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Best of Boston 2009

Fleecing, stealing, shilling, and sucking with impunity

The Big Hurt: Music news in brief
By DAVID THORPE  |  January 6, 2009

Over the busy holiday season, a tremendous wealth of worthless music-news tidbits slipped through the cracks, unnoticed by a lethargic, goose-sated America. Don't worry! I haven't once pulled my watery eyes from the noxious miasma of trivia and horror that surrounds pop music, so you won't miss a thing. Go ahead, call me a hero. I deserve it.

That reminds me: I've been hearing all these self-congratulatory narratives from war correspondents on the radio saying, "Ooh, I got shot at, ooh, I saw people die, boo-hoo." Give me a goddamned break, guys — you don't have any idea what I go through every week as a fake music journalist. I have to read things about Mariah Carey. Today I opened an issue of Alternative Press, and I'm not gonna say I read it, but I looked at every page, which I think we can all agree is a lot worse than living under the lingering threat of violent death. But you don't hear me asking to be called a hero (except when I just did it a minute ago).

Here's one they tried to slip by us unnoticed: the RIAA, loathsome boogeyman of the music industry (not to be confused with the dude from KC and the Sunshine Band, the loathsome Boogie Man of the music industry), will no longer be suing people for illegally downloading music. After several years and tens of thousands of ridiculous lawsuits — which included claims against children, the elderly, and people who didn't even own computers — the implacable legal Sisyphus is shifting its futile toil toward Internet service providers and away from individual downloaders.

What does this mean for you, the unrepentant pirate, and me, the really handsome guy? It means we can download tons of MP3s (the way we do already) without the nagging fear of having to pay a thousand-dollar settlement to the RIAA legal Ponzi scheme to fund further frivolous lawsuits. This time, the unlikely consequence of our lawbreaking is a nasty letter from our ISP, or maybe a cessation of Internet service if our ISP is being a dick. My iPod feels heavier already.

Headline of the week, via "FOO FIGHTERS and COLDPLAY to honor NEIL DIAMOND." Really gets the blood pumping, doesn't it?

If you're wondering why all the BETTER THAN EZRA videos just vanished from your YouTube favorites, it's because Warner Music Group yanked all its music from YouTube as a result of being a big baby about royalties or something.

A recent release by the British charity Sense about Science complains of the mathematical inaccuracy of MARIAH CAREY's new album title, E=MC2, which Carey explains as "emancipation equals Mariah Carey times two." "Unfortunately, Mariah has misread the algebra," states a concerned mathematician. "The two in the equation means c squared, not mc multiplied by [voice muffled due to speaker's being shoved into locker]."

Elsewhere, scientists have confirmed, after years of debate, that zero is actually the loneliest number.

Regular Big Hurt readers know I'm a huge fan of dead guys in advertising, so here's a real rib tickler for ya: JOHN LENNON's ghostly voice and visage have been digitized into a charity ad about donating solar-powered laptop computers to kids in Africa. Nothing says "laptops" like John Lennon, right? Although he died four months before the release of the first portable computer, hey, who knows, maybe he would have been totally into them.

Taking a hint from Trent Reznor's elaborate gradation of album packaging, U2 will be offering five different versions of their upcoming No Line on the Horizon. There's the standard CD issue for those who just want to fulfill their tedious cultural obligation in the cheapest manner possible, and the double vinyl LP for those who need to adorn their purchase with a bit of imaginary superiority. For $36, one can upgrade to a cardboard digipack version that includes a booklet, a poster, and a downloadable film by photographer/designer/director Anton Corbijn (which, I'm guessing, has something to do with U2). If you're feeling $15 dumber, you can spring for a magazine-style package that comes in a 60-page softcover case with the CD and the downloadable Corbijn film. If you happen to be an obsessive completist or Bono's mom or something, you can spring for a $96 boxed version featuring all of the above and then some.

If you're a huge U2 fan, you're probably thinking, "Laugh all you want, jerk, but $96 isn't too much to spend on a great piece of art." Well, if you were a real fan, you'd have to buy every version, right? Just hope you're under the auspices of Bono's humanitarianism when you're rotting in debtor's prison, chump!

Oh, there's a sixth version, too: download the shit for free with no consequences. Thanks, RIAA!

Related: The Big Hurt: Crashing Pumpkins, U2 | No Line On the Horizon, Y'all come back now . . ., More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Alternative and Contemporary Rock, Anton Corbijn, BETTER THAN EZRA,  More more >
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