The Big Hurt: A healthy death

Music news in brief
By DAVID THORPE  |  October 13, 2009

A member of the recently reunited BACKSTREET BOYS — the really Christian one who looks like the Beast from that 1980s Beauty and the Beast TV show — has swine flu. That doesn't even come close to being sufficient punishment for his many aesthetic atrocities (which include his face), but it'll do for the moment.

On the other side of the coin, we have a touching tale of redemption: J.C. Chasez has proclaimed that there'll never be an *NSYNC reunion. You are forgiven, my son.

MICHAEL JACKSON's autopsy revealed that, to quote MTV, he was "Healthy at [the] Time of [his] Death." What does it say about the definition of "healthy" that it doesn't exclude the state of dying? While we're at it, let's redefine "insufferable shithead" to exclude people who bitch about semantics. Thanks.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND have disclosed that their new album will be called Contra. I'm guessing that it'll be hard as fuck, and that I'll die 20 times before I make it through the first song. is currently running its annual "Hottest MCs in the Game" list, which ranks the world's rappers based on their relative arbitrary hot-in-the-gameness. 50 CENT came in at #9, a result that generated one of the most obvious news stories in the history of pop journalism: "50 Cent Takes Issue With His Hottest MCs Ranking: 'I Think I'm #1.' " Choice 50 quote from the article: "I'm my favorite, if you ask me."

In other 50-being-his-own-favorite news: the dude hasn't released a worthwhile song in years, but I've become a huge sucker for his YouTube diss videos. He recently put one out that showed a montage of ambulances and ER doctors rushing across the screen. Then it cut to a shot of himself crying and bandaged and being comforted by his young son. "It was a Fat Joe record," 50 sobs. "I listened to it; it hurt me."

Amid this swagger, it's refreshing to see an interview that's just glum as all hell. In a conversation with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Jack Steadman of UK have-nots BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB admitted that the band don't really like their name: "That's what happens when you start young — then it just sticks. We are just trapped." And what about that big break of getting an early EP produced by hot Brit Jim Abbiss? "He had worked with our guitarist's dad, who used to be in a band called the Bible. It was just a bit of nepotism." He's not even sure how they're gonna pull off their next release: "It's going to be hard to write the second album. There's only so many bands that go in different directions second time around, either for good or bad." It's not just their own music they're not so sure about, either. "I don't really listen to bands anymore." Awwwwww.

Universal has signed 17-year-old BEN PRESLEY (the King's grandson) to a $5 million record deal. I really dug this bit that was quoted in the British press: " 'He's a typical 17 year-old,' says his spokesman. 'He doesn't get up before midday and then grunts at you.' " This is the only quote from his "spokesman" in the entire article. Welcome to the spokesman hall of fame, dude.

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Related: 2009: The year in Phoenix blog posts, The Big Hurt: Bieber fever, The Big Hurt: Pretender to the throne?, More more >
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