Musicians Are Funniest When They’re Being Really Sincere: a Study
Or, all the times people in music made us laugh when they weren't trying to. Happy International Day of Happiness, everyone!!
There's a 2014 Wall Street Journal video interview in which Aretha Franklin, when asked for her quick-take opinions on the pop stars of today, boils down Taylor Swift's entire career to: "OK, great, er, great gowns. Beautiful gowns." She'd just shouted out Alicia Keys as a good writer and producer, was about to name Whitney Houston a talent and would then decide to "pass on that one" when asked about Nicki Minaj. But in her estimation, Swift's main contribution to music has been the dresses she wears. That's it. This is a moment so pure it has to be treasured.
The people who devote their lives to making music and selling it to us can also, often unwittingly, sometimes be funnier than your favourite washed-out standup comedian. Meek Mill, tumbling down some stairs; Iggy Azalea forgetting the length of her own stage and decking it off the edge; Sarah Harding just bombing the fuck out of a long note on GMTV during Girls Aloud's halcyon days. They're all examples of times when musicians have tickled a slapstick rib that most of us thought had fallen out of our bodies somewhere near the end of primary school. On this fine day, the International Day of Happiness, we're going back through the very best moments of musicians giving us joy when they didn't mean to. Enjoy.
THE INCREDIBLY SERIOUS TIDAL LAUNCH VIDEO
Listen, I love music as much as the next girl. I work for a music website, ffs. But when All Your Famous Faves "dropped" the launch video for Tidal almost two years ago, sitting around a conference table like they were at the UN General Assembly making a final call on Iran's nuclear plan, I gagged. The idea of ownership in art is obviously important, and in principle I am on board with Tidal being a streaming platform created by the very people whose music we all consume. But, like, lads. Jack White's stony, pale face. Daft Punk STILL NOT TAKING THEIR HELMETS OFF IN THE BOARDROOM because not even this seismic moment calls for the common courtesy of eye contact. Beyonce looking off into the middle distance, like she's already imagining how many tweets are going to mock this video. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing. — Tshepo Mokoena
JESY NELSON FROM LITTLE MIX DOING "BALEGDEH"
I know this is an obvious entry, but when the year is 2046 and we've replaced our legs with segways and all our skin with DIY tattoos and communicate only by saying "LOL" over and over and over again, Jesy Nelson attempting a Jamaican accent and coming up with "Balegdeh" will still be funny. Just like Helen Mirren, "Balegdeh" never gets old and dies. Honestly, watch it again and spend the next ten to 25 minutes solidly cracking up. Happy International Happiness Day, lads. Side note: this entry was a toss-up between this and Sarah Harding singing that bum note, so big up to that too. — Daisy Jones
THE OFFSPRING'S "CRUISING CALIFORNIA" SESH BUS
The first thing you will observe about this song is it is an absolute rager. Don't even @ me. It is perfect. The fact that it only has 51,000 views is a sign that we, as a people, constantly deprive ourselves of fun and pleasure for no good reason. On top of being a truly great pop song, it is also hilarious on account of who is responsible: The Offspring. They spend 3 minutes and 29 seconds cruising around California, as it were, on a party bus with its own stripper pole while guitarless frontman Dexter Holland honks out the lyrics: "And she's waving her caboose at you/ You sneeze/ Achoo/ She calls you out/ Mmhmm!" Indeed, this is the band that also brought us "Why Don't You Get A Job" and "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)", so it's not as off brand as it initially seems, and you will find much important discussion in the YouTube comments raising such important points as, "haha! Good joke!" and "where is the punk?" if you care to look into the matter of sincerity further. But when all's said and done, does it really matter? Either way what you're left with is four men sliding gracefully into their fifties encouraging their hometown to "turn up the beat, yeah" while wearing a lot of wet hair gel. I see nothing not to love. — Emma Garland
BoB ARGUING THAT THE EARTH IS FLAT
"Everything that you've been taught is a lie. It's programming." Those are the wise words of rapper, BET award winner and Flat Earth Society member Bobby Ray Simmons Jr AKA BoB. He was about to expand on his theory on human cloning in a little "straight to camera" moment, which follows his insistence in January 2016 that the earth is flat and that scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson is on some bullshit talking about "gravity," Euclidian geometry and visual perspective. You'll be pleased to hear that just three days ago, BoB was still asking Twitter how old nuclear test explosion films could exist. "Who was the cameraman?" The powerful questions of our age. Thank you for these gift, BoB. — Tshepo Mokoena
GERI HALLIWELL EMERGING FROM A GIANT CROTCH
If this were an American awards show, you know Geri Halliwell would have done a sultry strut from the side of the stage in a black sparkly dress and delivered a breathy rendition of "Bag it Up" under a single spotlight. But this was 2000s Britain, so instead we've got Davina McCall – furiously gurning Davina, who has always been around and will never leave – introducing the former Spice Girl seconds before she lobs herself down a giant stripper's pole in tracksuit bottoms and stilettos like your mate's recently divorced mum Tracy, before very slowly and carefully walking down what is supposed to be a monstrously large, cavernous vagina decorated in the Union Jack.
And then – and then – she violently stomps across a line of men's backs like stepping stones made from skin, rips off her blouse and shouts, "SHOW ME YER BOOBS!" lf you saw this in your hometown's local – which we all have, haven't we – it would surely fill you with a deep and complicated sense of elation. So the fact this was on national British television and has been uploaded to YouTube for future generations is just a fucking blessed gift. — Daisy Jones
On this International Day of Happiness 2017 nothing makes me happier than knowing I have the passion of music blazing through my veins like a shot of glucose straight to my heart. Cut me open and I will bleed everything from DJ Detweiler's infamous #flutedrops straight out of 2013 to U2's disastrous b-side "Xanax and Red Wine" and weird images of Birdman whenever he pops up in one of Lil Wayne's rap videos looking like a bulldog that's just been given a sniff of some low-grade MDMA. I do not take pleasure in knowing these things today more so than I do on any other day of the year, for I know nothing more than these feelings. Music is me and I am music. "When the night is falling/ You cannot find the light/ You feel your dreams are dying/ Hold tight/ You've got the music in you" – and I believe that too. Let's get it. — Ryan Bassil
BUT ALSO KANYE DANCING TO A-HA ON STAGE
If you hate happiness then I feel sorry for you, you semi-ironic and deeply sad inside fuck. — Ryan Bassil
Honourable mentions from this year go to Jessie J's a cappella Instagram videos, Bradley Walsh trying to grasp the concepts of Stormzy and Bruno Mars at the NME Awards, Travis Scott falling down a hole onstage during one of Drake's O2 shows and the GOAT vocalist scream-singing Green Day over his housemate's attempts to play acoustic guitar. Happiness to one and all.