Hot Or Not? Rihanna, Flo Rida, #FreeKesha And More

Written By Sam Murphy on 02/24/2016

Our bi-weekly investigation of what we're digging and what we want to bury...

Rihanna is the greatest popstar on the planet and she's gone ahead and proved it by nabbing 14 number ones in the US, a feat only beaten by The Beatles and Mariah Carey. Well, The Beatles were popstars (plural) and Mariah Carey isn't as much a popstar as she is an elusive chanteuse. So, that makes Rihanna the best popstar on the planet and she's done it with a song that's probably one of the most minimal tracks to top the charts. Work is a triumph and not even in a "I'm a massive Rihanna single headed straight to number one" kind of way. And then for the video all she has to do is hole up in a pink room with Drake and now it's a benchmark for future pop videos. Rihanna is running the game right now and the best part is she doesn't give a fuck.

Vroom Vroom Records
Speaking of popstars ruling the world, here's another one. Charli XCX is forging ahead as an innovator starting her own label that's going to be full of weird, twisted pop. XCX could very easily head straight for Max Martin and bag herself a bunch of hits but it feels like she actually cares about the state of pop music and wants to inject something a little different. Vroom Vroom and Trophy, both produced by SOPHIE, are weird and wonky winners.

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"][/soundcloud]

Keep Sydney Open
On Sunday, 15,000 people turned out to fight for the nightlife and culture of our city and every single person there behaved expertly. There was intelligent conversation about the laws, it was completely peaceful and not one person was punched in the process. The simple fact is that there are plenty of people, Isabella Manfredi and Nina Las Vegas for example, that are capable of engaging in some really thoughtful dialogue with the government. The government is intent on making this whole thing a monologue and has painted people fighting against the laws as a bunch of spoilt, party-seekers that want a drink and a dance after 3am. That's not the case. We don't want venues shutting down that have contributed to the once vibrant music scene that this city had. We want our culture to continue to forge forward and we want places that can house new talent so we can take advantage of the wealth of budding producers and musicians we have.

Past our Baird time #keepsydneyopen

A post shared by the interns (@theinterns_net) on

The whole #FreeKesha movement is an example of what the internet can achieve when it uses its powers for good and not evil. No doubt Kesha felt pretty alone after a court ruled she was unable to break her contract with Sony and her alleged rapist Dr. Luke, but celebrities like Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato and Lena Dunham have used their voices intelligently. Dunham poignantly contributed to the conversation by way of her self-created Lenny Letter writing, "Soon, no one will accept shame and fear as the status quo. And so, while Kesha is indefinitely silenced, her voice has never been louder." Whether we like it or not, there are people who can speak louder than other because of their fame or position in society. It's important that those people speak up and elevate voices when others can't do so themselves. This overwhelming support for Kesha will hopefully give strength to those who feel they must deal with abuse silently.

All Saints
All Saints announced that they were returning at the beginning of this year which could have either gone two ways. It could've been the final nail in the coffin for a group who has attempted to reform once before or it could've been a reviving move. Thankfully, today we can confirm, it's the latter. Their comeback single One Strike is bloody great. It sounds like All Saints without drawing on nostalgia as their only weapon. It's groovy, full of immaculate harmonies and a chorus that sinks in like honey to toast.

The situation this week involving Opals player Alice Kunek dressing as Kanye West complete with blackface is worrying for a number of reasons. One, it's worrying that she even thought it was appropriate in the first place and two, it's worrying that people would defend it. Sure, there's no way she would've done it if she knew it would offend. There's no question surrounding that - it was total ignorance more than anything. It's sad, that there are still people that, even after countless cases, are unaware that it's offensive. That's probably because there are certain branches of the media that defend it every time it happens and eventually it just goes away. Furthermore, the racist abuse that fellow player Elizabeth Cambage copped after speaking out about it was disgusting. Blackface was used by white as a comedic tool to mock African Americans in the 19th century. It's offensive and it's not up for debate. Particularly by white media who feel that they have a right to call it inoffensive.

Flo Rida
Have you wondered why you were feeling calmer than usual listening to the radio for the past few years? It may be because Flo Rida hadn't had a top 10 hit in this country since 2013, but the drought is over. The man who literally went to number one by using whistle as a metaphor for a penis is back with a song that will no doubt be used as the theme song for renovation shows for years to come. "Hear a knock on the door and the night begins," he actually raps in this song as if he's narrating Pete and Manu's entrance to an MKR instant restaurant.

Channel V Shutting Down
After 20 years, it's been announced this morning that Channel V as we know it is shutting down. Instead, it will be absorbed into V Hits with no long form content to be produced. It was inevitable given that most now curate their own content on YouTube but it's sad that presenters like Danny Clayton will no longer be bringing their enthusiasm for music to the screen. On radio, many of the hosts are there as a personality rather than for the music and we no longer have any avenues where bands can perform on TV. Somehow we need to reignite the passion for music and have commercial radio and television that makes music its centrepiece. Channel V was one of the last living places for enthusiasm about music to be shared.

James Bay
James Bay has made a bit of a silly of himself this week. Lily Allen made a very worthy comment about the lack of diversity in the Brit Award nominations saying they were “blind to black talent" which this year is sadly true. For some reason they ignored Grime stars like Stormzy and Skepta even though they have had phenomenal years opting rather for a Best Male Artist category featuring entirely white artists. Bay, perhaps one of the most vanilla artists out there right now, when asked about what she said decided instead to comment of her relevancy saying, "I can’t think of her last album." Thankfully Allen, who has one of the sharpest tongues on Twitter, hit back saying, "he shares a name with the most standard, basic and least flavorsome herb, which I found both fitting and amusing." For the record, the herb in question is up for four Brit Awards including Album Of The Year for his debut Chaos and the Calm.