Branded Photobombs 📷 💣

Online fan armies, hip-hop domination, fresh songwriting. Insider predictions for the year in music plus 10 new artists to watch.

A Damning Indictment

Surviving R. Kelly, a six-part docu-series on Lifetime, is brutal, furious, and unequivocal. The firsthand accounts are wrenching. It’s an indictment of the entire music industry from top to bottom. It has galvanized long overdue outrage, and spurred action - Lady Gaga took down her duet with Kelly after issuing a heartfelt statement. Its most damning indictment is reserved for us, the public. Jelani Cobb notes in the New Yorker, “An exposé typically indicts the character of its subject; Surviving R. Kelly indicts a public that knew of his character and did nothing about it, a public that constructed an elaborate architecture of denial and has chosen to live in it.”

Branded Photobombing

A star was born at this year’s Golden Globes: Fiji Water Girl. Her red carpet branded photobomb -- she somehow made it into nearly every picture -- is the biggest breakthrough in red carpet branding since the step and repeat. The internet loved it, turning Fiji Water Girl into this year’s first breakout meme. It’s natural that this branding breakthrough came from a bottled water company. It takes a true brand genius to find customers willing to pay 4 bucks a pop for water transported on container ship from halfway around the world (Fiji does actually come from Fiji), with an obscenely high carbon footprint, whose only distinction from competitors is packaging, and which generally can be found for free. Kudos.

Generation Burnout

Upon hearing Millennials griping about the difficulty of “adulting” -- completing a typical task or responsibility expected of an adult -- older generations roll their eyes. “Grow up, the overall sentiment goes. Life is not that hard.” Older generations also consider Millennials ruthless murderers, roaming the countryside looking for the next pillar of American society to tear to the ground. To date, no theory has squared these two conflicting descriptions, lazy yet ruthless, until now. In a brilliant, must-read essay, How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation, Anne Helen Peterson synthesizes the Millennial condition, and in doing so struck a chord with the generation.




The Cavemen
Stephen Colbert Explains Gov't Shutdown With Beer
Still Processing
Charline von Heyl


We Want Your Feedback

As part of our continuing effort to bring premium content direct to your inbox every Friday, we want to hear from you, dear reader. What do you like? What do you skip? What do you wish we had that we don't? Email us or reply on this thread, and thanks again for subscribing.


See ya next week...
This WeekMatt Pennington