19 Mar 2015

Kanye West Is The Perfect Headliner For Glastonbury And You're Stupid To Think Otherwise

"Kanye West to headline the Saturday night of Britain's biggest music festival? It's a bloody outrage! Get some real music instead! This is outrageous! Where can I sell my ticket? Can a change.org petition help me? Agh, why don't they make Oasis reform to play? Or get The Who in again? Or even let Kasabian play for the second year in a row? Glastonbury's a proper music festival, for proper music! This isn't in the spirit of Glastonbury! Come on lads, sign our petition and we'll get fucking The Royal Bloods to play it instead! Down with Kanye! Down with Kanye!"

Those were my exact thoughts on hearing that Kanye West had been announced for Glastonbury this week, to a tee. Oh wait, nope. No, my thoughts were the complete opposite, as I trawled through the internet getting (maybe not so) irrationally angry at idiots who couldn't deal with the fact Kanye had been announced to play Glastonbury. It genuinely seemed to really annoy people all over the internet that perhaps the biggest hip-hop artist in the world was to play Glastonbury. I mean, one guy even started an online petition to dismantle him from the top spot, in the hope of dredging up some classic rock bands like Fleetwood Mac. Normally, I'd just try and let bygones be bygones and get on with it, but the ignorance, and even racism in some cases, shown by people that want a different headliner is just too blood-boiling to ignore. Kanye West deserves to be on the Glastonbury bill as much as any other artists operating in the world today.

So why should Kanye be at Glastonbury? Well for starters, he's released a total of 6 albums, each of them being somewhere between "pretty damn good" (808s and Heartbreak) to "absolute work of genius" (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), which is something you really can't ignore. You find all too often that big festivals keep digging up staid artists who've not released any new material for years and years to headline, which, if it's done all the time, is seemingly toxic to contemporary, hard-working bands and artists. People like the dickhead starting that petition (and commenters who agree) offer the suggestions of The Who and Fleetwood Mac as potential 'Kanye replacements' - but what have these bands done over the past 10 years? Actually, make that 30 years. And it's still fuck all. Kanye West is an artist making great music at present, working on new material. Love his music, hate his music, or somewhere in between, Kanye's certainly hard-working enough to headline any festival in the world.

But why else do arrogant fuckboys think Kanye West isn't fit to headline Glastonbury? Here's some of the most common, stupid and ignorant reasons that some of the lesser-brained members of the music-consuming public don't want the hip-hop artist to smash it on the Saturday.

Right, yes. Argument number one - you could get some proper lads to reunite just for Glastonbury! Because this is the spirit of Glasto, right? Middle class white boys playing revivalist rock and roll on guitars? Obviously you can't be a real music-er if you don't play the guitar. After all, wasn't it the world's best, and most totally original band Royal Blood who said 'music made with computers isn't real music'?

Another reason people think Kanye West shouldn't be playing? He's an outspoken 'dickhead'. Why not get some civilised, down-to-earth gents like Liam Gallagher to play. I mean, last year Metallica played, and that Lars Ulrich, isn't he a lovely chap? Oh, and Kasabian headlined it too. They're totally not the IRL version of Spinal Tap, right? 

The point is, whether you think Kanye West is a dickhead, he's a talented artist, and his outspoken views don't affect the artistic merit of his work. And yeah, I concede I probably wouldn't want to have anything more than a cup of coffee with Kanye, at least he has a personality you can admire from a distance; he's certainly got a lot more charisma than any of last year's headliners, the Foo Fighters, and Lionel Richie (this year's other confirmed acts) combined. Also 'is a 100% dickhead' no grammatical sense makes. 

Ah yes, classic. The whole This-Isn't-Indie-Rock-So-It-Must-Be-Stupid approach. But is Kanye West's music anti-intellectual or is this just scolding ignorance? I'd have to argue that Kanye West writes and makes music on an intellectual level much higher than the fucking Foo Fighters, or Kasabian. He samples from great, historical artists respectfully; for example, on MBDTF alone, West borrows from the likes of King Crimson, Smokey Robinson and Bon Iver, and those artists between them practically epitomise 'intellectual music', as our Jason calls it, within their own fields. And anyone who has ever listened to a Kanye West song will know that lyrically he's more than competent - I'm definiely no expert, but I don't think Oasis or The Stone Roses ever wrote any lyrics as great as those in Power. Nope, it looks like this commenter's another fuckwit unhappy that a black hip-hop artist has secured a slot that could have gone to a bunch of fat, old white men singing about their generation, and how, even at the youthful age of 70+ they hope they die before they get old.

No Comment.

Real musicians can only play Glastonbury, right? Rules is rules. Play all your instruments or GTFO. Oh no haha it's fine for Lady Gaga to play. And Morrissey, it was fine for him to play despite not being a musician (assuming that this commenter is discrediting Kanye for not being a 'musician' for not playing instruments). Even David Bowie performed without playing any instruments, in a period where he'd scarecly play much of the instruments on his records. So you've hardly got to play your own instruments for Glasto to work. And as for the phrase 'real music'. Don't get me started. Don't start. Don't even. If you've got to classify what you listen to strictly as 'real music' then maybe you don't deserve the ability to hear. 

To be fair to Kim, of Hemel Hemstead, I don't really have a counter argument for this one. Although I bet it's bigger than Dave Grohl's.

Wait: you think Kanye has no understanding of the music he's making? You reckon he just says the words over the top of music completely composed by other people? That he has no artistic say in the sound or production of his music? Alas no; West, in a field where production is so key, puts a huge amount into intricate production, as well as taking the main writing credit in everything he puts out. Take Power, again, from 5th album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Kanye West put literally hundreds of hours into the production, and as a result it's incredible. Did Oasis and The Who produce their own records? As far as I'm aware, to fuck did they? And if any have slipped away from my memory, it's hard to believe anything produced by Pete Townsend could sound as fine-tuned as Power, or Stronger or Jesus Walks, eh? I think a lot of the resentment towards Kanye West's cred as a 'musician' is born completely out of ignorance. You've got to think our Jake, the commenter here can't have that great an understanding of music if this is his legitimate view instead of a sensationalist statement. This is exactly why, my friend, Kanye is headlining Glastonbury and you're not.

Finally, the spirit of the festival, just what is that? For me, the spirit of the festival is in progression, and not sticking to one style of music. It's more about embracing other types of art, which is exactly why there are so many stages all around the site that give you an opportunity to embrace different kinds of music, you know? The spirit of Glastonbury doesn't lie in reforming bands of old, white men, and it doesn't lie in indie guitar rock. 

I mean, ANYWAY if the spirit of Glastonbury lies in one genre, it'd be the soft-rocking psychedelia that the peace pipe blowing hippies of 1970 listened to in their tepees. If you really care so much about 'The Spirit of Glastonbury', petition to cancel the Foo Fighters, and get a hologram of Marc Bolan (cutting out all the post-'70 'electric shit') to play instead.

And if you're really into the spirit of the festival, why are you happy to pay £220 to go to a 'free' festival? 

And look. I'll reason with you now. I love indie guitar rock, as much as anyone commenting does. My favourite bands are Ride, Pavement and Sonic Youth, and maybe I'd sign a petition if I thought they'd get them to headline Glastonbury. But really, it's stupid, horrible and immature to try and dismantle Kanye West from that headline slot. It's stupid to suggest that this incredibly talented artist isn't fit to headline Glastonbury, when he's released more great, original albums than assistant headliners the Foo Fighters.
And hey, five or six years back, when Jay-Z took the headline slot, everyone was cynical, but all the doubters were completely silenced. For me, Kanye is just as talented, and you can't deny that. But despite this, you don't HAVE to like Kanye West, it's all subjective, but with this post I'm asking you to appreciate that he's highly talented despite the fact his music is slightly different to the conventional headliner. Saying that he's not fit to headline Glastonbury would be disrespectful, especially seeing as Foo Fighters (i.e. an all-male, all-white rock band who I'd describe as falling somewhere on the spectrum between 'average' and 'middle-of-the-road') got onto the bill without anyone batting an eyelid. AND HEY, if you don't like Kanye West, there are going to be many, many stages that will have something different for you. 

Ultimately this post is wibbly-wobbly ramble, but the moral is: I like Kanye West, and if you don't, that's cool, but if you want to start a petition to get him kicked off the Glastonbury bill then maybe it's best you crawl into a hovel and don't leave until natural selection kills you off. Maybe we should start a petition, us open-minded people that can deal with someone who isn't an all-male, all-white rock band headlining a major festival. We'll call it 'Petition To Get Foo Fighters Replaced By Jazz Band'.

If you're reading through this article to laugh because I don't appreciate 'real music', here's a petition for you.

But if you think petitioning to get Kanye replaced by 'a rock band' because you think you're a 'real music' fan is ironic, stupid, bigoted and elitist, here's a better one.