Pop music predictions for 2011
Axl Rose announces he's been in the studio working on a new album he hopes will be complete by autumn. He claims it will be "very eclectic" and "mindblowing," incorporating elements of classical, dub, opera and reggae, as well as guest vocals from Josh Groban and Tony Bennett, among others. The working title of the album is Slash--a reference, he claims, to the nature of the album. A round of lawsuits ensues as well as constant sniping between Rose and his former bandmates through interviews on morning shows and various other news outlets. The album is, unsurprisingly, not completed by the end of the year.
Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis announces in an interview that he gathers material for his albums in the dark. "I shut the lights off and then just randomly grab at my vinyl. I make do with whatever I have in my hands at the end." he says. "Honestly, I can't believe anyone even buys this crap." Record sales skyrocket.
Controversy again surrounds Lady Gaga when she arrives at the Grammys with two live human beings strapped to her body in lieu of clothing. She claims the move is in support of Amnesty International, who immediately issue a press release condemning the move as "horrific." In the weeks following, it is revealed that the trio hogged the craft services table backstage and controversy again arises when, in an interview later in the year, one of the "passengers," as they're referred to in the media, claims he "felt something extra" on Gaga, though he refuses to go into specific detail.
Kanye West announces that he is, in fact, God. This is met with a large amount of skepticism, calls for his head, mass album burnings by religious groups and the like. When the media furor recedes, he quietly states that he can prove this fact. A group consisting of several psychiatrists, an anthropologist and, oddly, two music critics is assembled to run a battery of tests on him and this is revealed to actually be true. We learn that--among other things--dinosaurs died in a mass suicide pact and that there was indeed a second shooter in Dallas in '63. West's only response: "The 10.0 [for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy] from Pitchfork should have been enough evidence to back this up."
OK Go outdo themselves yet again, promoting the release of a five-song EP by shooting a video in space. The shoot is jointly commissioned by Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg and though it's marred by problems, the end result is stunning--with cameos by all three of the band's benefactors to boot. The song ("On the Way Up"), becomes a massive, worldwide hit on the power of the video alone and they start selling out arenas in every city. By December the band is shambles, though, with lead singer Damian Kulash leaving the band citing mounting internal discord within the band and massive overexposure. He eventually joins a monastery.
It is revealed that Keith Richards has actually been dead for six years. When asked to comment Richards says, "Well, I'm as surprised as anyone about it."
OutKast releases their surprising new album which consists solely of standard folk covers and unreleased Elliot Smith material. They reinterpret none of it, playing it all just as it was written. It's only the end of 2011 but many influential music writers including Jim DeRogatis and Robert Christgau hail it as the album of the decade. Christgau cites their ability to be musical chameleons and "their willingness to repress their instincts to dress their sound up and constantly be innovative--which is an innovation in itself." By summer 2012 it is approaching Thriller to take the crown as the best-selling album of all-time.