Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 6-13: Lohan Loses It, Simpson Sinks, Eminem Emerges

Pop girls and rappers were in hot water this week, and unfortunately we don't mean in some sort of exciting, gossip-fodder hot tub party in some Hollywood Hills penthouse--although that would be awesome. No, the big stories this week were a lot less glamorous, mostly about bitter breakups, record-label fallouts, concert meltdowns, and million-dollar lawsuits. Let's get started...

First off, things continued to downward-spiral for troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan. Her pop-music career is at a standstill and her movie career's in freefall (Stevie Nicks even recently declared, "Over my dead body!" when asked about Lindsay playing her in a Fleetwood Mac biopic), and now L.Lo's foray into lesbian love has similarly failed. Lindsay's supposedly storybook same-sex romance with celebrity DJ/Mark Ronson sibling Samantha Ronson, her girlfriend of two years, came to quite an acrimonious end this week, amid (refuted) rumors of restraining orders, self-harm, suicide threats.

"I love Samantha," Lindsay sadly told Us magazine. "I'm so alone without her." Us reported that on what Lindsay called "the worst night of my life," last Friday, the famous girl-girl couple feuded after Lindsay was banned from a Chateau Marmont party for Samantha's fashion-designer twin sister, Charlotte. "They had to embarrass me. It's not fair: I'm a 22-year old girl who's in love," Lindsay lamented, according to Us. "I felt like I was in Mean Girls, but worse: Mean Girls was a FAKE movie."

Sources close to L.Lo subsequently told Access Hollywood that Lindsay was suicidal and might need to be institutionalized, but the newly single Lindsay shrugged off such claims, telling Us: "I'm OK, I'm just really hurt." Lindsay later defended her decision to discuss her breakup with the press in a Twitter message to Sam herself, ungrammatically tweeting: "im doing this publicly because u&ur friends call people mag. so-you win, you broke my heart. now go away. i loved you."

Another troubled pop female abandoned this week, albeit in a much different way, was Jessica Simpson. She's suffered her own career setbacks lately--her attempt to "go country" didn't quite take Nashville by storm, then it seemed the only way she could get any attention from the media was to gain weight and/or wear unflattering mom jeans. And now as of this week, she is no longer with her country music label, Sony Nashville. Maybe that's why she didn't show up at last weekend's Academy Of Country Music Awards.

However, Jessica's PR/damage-control team is trying to put a positive spin on this story, telling Us that she was merely "on loan to Sony Nashville for her country album" and "is and has always been an Epic [pop] artist; she continues to be on Epic's label." This seems odd, since previously Jessica never gave the impression that her country album was a one-off lark, always making it seem like more of a serious and permanent career shift. (She was once quoted in an Us interview as saying: "I am a country girl. I grew up in Texas, and country music was what I listened to.") But since her first country album, Do You Know, has sold less than 200,000 copies, maybe going back to Epic Records and pop music is a good call. Or maybe she should just go back to her true calling: reality television.

Other drama-courting females made news this week for their courtroom antics: Whitney Houston for suing her stepmother for $1.6 million over alleged failures to make payments on a joint condo loan, and Courtney Love, who according to her attorney is preparing to file a lawsuit on behalf of herself and daughter Frances Bean against a pack of "former assistants, former managers, CPAs, lawyers, and a couple of banks"--whom Courtney claims "looted" millions of dollars from her late husband Kurt Cobain's estate. Expect more updates on these multimillion-dollar suits in future blogs.

And the last lady in the headlines was Britney Spears, whose Circus Tour concert in Vancouver was delayed by a half-hour (after Britney had already performed three songs) when her show almost literally went up in smoke. As Britney suddenly exited the stage without explanation and confused spectators sat in the darkened arena, booing, an announcer explained: "The building is awfully smoky. It has become uncomfortable and unsafe for the performers, including Ms. Spears. Please extinguish all cigarettes. The show will resume as soon as the air around the stage is clear." The show eventually started up again, and Britney's camp later issued an apology. Considering all the other reasons Britney has made this column in past posts, a little bit of smoke is the least of her problems.

But it wasn't just women in the headlines this week. Comeback rapper Eminem also came under fire over his hilarious "We Made You" video--which, incidentally, parodies Lindsay, Samantha, Britney, and Jessica, along with Amy Winehouse, Kim Kardashian, and other famous femmes. Specifically, conservative political pundit Bill O'Reilly was none too thrilled with Shady's racy lampoon of former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who in the "We Made You" video is played by a lusty lookalike in a sexy bustier top. "Eminem is obviously on an obscene rant about Sarah Palin," Bill O'Reilly vented on his show. "Totally obscene. Totally inappropriate. Nothing good about it." Amusingly, Bill didn't seem to be as offended by scenes featuring a portly Jessica impersonator wolfing down a burger, or a dentally challenged Winehouse wannabe making out with jailbird husband Blake Fielder-Civil (played by Eminem) in a prison cell. Apparently Bill is not as big a fan of either Jessica or Amy as he is of the Hockey Mom.

In other rap-parody news, Kanye West was the subject of a wild sendup on a recent episode of South Park, during which he was, puzzlingly, depicted as a homosexual fish. Yes, you read that right: Kanye's been called a lot of things, but "gay aquatic lifeform" is definitely a new epithet. Normally negative treatment by the media sends Kanye into a blogging rage (remember the post-Bonnaroo fallout last year?), but this time he managed to stay surprisingly calm about the whole thing, even if his blog response regarding South Park was posted in his characteristic capslocked format. "SOUTH PARK MURDERED ME LAST NIGHT AND IT'S PRETTY FUNNY," he wrote. "IT HURTS MY FEELINGS BUT WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM SOUTH PARK!" Wow, an actual sense of humor from Kanye West over what was clearly a comedic lampoon? Perhaps Bill O'Reilly should take some pointers from 'Ye. But then again, maybe Kanye's just in a good-karmic mood lately because Dr. Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye's mother Donda a day before she died, lost his license this week.

One man probably not laughing off comedic jabs at his expense is Chris Brown, who's been in the news lately for very unfunny reasons (he entered a plea of "not guilty" to felony assault charges this week). This week Chris was the subject of a new dis song by Smoke Jumpers, "My Flow So Tight," which advocated that Chris be beat up for his alleged attack on off/on/off/on girlfriend Rihanna. The novelty tune became an instant viral hit, despite being confusingly credited to two artists by the same "Smoke Jumpers" name. Proceeds from the song, available now on iTunes, will go to multiple women's charities.

And finally, there were a few male-dominated battles this week. Country star Toby Keith was furious with actor Ethan Hawke over a Rolling Stone article Ethan wrote about Kris Kristofferson, which alluded to an alleged (and denied) 2003 altercation between Kris and an unnamed country singer whose description very much matched Toby's; Coldplay denied in federal court that they plagiarized a song by Joe Satriani in their hit "Viva La Vida"; and actor/musician Billy Bob Thornton verbally sparred with Canadian on-air personality Jian Ghomeshi during a difficult radio interview, getting angry and downright foul-mouthed when Jian dared to mention Billy Bob's acting background. (Billy was on Jian's radio show to promote his band, Boxmasters.)

"To not answer questions because I made the apparently egregious mistake of calling him an actor as well as a musician, it just seemed a little absurd," the bewildered DJ later stated. "It does raise questions about the expectations of parameters that people ostensibly think that they put on us as arts, culture, and entertainment journalists."

And that, friends and frenemies, wraps up another week in music news. Come back next Friday for another fix, and until then, goodnight and good music.


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