far beyond 10 picks. Some weeks it seems as if idiotic behavior among the well-compensated is a requirement, so feel free to tack on any additions you think belong under the “musical turkey” header and have some fun.
Also, here’s wishing you a happy Thanksgiving – and thanks, as always, for reading.
10. Christina Aguilera: She, herself, is not a turkey for any reason in particular – though one could argue that her stylists certainly belong on this list – but despite her extreme exposure on “The Voice” and her undiminished vocal ability, Aguilera laid a giant turkey egg with her new album, “Lotus,” which had the lowest opening sales of her career, selling slightly more than 73,000 copies. True, in today’s chart world, those aren’t repulsive numbers. But compared to her past – and the fact that the No. 1 seller, One Direction, moved more than half a million copies of its sophomore album the same week – it’s an indication of a wobbly future on the charts.
9. Jermaine Jackson: Or, as he soon hopes you be known, Jermaine JackSUN. Yes, another day, another looney move by a member of the Jackson family – this time, Jermaine’s petition to change his last name for “artistic reasons.” It does not, however, guarantee an increase in relevancy.
8. Jason Aldean: With a sold-out summer tour, a hotly anticipated new album that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and a stack of award nominations, 2012 was clearly a breakthrough year for the Macon-born country singer. And then he had to go and do something stupid like get publicly frisky with an amorous female fan (and an “American Idol” also-ran at that!). Dude, just remember: If the head of the CIA can get caught, you don’t stand a chance.
7. Nicki Minaj: Supposedly instigating a nasty verbal spat with Mariah Carey on “American Idol.” Picking a fight with Barbara Walters – of all people! – for chastising her behavior toward Carey on “Idol.” What are you, 12? It’s probably a safe assumption that Carey wasn’t cowering in the corner during that reported on-set issue several weeks ago so she isn’t blameless. But could you possibly imagine Keith Urban reacting to Randy Jackson in such an immature manner?
6. Bobby Brown: First there was the disruption at Whitney Houston’s funeral – an incident that could keep a game of he said/she said going for months. Whatever happened or whoever is to blame, Brown’s arrival and almost immediate retreat turned the attention away from the woman being memorialized, and that’s a shame. Then came the first DUI arrest. And a few weeks ago, a second, to which he just pleaded not guilty. If he’s convicted, he could face up to two years in jail. It’s beyond time to pull it together, buddy.
5. Exorbitant ticket prices: $1,500 for Barbra Streisand. $800 for the Rolling Stones. $350-plus for Madonna. Promoters will argue that as long as the market will bear such jaw-dropping prices, they’ll continue to charge them. So who are the real turkeys here – the artists asking fans to unload a mortgage payment to spend two hours in their presence or those of us who buy the tickets and support them?
4. Obscenely late concert starts: Madonna. Axl Rose. Lauryn Hill. Talking to all of you. At least last weekend’s Madonna show at Philips Arena started at 10:30 p.m. The poor saps who attended her Monday show in Miami – a school night, no less – had to wait until 11:30 for her to arrive on stage. With any artist who insists on coming on stage hours after the time printed on the ticket, it’s pointless, arrogant and disrespectful to fans, most of whom have jobs, babysitters and public transportation to catch. Besides, you’re not 24 anymore, so act your ages and show some courtesy to the people who support your careers.
3. Rihanna: And speaking of arrogant…her recent “777” tour that hit seven countries in seven days sounded, from all accounts, like a nightmare assignment. As the writer from Billboard succinctly noted, “We were experiencing the touring life of an artist, without the artist.” Why bother inviting a press corps to document your tour if you aren’t going to show your face until a hasty press conference at the end of the run? It’s just the latest in a string of condescending actions by the pop star, who loves to put herself in the spotlight and then complain when people pay attention to her. Just take a listen to her recent single with Chris Brown, “Nobody’s Business,” a not-so-thinly veiled complaint about all of the haters who condemn her who-cares relationship with Brown. As Howard Stern noted on his radio show last week, yes, honey, you made it our business by shoving this dysfunctional relationship in our faces.
2. Axl Rose: So many bands and artists would be honored to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Anyone who claims otherwise is probably never going to get in and uses a pre-emptive strike as a shield. But Axl Rose, you WERE honored, along with the band that wouldn’t have pummeled our rock ‘n’ roll senses quite the same without you in the ‘80s and ‘90s. And how do you acknowledge this honor? You pen a crybaby letter to the hall to decline your induction. Such class.
1. Chris Brown: Despite his supposed efforts to rehabilitate his image, Brown manages to blow every opportunity and become more reprehensible in the eyes of everyone except his blinded-by-devotion fans. How about the sketchy details of his community service requirements (700 hours at a daycare center in Tappahannock, Va.? If you say so), the pot charge earlier this year in Virginia, the constant need to shed his clothing on award shows – as if flashing his abs is some sort of magical elixir – and, oh, let’s not forget dressing like a terrorist for Halloween. Sure sounds like a guy on the path to maturity, doesn’t it?
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene