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411 Music Fact or Fiction: Was The Outrage Over Fergie’s National Anthem Performance Warranted?

February 24, 2018 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Welcome to the 411 Music Fact or Fiction!

The outrage over Fergie’s National Anthem performance is overblown.

Joseph Lee: FACT – We live in a world where everyone overreacts to everything these days. It’s not even a political thing, people just automatically jump to the highest extreme emotion they can. So yeah, a lot of people gave Fergie a lot of crap. I don’t even think she should have apologized. It was awkward but who cares? There is way worse stuff going on in the world right now.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – Listen, was Fergie’s performance a poor stylistic choice? Absolutely, and someone should have told her that ahead of time. It was certainly odd, no doubt. But she’s far from the only person who has done a poor rendition of the Anthem, and I certainly don’t think it was the worst ever. At least she remembered the words, unlike Christina Aguilera did, to say nothing of Roseanne. She tried to do something different and, like many attempts to take an iconic song in a different direction, it failed (badly). People will have forgotten about it in a week and will have moved on to the next thing, I’m sure.

Drake’s video for ‘God’s Plan’ was one of his best.

Joseph Lee: FACT – I think just for the fact that he donated a ton of his money to a plethora of worthy causes makes it his best. A lot of his videos are about women who left him or how much money he has or whatever. This one actually means something.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I know that I say this all the time and it feels like piling on sometimes, but I’m not a huge fan of Drake. That said, this is easily one of his best. Is it a little self-congratulatory and probably a little minipulative? Sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great video and statement. Drake spending almost $1 million to give back to his community is a feel-good video that may just inspire others to give back (obviously in proportionate ways) in their own local areas, and that’s an important thing that you can’t ignore. I dug this video, which is light years better than “Hotline Bling” or his other music videos.

You want to attend the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Assuming ticket prices aren’t astronomical I’m definitely going to try for it. It’s Smashing Pumpkins playing their hits with most of the lineup.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I wouldn’t say I’m over the moon about it, because let’s be frank: it’s not a true Smashing Pumpkins reunion without D’arcy Wretzky. But getting most of the band together is something that I an interested in, to be sure. I’ve always been a big Smashing Pumpkins fan and with the tour being billed as a reunion, it’s likely that they’re going to lean into their back catalogue more. The Pumpkins are a pretty strong live band, and I’m not generally one for concertgoing but I would totally attend this one.


You enjoyed Frank Ocean’s cover of ‘Moon River.’

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – What I love about Frank Ocean is his ability to make classic R&B feel new again. The genre too often drifts into the urban pop area that is frankly almost indistinguishable from mainstram pop a lot of the time. Ocean applies his skills to refreshing one of the most classic songs of all-time in “Moon River” and I really liked it. It doesn’t lose the core sound of the original song, but it definitely feels more modern and Ocean’s vocals are completely on point. All in all, it’s very nice work.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Frank Ocean continues to be one of those acts that’s ahead of his time and incredibly underrated. Like, I know he gets critical praise but it never seems to be enough, you know? The guy should be a megastar.

Muse’s new track ‘Thought Contagion’ was great.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I’m a big fan of Muse, so I was already predisposed to like this track. But yeah, it was good. It has a somewhat slower tempo than one might expect, but I feel like that works in the context of the song. The lyrics are well-framed and speak to a variety of potential topics, but they all seem to essentially boil down to the tribalism that have become increasingly prevalent in discourse and news as of late. Based on both this song and last year’s “Dig Down,” I’m very much looking forward to their eighth album when it does release.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Yeah, count me in on the Muse bandwagon. It’s rare they put out a track that I don’t like. So of course I enjoyed this one.

Baby in Vain’s cover of Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” pales in comparison to the original.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I generally like Baby In Vain, but this was just a bad idea. The cover takes the song in too much of a dreamlike direction to me and while it’s really just a matter of taste, I strongly prefer the rough and gritter tones of James Hetfield’s vocals in the original. It fits the mood of the song much better. If the trio had altered up the non-vocal aspects of the song to match the vocals better it might have been different, but as it stands it is just too much of a dichotomous sound to fly for me.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of Baby in Vain prior to this cover, but I thought it was abysmal. I’m all for taking covers in a new direction and making it your own, but I wasn’t into this at all.

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