Scary things pop music taught me in 2013

Scary things pop music taught me in 2013
Photo by Tony Nelson

From Kanye's massive ego, to the death of teenage angst and the rise of Miley, 2013 was filled with signs that pop music was on life support and that music fans and consumers have become bored and jaded in the process. I take a sardonic look back at some of the biggest, most frightening moments of the past year that have left me wondering where pop music is heading in 2014 and if it's finally dead.

See Also: 2013: The year of the overhyped album blockbuster

The Illuminati industry is real, and most pop stars are Satanists.

Sure, the likes of Rihanna and Jay Z may or may not have been subtly brainwashing us into the occult by flashing hand signs representing the all-seeing Eye of Horus and the Mark of the Beast for a while now. But Jay does have a hoodie emblazoned with the British occultist Aleister Crowley's motto, "Do what thou wilt." This year pop finally got real about its Satanic undertones.

Remember that Ke$ha video where she plays a cult leader who leads her disciples in a sex video, gyrating wildly before a glowing pentacle while upside down cross graphics flash across the screen? "Die Young" -- both the video and the song -- garnered so much negative attention that Ke$ha finally went public to declare that she had been "forced" to sing that song. She retaliated this year by releasing a B-side track from the Warrior album titled "Dancing with the Devil," in which she rants about how she sold her soul and is ensnared in a "holy war" she'll never win.

Miley Cyrus freaked us all out with her VMA performance this year, but none were more disturbed than religious broadcaster Rick Wiles and anti-rock music pastor Joe Schimmel, a guest on Wiles' TruNews radio program. On the show, Wiles argued that the American music industry was using pop stars to recruit children into the "synagogue of Satan." Schimmel concurred, stating that Cyrus had been "baptized into the Illuminati." He continued by suggesting that during her VMA performance, Miley had been using coded messages transmitted via her dance moves to lure viewers to Satanism, and that the performance itself was meant as a statement from Miley that she had given her soul to Satan.

Obviously, there could be no pop music without the Illuminati. Sometimes it seems like modern pop music's sole purpose is to draw us quietly over to the dark side. 2014 will be a new frontier for Illuminati Satanist pop stars. Don't believe me? Check out the music video for Azaelia Banks' "Yung Rapunxel" off her upcoming album Broke with Expensive Taste.

Teenage angst is dead.

Remember the early 90's? The air was so thick with teenage angst that you could cut it (and yourself) with a knife. Teenagers had it rough, man. There was Garbage's "I'm Only Happy When it Rains." Alanis Morisette released the epic break-up anthem, "You Oughta Know." And if nobody you knew in person understood you, well at least there was Billy Corgan.

This June, Lorde released her single "Royals" in the United States. It became an instant sensation. Lorde, who is 17, writes lyrics which were described by Rolling Stone as "torqued-up teenage angst." She sometimes wears black lipstick and cites Sylvia Plath as an inspiration to her writing. She has been nominated to receive four Grammy awards this coming January. Lyrics to the now infamous song include verses beginning with "I've never seen a diamond in the flesh," and "We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams." The song goes on, with Lorde singing silkily, "Life is great without a care, we aren't caught up in your love affair." Sometimes I hear this song being played in department stores.

If this is teenage angst, then we have some serious first-world problems to address. While it does seem like never seeing a real diamond is a serious impediment to happiness, I'd hazard that "despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage" might just carry a little more weight lyrically in the teenage-angst department. Who knows what Lorde has in store for us in 2014, though! Maybe by then she will have seen a real diamond, and maybe it will even be a blood diamond. Blood diamonds might give her tons of angst to fuel her song writing.

The more you love yourself, the more everyone else will hate you.

2013 was the year when God finally revealed himself as Kanye West. There is arguably no greater entity on this planet than Kanye's ego. For example, to herald the release of his album Yeezus this May, he projected his face onto 66 building walls in cities including Berlin, Paris and Chicago, and performed his song "New Slaves." He also had a baby with Kim Kardashian. Nobody asked Kanye to do these things. He just did them out of the kindness of his own heart, because he loved himself so much that he felt comfortable hyper extending his influence over all of humanity. Yet what did he get in return? Hate. Did anyone stop to contemplate whether or not maybe Kanye actually is God? We didn't even give him a chance. We just stopped buying tickets to his shows, and will probably still ride this wave of hate deep into 2014.

Then there's Lady Gaga. She compared the release of her album ARTPOP to "a quick ejaculation." Lady Gaga loves herself and this album so much that she basically proclaimed it would be the greatest pop masterpiece ever made, enlisted artist Jeff Koons to create the album art, sang on the album about how she is a living piece of art and how everybody loves her, and started going in public dressed like the Mona Lisa. Despite critics' absolute annihilation of the album's content, Gaga crusaded forth. Yet as she danced about in a seashell bra and sang the love of "Applause" from her fans, these fans started to drop off the map. What did Gaga ever do to deserve all this hate? After all, she just wanted to be all-encompassing, the most inclusive pop star ever. "I'm not one icon. I'm every icon," she said. "I'm an icon that is made out of all the colors on the palette at every time."

What does it all mean? The more you love yourself, the more everyone else will hate you. Take heed: it can work the other way around, too.

The harder you try to suck, the more famous you will be.

This year, a random Norwegian comedy duo called Ylvis released the song "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)." The song was rapidly catapulted to international fame. Ylvis actually intended to create an anti-hit with the song in order to provide material for their talk show, but it wound up turning them into superstars. I hate this song so much that I don't even want to write the rest of this paragraph about it.

All that really needs to be said is we never do find out what the fox says, but perhaps that is the element of mystery which made this atrocious song so freakin' famous. Either way, I am praying to God (Kanye) or Illuminati Satan (Miley) or whoever is in charge here that this is a trend we won't see continue into 2014.

If you are Beyoncé, are Beyoncé.

You can lip-synch all you want, even in front of President Obama. You can randomly release a record breaking album in the middle of the night. If you are Beyoncé, you can do anything. People will love you. People will worship you. You are Beyoncé.

This January, Beyoncé pretended to sing the National Anthem at the Presidential Inauguration. Apparently, she didn't have time to practice. A representative from the US Marine Band called her out publicly on the gaffe, then recanted and said that there was no way to tell whether she had actually been singing or not. The nation went into an uproar. While the question continued to go unanswered, Beyoncé took the stage at the Super Bowl to again deliver the National Anthem. After this legitimate live performance, she was again pressed to admit whether or not she had indeed lip-synched for the president. She finally admitted to doing so, claiming that she had been so busy preparing for the Super Bowl that she had been unable to rehearse with the orchestra for the inauguration. It seems that, in Beyoncé's world, football takes precedence over the President.

Cut to just a couple of weeks ago. We all went to bed, entirely unsuspecting that we may awoken to any kind of earth shattering Beyoncé developments. When we woke up, though, our minds were blown. Beyoncé had released an album in the middle of the night, but not just any silly old album. Beyoncé had released a visual album, complete with 14 new songs and their accompanying videos, and four other clips. This album quickly broke iTunes sales records and reminded us all that Beyoncé is a superhuman and can do absolutely whatever she wants, and that all we as mere mortals can do is love her for it.

What does this mean for 2014? I am predicting that Beyoncé will find a way to produce small clones of herself that do not lip-synch but each actually sing, live, and are delivered by drones via to every single person in the entire world, so that all of us will never have to live with the fear that Beyoncé is not with us as we lead our small and inconsequential lives. After all, this is the future.

Nothing can faze us. We are bored and jaded music consumers. This will not stop pop stars from engaging in desperate attempts to command our short attention spans.

This year we were more bored than ever. We've seen it all before, right? The internet has made it even harder for anything to actually keep us engaged for more than like, a minute. Unfortunately, pop stars did not get the memo. Some of them were so caught up in trying to ensure that we were paying attention to them that they behaved like insolent children, or mental ward escapees. We, the consumers, may or may not have truly cared.

Iggy Azalea proved to all of us that she is in fact female by flashing her shaved genitalia on the MTV EMAs red carpet. Her management was pretty pissed and made her take the photo down from her Instagram, but you can still find it lurking around the internet. At least now there is no question as to her gender.

Rihanna felt left out of the spotlight, so she donned a Burqa and shot some photos in front of a mosque. I don't need to say anything else about this.

Justin Beiber vandalized a bunch of stuff, snuck in and out of a brothel, tried to bring a pet monkey around the world with him, and referred to a fan as a beached whale. Give him a break, guys. He's just trying to make sure we remember who he is.

So what's going to happen next year? I'm afraid of the possibilities. If you aren't Beyoncé, there's no way of insuring your success in 2014. Unfortunately you can't get any more naked than naked, but Lady Gaga may find a way to turn her skin inside out or something. Female rappers may start getting sex changes so they can flash their new gear on the red carpet. Justin Beiber, I'm afraid, might be screwed. The most notable thing I think he could probably do next year would be to get a mental health evaluation and make the results public.

Is pop music dead?

That's a really good question.

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