What does music sound like in the Internet age? Extremely opinionated.
Ask Rebecca Black, whose online video for a simple (by every definition) earworm titled "Friday" () went ludicrously viral, earning her unbridled <3 <3 <3 from her peer group (Black is 13 years old) and unedited vitriol in the comment fields. Barely a week after the song became an online woe and wonder -- up to 35 million views so far -- Black was on TV chat shows saying she's been cyberbullied because of it. We're not just talking critical obliteration ("the worst song of all time"), but horrific anonymous comments like this one: "I hope you cut yourself and I hope you get an eating disorder so you'll look pretty, and I hope you go cut and die." Hey, parents, still want your kids to be a YouTube star?
She's had some high-profile defenders, too, including Simon Cowell ("Anyone who can create this much controversy within a week, I want to meet") and, a few days ago, Lady Gaga. "I think it's fantastic," Gaga said. "I say Rebecca Black is a genius and anyone that's telling her she's cheesy is full of sh--." Of course, after saying this, Gaga admitted she hasn't yet seen the video.
If you haven't, by all means do. It's the pop-music equivalent of "Children of the Damned," a blank-eyed teen girl singing robotically about how Friday is between Thursday and Saturday and her unwarranted hesitation to call shotgun.
What do you think -- kick it in the front seat or shove it in the back?
My one-word review of the new Peter Bjorn & John record, "Gimme Some" () would be: Whew! After a crackling debut (2006's "Writer's Block) that promised to redefine power-pop for a new era, these three Swedes obliterated the formula on their follow-up (2009's "Living Thing") with stabs of feedback and banshee screams. "Gimme Some" strikes a balance between the two, offering sumptuous riff rock like "Breaker Breaker" and curious experiments like "Down Like Me."
-- Streaming: @ NPR.
-- In concert: May 7 @ Lincoln Hall
Radiohead's "The King of Limbs" -- the new album announced and posted online suddenly late last month -- sees a physical CD release on Tuesday. I've read your hate mail in response to my review (). I still think it's meh.
Last week at SXSW, I saw Wiz Khalifa stumble through a hazy last-minute showcase (in the slot Lupe Fiasco had before he canceled). He's got a lot of hype to live up to, but his "Rolling Papers" () debut, out Tuesday, doesn't just blow smoke. Amid track after track of party rhymes and boasting about his material wealth, he gets real for a moment on "When I'm Gone," admitting that, as the adage goes, he can't take it with him -- which is why he's blowing it now. Overall, it's still a little slick and clean-cut for the stoner image Khalifa and his handlers are trying so hard to project.
-- Extra: Fellow puff puff pass rapper Snoop Dogg's new album also hits the street Tuesday, "Doggumentary." Khalifa guests, and the two have reportedly started collaborating on a comedy film titled (wait for it) "High School."
Also check out
-- Britney Spears' new album, "Femme Fatale," is out Tuesday but already streaming online. It ain't art, but you can definitely dance to it ().
-- Um, hello -- George Michael has covered New Order's "True Faith," as a robotic slow jam ()! Why a someone with a voice as great as his would smother it with Auto-Tune is difficult to fathom, but here it is.
Like it? Buy it: It's a charity single for Comic Relief. (So ... is it a joke?)