Unapologetic Intellectual Masturbation on the Christmas number 1 race

December 19, 2009

So tomorrow the Christmas number one is announced, and Rage Against the Machine actually look like they have a chance to beat Simon Cowell’s Miley Cyrus cover (sung by poor Joe). But what does this achieve, mean or damage?

For me, it’s about two things: one is recreating the traditional Christmas number one race which X Factor has completely dominated to the point where it’s non-existant. Well it certainly achieved that- the tabloids are bumming off it, and the broadsheets bitch and moan about what a worthless statement it is (and how it’s organised by immature idiots that are just as involved in the media bubble as anyone and can’t organise any real sort of uprising because their lives are empty and meaningless- but I’ll go into that later). It’s certainly a race.

What about the people who want to fight the corporate machine, or bad music, or something? You have to be quite silly to claim moral authority over the X Factor single. The money’s going to the same record company. Is the Rage song better? The song is about institutional racism in America. Well there’s one up on Joe for actually writing a song about something you care about, and with meaning behind it. But that’s not what people care about, they care about the sort of directionless sense of rebellion (nowt wrong with that, as I’ll explain if I ever finish my Kasabian review), fantasising about swearing into the face of a policeman during a revolution, escapism from their pathetic compliancy in the system. By that account they don’t earn that much more respect then people bobbing their head to a Miley Cyrus song.

But I don’t think the organisers are doing this to make a statement about musical quality- the same organisers did it with Rick Astley last year, and got into the top 40. Which brings me to the second reason I payed my 29p, the comedy value. That attempt would have been funny because of the whole watered-down-chan-culture in-joke thing (also it’s a pretty funny song). Killing in the Name will be funny because it’s so fucking inappropriate for a christmas number one.

Will this damage X Factor? Lets not go nuts about this, there was manufactured pop before Simon Cowell, and he at least picked a good song last year (even if the lyrics were utterly lost on Alexandra Burke, and the key change was embarrassing).

Sorry, I don’t know what came over me. He’s a wanker who makes shit, dumbed down, populist music, all packaged in an idiotic, post-Princess Diana weep fest which has inflated the status of celebrity to the detriment of our culture. He’s encouraging people to switch off their brain. If they had their brain switched on maybe the Gordon Brown hate would have translated into proper action. But that’s a different problem.

If Rage get to number one, it might break the idea that X Factor has a right to the position. They would have to react next year, which would be interesting. (They’ve already tried to make it a Class thing, where as really it’s an Idiot thing). The very fact of them acknowledging criticism would be a step forward.

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