music / Columns

411 Music Fact or Fiction: Was Madonna Out Of Line At The Women’s March?

January 27, 2017 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Welcome to the 411 Music Fact or Fiction! This week, Joseph Lee takes on Jeremy Thomas.

Sprint’s 33% ownership stake will result in major changes for TIDAL.

Joseph Lee: FACT – The corporation has a foothold in what was meant to be an artist-owned service. Yes, a group of incredibly rich and influential artists who still have stakes, but still an artist-owned service. The change already includes TIDAL being available for Sprint customers and a Sprint employee on the board. This may not equal bad changes, but Sprint’s definitely going to change some things with the service.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I mean, that’s already the case because TIDAL will now be available for Sprint’s customers (with details on how that works forthcoming). While that may just be an expansion of the service’s customer base without any additional revenue, that’s huge for a service that had subscriber numbers in the single-million mark and has been accused of inflating their numbers. But yes, even if there isn’t some drastic overhaul planned, a jump in subscriber numbers of any significant amout is likely to mean new demands and big changes though it’s hard to say what those will be at this point. I like what TIDAL stands for, but it needed this and I hope it helps the service succeed in the crowded streaming marketplace.

You don’t expect Paul McCartney to get the rights to the Beatles songs back.

Joseph Lee: FICTION – The reports about McCartney trying to use public domain laws to get the rights back makes sense to me. I don’t think it’ll come to that and there will probably be a settlement that sees McCartney get at least partial ownership, if not all of it.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – I imagine he will eventually. The copyright termination argument is actually on moderately solid legal ground and I figure this isn’t a lawsuit Sony wants to lose, because it will reinforce precedent and they’ll be losing a lot of money down the line. The Beatles’ music is obviously huge money for Sony/ATV but even they are dwarfed when you consider all the other artists who could speak up. As such, I expect this to be settled in a way that sees McCartney end up with the rights somehow, probably at a cost.

Audioslave’s reunion was a one-off that won’t lead to anything.

Joseph Lee: FACT – It would be neat to see them back for a new album and tour, but there’s no evidence to think it’ll happen at this point in time.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – More than likely. I sure as hell wouldn’t mind seeing more Audioslave music come about but Chris Cornell seems to pretty much do whatever he’s in the mood for and I don’t think getting back with the rest of the group full time is on his agenda. It made complete sense to see them come together for a one-off performance at the Anti-Inaugural Ball but there’s no reason, at this point at least, to suspect that they’ll do a reunion tour or make new music. Maybe, but I doubt it.


You’re a fan of Kings of Leon’s song “Waste A Moment.”

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – Kings of Leon is a band that has consistently grown on me over the years. I had to warm to them because at first I considered them to be overly derivative of both their contemporaries and influences, but as time has gone on I’ve come to appreciate what they have to offer. “Waste a Moment” is very much in their wheelhouse but in a good way, with a strong heartland rock aesthetic and a great chorus. It’s a modern spin on the ’80s rock anthems in a way these guys excel at, with a fairly strong story in the lyrics to boot. It has certainly made me more interested in hearing what’s to come on their new album, so it did its job nicely.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Yeah, it was fine. I’ve definitely heard better from this band, but this is along the lines of some of their better tracks.

Soulja Boy’s felony charges will likely cancel the boxing match with Chris Brown.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – Ahh, Soulja Boy. Let me count the ways I don’t care about him. Yeah, luckily I think this is going to put the kibosh on things. Normally I would say that’s not likely to happen but in this case, Soulja and Brown haven’t been able to secure a location in the US and were looking to fight in Dubai. Now that he’s been charged, I doubt Soulja’s lawyers will be too keen on him leaving the country. I dunno, maybe he’ll be stupid and do it anyway, but I have a feeling it will be “indefinitely postponed,” at least until after his trial. Tough luck, Chris.

Joseph Lee: FACT – Yeah even if he’s not convicted, he’s going to be tied up in court for a while and it puts any boxing match on hold. So now you’ll have to look elsewhere for your celebrity car wreck.

Madonna comments about “blowing up the White House” at the Women’s March were out of line.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION: I know, I know, call me the crazy liberal (and I am) but before you do, allow me to explain. Despite the way it’s been portrayed in certain corners, Madonna didn’t call for people to blow up the White House. She didn’t say she intended to. She was empathizing with those who have serious anger and who might resort to violence, such as those who were considering rioting during the women’s march. Her exact quote was, “Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet, W.H. Auden once wrote on the eve of World War II: We must love one another or die.”

What she was clearly trying to say, in my estimation at least, was “I understand your anger, I feel it too. It’s easy to fall into that dark place. But that’s not the way.” Was it the most eloquent way to go about it? No. But people who are calling for her to be arrested are no better than those who called for Ted Nugent to be arrested for saying, “I told [Obama] to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.” At least Madonna’s was talking about building destruction and not (figuratively) shooting someone. Both of them said controversial things and both could have been said much better, but I support their right to say it and Madonna’s was a call for love, not the actual violence.

Joseph Lee: FACT – In this age of widespread media and instant reactions, it’s not about what you meant to say but what you said. If you say something like “blow up the White House”, the rest of your message will be lost. All anyone remembers about Madonna’s appearance is that and her general use of profanities toward the President. And yes, I know that President Trump has said his share of classless things in the past, but the whole point of the Women’s March, to my understanding, was to inspire hope and peacefully make their voices heard.

Madonna missed the mark in her speech like she often misses the mark in supporting political causes. Remember when she offered oral sex to anyone who voted for Clinton? Yeah, she was joking, but things like that make the people and causes she represents look bad. Freedom of speech is great but there’s a thing called tact. If you’re protesting a President for things he’s said that anger you, maybe don’t stoop to that level.

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