The Scoreboard is Uproxx Music’s bi-monthly look at who is putting points on the board and who is taking major Ls in the music world over the past couple weeks.
I’m almost getting tired of writing laudatory things about Cardi B, because it doesn’t feel like I’m breaking any new ground: She’s always doing things and making people happy in the process, and I feel like a record that’s very much broken. Still, it’s cool to see her life progress and unfold in a most righteous way. The latest development: She might be the new Drake, in that, at least for the moment, she’s become the most meme-able rapper in hip-hop. Meanwhile, Pete Davidson is saying things that people don’t care for, Elvis Costello is doing fine after a scare, and the Smashing Pumpkins reunion is going… pretty darn well?
Win: My momma said…
Cardi B has flexed on virtually every medium: People can’t get enough of her music, she kills it whenever she’s on TV… and social media is basically why she’s famous now. But even so, lately she’s achieved peak internet status thanks to a childhood photo of her becoming a meme, her sassy hand-on-hip look having now been captioned time and time again with some version of a “My momma said…” comment. Cardi’s rolling with it, posting some of her favorites on her Instagram, including “My momma said ya’ll have to play with me” and “My momma said your daddy ain’t college, he in jail.”
Well, my momma said that of course Cardi B became a fun meme, because everything’s going her way lately: She just had a baby, got nominated for a bunch of VMAs, and just today, she passed one billion total streams on Apple Music, hitting that mark faster than Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Adele, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj did. Yes, my momma’s really plugged into the music world (no she isn’t).
Loss: Pete Davidson’s bombing joke
There are puns to be made about comedians and bombing, but for the sake of sensitivity, I’ll stay away. Here’s the deal: Months ago, Pete Davidson made a joke about the Manchester bombing, a bit that has re-entered the public consciousness now that he’s engaged to Ariana Grande, whose concert was of course the setting for that horrific event. Grande herself responded to the controversy, saying that she wasn’t thrilled about it and didn’t find it funny.
I’m not going to rip Davidson for what he said, as I’ve been known in my personal life to joke about topics most people wouldn’t touch. I say these things in strictly private settings, though, because having my name attached to inappropriate material might not be in my best interest. Then again, I’m not a professional comedian with an increasing level of celebrity. Comedians are supposed to joke about everything, because it’s all about the reaction you can get, especially for a comic like Davidson, who has a reputation for cracking wise about tragic situations like 9/11 (his father was a fireman who died responding to the attack).
Just because they say it doesn’t mean it’s what they feel in their heart or that they have ill intent. It’s a joke. As your public profile grows, though, it becomes a game of managing your fame and staying true to what got you there in the first place. Should Davidson be more careful about the things he jokes about now that he has greater potential to be involved with them on a personal level? Or should he keep doing what he’s been doing so as to not “sell out?” It’s a fine line, and a position I don’t envy.
Win: Reunited Pumpkins
There were so many signs pointing to what seemed inevitable, that the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour would be a trainwreck: There’s the D’Arcy Wretzky drama, rumors of slow ticket sales, and the fact that the band hasn’t released a great album in many moons. Good news, though: The show’s wonderful, if you trust the opinion of Uproxx’s Philip Cosores (he’s a good dude, so I do). He checked out their Glendale show recently, and the three-hour gig was “a massive gift to their fans,” he said. That’s honestly not how I expected this saga to end, but I’m glad there’s one more good live show out there, especially from a band that means something to a lot of people.
Read Phil’s review of the show here.
Loss: OK but don’t go
Paul Simon has a new album on the way, and that’s cool. The record, In The Blue Light, “consists of songs that I thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around,” Simon said, which is also cool. This is a loss merely because the album drops during Simon’s farewell tour, so it serves as another reminder that he is, in fact, getting ready to say bye to the road. Simon has had so much success all while not being afraid to experiment with sounds from all over the world and from all over the inside of his own brain, so he is a creative the world will miss seeing on stage. Thanks for the new album, Paul, but it’s a bummer to see you go.
Win: Summer of Musgraves
If this is the summer of Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse,” I’m completely here for it. When I first heard the track, it was one of those rare songs that almost instantly spread a smile across my face, its unexpected disco leanings caught me completely off guard in a most delightful way. She’s decided to bless us by giving the track increased attention over the past couple weeks, first with a pair of sweet remixes and more recently with an appropriately 70s-themed music video. “High Horse” is one of my favorite songs of 2018, so let’s squeeze as much content out of it as possible (until I’m sick of it and I hate it), thanks.
Loss: Get well, Elvis
It’s always a drag to see musicians (or, you know, anybody) dealing with serious health issues: Elvis Costello was diagnosed with a “very aggressive” cancer, which forced him to cancel some shows this summer. Fortunately, that appears to be the end of the bad news: It appears he’s doing pretty well now, and he said in a statement, “Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, ‘You should start playing the Lotto.’ He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery.”
It also appears he has a new record coming out this fall, so let’s consider the cancer scare a blip in the radar and hope that’s the end of that.
Win: Tech god Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck was onto something in 2003. That something was Netflix and Spotify: In a recently unearthed interview from the time, he went at length in predicting the rise of streaming TV, movies, and music once consumer internet speeds were up to the task, and he pretty much hit the nail on the head with his predictions.
If Affleck really is a music and tech industry Magic 8 Ball, then I have some questions: Oh Magic Ben, how will artists find a way to effectively monetize streaming? Magic Ben, why is my “Party Mix” Spotify playlist consisting only of “Doctor Worm” by They Might Be Giants limited to just 10,000 tracks? Magic Ben, when will we no longer have to deal with albums that are Tidal-only, aka albums we will never hear?
Loss: The twilight’s last gleaming
Time for a #tbt, the second “T” here meaning Tuesday because that’s today: Remember when Fergie… vocalized… the Star-Spangled Banner at the NBA All-Star Game this past season? Remember the bemused reactions from the players *cough* Draymond Green *cough*, fans in attendance, and the internet at large? It was a unifying meme, and now the Bad Lip Reading folks have decided to take a stab at the cringe-inducing performance, and it took a second for me to realize that they actually replaced the audio. Anyway, enjoy (or try to).