So how about that Kanye West/50 Cent beef, eh? And by "beef" we mean "public rivalry manufactured to stimulate sales of two albums being released on the same day by the same parent corporation." West's Graduation and Fiddy's Curtis ended up making a bunch of Caucasian record label executives very happy and slightly richer by selling approximately 80 gazillion units. And by "units" we don't mean "penises."
Why should this formula for success be confined to the world of corporate hip-hop? We pitted some of September's other notable releases against each other and came up with our own imaginary beefs and arbitrary victors.
All the Lost Souls, James Blunt vs. Kill to Get Crimson, Mark Knopfler
Blunt yowls like a wounded water buffalo with an anus full of fire ants, and his lyrics read like a 13-year-old girl's breakup blog. After he unleashed that wretched "Beautiful" song, Blunt should have been slapped with a restraining order prohibiting him from coming within 100 feet of any musical instrument. We don't care if it's a grand piano or a plastic kazoo; keep this dude away from anything that can emit sonic frequencies. And while we're at it, can we have his goofy-lookin' jaw wired shut? Both Blunt and Knopfler peddle bland, radio-ready rock, and while Knopfler may mumble incoherent lyrics like a drunken rent-a-Santa on New Year's Day he's still a relative badass on guitar. But given the choice between the two, we'd opt for a peanut butter sandwich because peanut butter sandwiches are consistently delicious and filling.
Reba Duets, Reba McEntire vs. Bitchin', The Donnas
Reba can count on first week sales from the Nascar mom crowd and people who prefer her sitcom to Blue Collar Comedy because it's not as thought-provoking. And these fans are more likely to pick up the Duets album off the rack at Target rather than acquiring it via "unauthorized" download. The Donnas still have the lock on the hesher pedophile demographic, even if their young-chicks-playing-garage-rock routine has evolved into a not-as-young-as-we-were-before-but-still-kinda-young-chicks-playing-arena-rock shtick. To maintain our professional objectivity we're gonna go with the Donnas on this one because their drummer is way more fuckable than Reba and slightly more appealing than a peanut butter sandwich.
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Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970 vs. Trees Outside the Academy, Thurston Moore
Rhino's latest Nuggets box set is priced at about $70 and will be snatched up by music nerds, hippies-turned-yuppies who don't mind dropping $70 on nostalgia rock and self-righteous assholes who think that there hasn't been any good American music created since 1967 (see: music nerds). Sonic Youth frontman Moore's latest solo excursion will sell to art-rock snobs (a subsect of the music nerd phylum) and Sonic Youth fans who like to hear Sonic Youth-like songs with better bass playing. So the music nerd/art-rock snob factor is kind of a wash, which leaves Sonic Youth fans and hippies-turned-yuppies to decide who will win the sales war. We're still betting on peanut butter sandwiches, which continue to be scrumptiously satisfying (unless you're deathly allergic to peanuts).
Asleep at Heaven's Gate, Rogue Wave vs. Even If It Kills Me, Motion City Soundtrack
Rogue Wave's album will sell to indie rock brats and the Motion City Soundtrack record will appeal to pop punkers. Luckily, when the Angel of Death falls upon them, such distinctions will mean very little. The MCS record is co-produced by that dude from Fountains of Wayne and Ric Ocasek. While we're suckers for well-produced, cavity-inducing tunes, again our vote goes to peanut butter sandwiches. Yum.