We Asked People How Their Musical Idols Disappointed Them
“Guilty pleasure or not, I refuse to listen to this one singer, because he allegedly beat up my friend.”
Tfw you're stressed (Photo by Wavebreak Media Ltd/Alamy)
This article originally appeared on Noisey Denmark
Sadly, everyday life is full of boring compromises. Your apartment is littered with dirty laundry and empty beer cans, everything in your fridge is past its expiration date, you’re behind on a bunch of deadlines for school or work, and you also haven’t managed to find a present for your boyfriend’s grandma whose birthday is coming up.
Amid all the chaos you need a comfort. That one thing that always fills you with a sense of peace and purpose. Despite the imperfection of the rest of the world, Beyoncé is a rejuvenating constant force in my life, and I cherish the fact that she’s there for me. To me, Beyoncé can do no wrong simply because she is Beyoncé. Which is why it’s especially rough when occasionally reality comes knocking on the door.
When a Norwegian newspaper investigation in May accused Tidal of faking Lemonade’s streaming numbers, I was heartbroken and in denial at first. Ditto to my reaction when The Sun on Sunday accused Bey’s Ivy Park fashion of employing underpaid garment workers in Sri Lanka. Maybe it’s about time I embrace disappointment? Still, I prefer skipping the anger, negotiation and depression and head straight to forgiveness and acceptance. It’s not like Beyoncé herself manipulated those figures, right?
I’m far from the only person who is naïve enough to believe that streaming platforms are incorruptible and I’m also not the only one who has felt let down by an idol. That’s why I’ve spoken to a group of people who have been in similar situations.
Kings of Leon, for turning into a Bon Jovi jam band
I’ve never felt more disappointed and jaded as a fan music as I did when Kings of Leon released their fourth album. I was a huge fan in the 2000s, when they put out three stellar albums in a row, and whenever I listen to “Red Morning Light” I feel like I’m back experiencing that indie heyday all over again.
In 2008 the band released Only by the Night, which featured “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody”. That record became their breakthrough album. But it also signified a change in their concert demographic – now all the cooler kids in school who’d never give me the time of day were there, front and centre. I really feel like the Kings of Leon sold out by growing out their hair and performing in chic outfits – they looked like a band American Apparel had taken a dump on. What made things worse was the fact that they started to sound like a Bon Jovi jam band!! Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a Bon Jovi jam band – but not when you’re already my heroes.
Since then they’ve released a handful of OK albums, but they’ve never really recovered in my view. I haven’t bought any of their albums or attended any of their concerts since. I still like their old albums, but it’ll never be the same.
– Jacob Ege Hinchely, 33
Danish singer Xander, for beating up my friend
In middle school, my friends and I discovered Xander on MySpace. He’d only posted one song, but we loved it. A couple of years later, he released an album that we got into, and we all went to his concerts and had big, teen crushes on him. When I started high school, I knew Xander was a bit of a guilty pleasure, so I kept my passion a secret, but I still listened to his first album constantly and still know all the songs by heart.
One night, I was out with friends from school and we ended up partying at someone’s apartment. I didn’t know at the time that Xander was one of the people living there, or that he was asleep in a room upstairs. We were really trashed and the other people at the party who knew him personally were entertaining us with stories of his escapades at Roskilde Festival. Suddenly the door opened and Xander walked in wearing grey sweatpants and a wife beater. He was accompanied by a giant dude. “Why the fuck are you talking shit about me?” he yelled out and walked up to my friend, threw him to the floor and beat the shit out of him with a metal pipe.
It all happened so fast and afterwards he told us to get out. The stairway was very narrow, so we could only leave one at a time. It took forever to get out of there and it was super awkward. For a long time, it was difficult for me to listen to Xander’s music. Guilty pleasure or not, I refuse to listen to Xander, because he beat up my friend. But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t listened to it at all since.
– Ida Maj Krogh Eriksen, 25
Kanye West, for his scattershot opinions
Kanye West is one of my favorite artists, but he’s said some really problematic things especially when he recently talked about slavery. I was disappointed that Kanye once again displayed his ignorance of the world. He doesn’t understand how the things he says come across. He has previously written songs about what it’s like to grow up black and experience racism. But then he goes out and says something that is completely opposite to his previous points, and I just can’t take that seriously.
Kanye is all over the place in his statements. Sometimes, he expresses himself in favor of the left-wing and other times the right-wing. It just devalues his opinion when he’s so inconsistent – like he’s only making statements to get people’s attention. I find that disappointing. I don’t just like Kanye’s music because it’s good – I like it because it’s meaningful. I feel like he is compromising that right now, regardless of whether he is doing it to promote his album or not.
I’m not going to demand that he answer for every one of his viewpoints, but I do miss clarity. What type of person am I listening to? I don’t know that my disappointment has made me less of a Kanye fan, but I certainly think more about the ways in which I support him. I used to think that a Kanye concert would be the biggest musical experience ever, but today I am not even sure I’d buy a ticket if I had the chance.
– Emil Gjerding, 22
That time a wobbly Pete Doherty destroyed a gig
When I was 14, my uncle took me to my first ever real rock concert. We were going to see Babyshambles in Copenhagen and I was totally in love with Pete Doherty even though I had a boyfriend – I was obsessed in the way only a teenager is obsessed with an idol. Just being at the venue was a big deal to me. You could smoke inside back then, and I remember sneaking away from my uncle to have a cigarette and try to get closer to the stage.
Turns out I had ample time to smoke because Babyshambles were an hour and a half late. Everyone in the audience was pretty pissed off at that point. When they finally emerged, Pete Doherty seemed completely wrecked on drugs and started singing the wrong words as the band launched into the set. It was clearly a frustrating experience to him because he decided to throw the microphone to the floor until it broke. They ended up playing four songs. People were in a terrible mood. Even though I was very disappointed, I was still in love with him.
– Renna Rose Agger, 27
When, in my humble opinion, Depeche Mode sold out
As a teenager in the early 80s, I was a huge Depeche Mode fan. Back then people would kick your ass for listening to that kind of music. As a fan, it felt like you were part of a secret club where people dressed the same and it felt like you really had to fight to be a fan.
When they released Music for the Masses in 1987 they broke through into the mainstream. This meant that the concerts they played promoting the album were attended by a ton people, who in our view weren’t “true” fans. They also brought along merchandise which I saw as a major concession on their part. They had written the song “Everything Counts” which is about greed and here they were hawking their wares. The cardinal sin was a baseball cap with the band’s name printed on it. We “true” fans of the band still sported mohawks and thought baseball caps were lame.
Up until that point, I had been to all their shows in Denmark and I tried to get other people to love them as much as I did, but when the rest of the world finally did catch up, it just pissed me off and I ended up not going to any of their concerts for years. Eventually I surrendered. Dave Gahan is such a cool guy – I couldn’t stay away. It wasn’t such a bad thing that the rest of the world were into them as I had thought.
– Jakob Staalby, 49
This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.