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Slideshow: Unacceptable in the 80s

In the 1980s, the music scene was changing at a breakneck pace, and artists who first became famous in the 60s were finding it difficult to stay relevant (and therefore rich). Many long-established artists tried changing things musically, often by embracing the use of synthesisers and electronic drum machines. Worse still, they also tried to improve their “branding” by changing their dress sense and visual aesthetics. This led to some unintentionally hilarious record covers. The slideshow below has ten album covers that show older artists trying, and failing, to look cool in the 80s. Click to activate…

Wagner – The Original Neckbeard

A neckbeard, in literal terms, is hair covering the neck but not the face (see above). However, the term is often used to describe the kind of person who chooses to sport such a facial abomination. Neckbeards are self-satisfied nerds who wear fedoras and read the novels of Orson Scott Card. They can usually be found on message boards, complaining about immigration and “misandry”. Many people think that the Neckbeard phenomenon is a fairly recent one, perhaps dating back to no earlier than the invention of modem. However, I have discovered a much earlier specimen: Richard Wagner, the subject of the above painting.

Below are six reasons why Wagner was the original Neckbeard…

1)    He loved mythology

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is said to have been a huge influence on J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Neckbeard’s favourite book, Lord of the Rings. Both works feature the fight for a ring of power that corrupts those who use it. This wasn’t Wagner’s only brush with mythology; Wagner’s first opera Die Feen has shades of Arwen and Aragorn, it being the story of a woman from the fairy world who marries a mortal king.

2)    He had a high opinion of himself

Okay, I suppose this one goes without saying. Anybody who writes a fifteen-hour-long opera cycle could hardly be called unpretentious. He believed that his works were so superior that they were a whole new form of expression, which referred to as “complete works of art”. This egomania led to a sense of entitlement: “The world owes me a living,” he claimed. And when he misbehaved (which did often), he didn’t believe he could be judged by the same standards of everybody else, because he was an artist.

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Nicki Minaj Considered (No, really!)

The A.V. Club has a great feature called “Hatesong”, in which a famous person talks about a pop single that really annoys them. This got me thinking about what I would choose if I were well-known enough to be interviewed for this feature. I was having some trouble, but then the repressed memory of Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Hoe” came crawling back into my mind. If you don’t know of it, you can experience the horror of the video, below.

I still can’t get over what a staggeringly awful “song” it actually is. It’s so asinine that it almost defies analysis, but through the red mist of rage, I’ve written some semi-coherent thoughts about it, and Minaj in general.

The Singer

It’s hard to believe that Minaj is a real person. For starters, she looks entirely CGI, but also her whole career seems feels like a cheap marketing ploy. I’m sure that a few years ago, in the offices of Global-Hyper Records, some middle-aged record executives had the following conversation…

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