Over/Underrated 2014 – Part Five

5 Jan

Overrated

U2 – Songs of Innocence

–Brook

If there’s one takeaway from the myriad train wrecks in 2014 pop culture, above Miley Cyrus and that homeless guy, above Kim Kardashian’s greasy ass, even above Dustin Diamond (a.k.a. Screech from Saved by the Bell) stabbing some guy in a Wisconsin bar, let it be this: We now have definitive proof that U2 is the worst band in history.

For a long time this was mere speculation. The stuff of legend. Nessie had more confirmed sightings than there were supporters of this theory. Whispers in the shadows, spoken in secret. Many feared to speak aloud that the band which must not be named wasn’t worth a single potato grown in their native Ireland.

Then in September, Apple released U2’s thirteenth studio album to all its iTunes customers. “For Free.” But as we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch; Apple reportedly paid upwards of $100 million as a blanket royalty for Songs of Innocence.

Now, if you’re like me, when you noticed the album in your iTunes library, you were thinking something along the lines of: “How in the hell does Apple tell me ad nauseum that I don’t have enough storage space on my phone, yet it somehow found room for this rubbish?”

Well kids, it seems we weren’t alone. Almost as quickly as the album came out, there were articles outlining step-by-step instructions for getting rid of it. And Bono was forced to apologize, because LITERALLY NO ONE wanted it.

And by apologize, I mean come off even more smugly self-righteous than assuming the world would hail your musical genius and fall all over themselves to thank you for your benevolent gift of “free” music.

He said, “Oops. I’m sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea. Might have gotten carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that [sort of] thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and a deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years might not be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”

Huh. I guess life really is better through rose-colored glasses (Note to self: make an eye appointment).

He is right about one thing, though. Other than a few select songs, namely “Where the Streets Have No Name”; “With or Without You”; and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, the vast majority of their “music” is noise.

Well, you know what, Bono? You wouldn’t have to fear your songs not being heard if they weren’t complete and total garbage.

Now, excuse me. I’m off to bury what is left of the mangled corpse of your career beneath The Joshua Tree.

U2

Underrated

Olivia Munn

–Andrea

Olivia Munn and I have a love/hate relationship that goes back nearly a decade.

It started out that Munn was the girl I loved to hate. Our relationship began in the late 2000s when Husband became a devout watcher of the G4 television show Attack of the Show! (AOTS), which was at the time co-hosted by Munn. I guess her technical job description was co-hosting, but as far as I could tell, all she did was eat hot dogs off a strings and jump into giant pies, with the occasional dress-up like Princess Leia or Superwoman thrown in for good measure. As if the nerds viewers watching G4 needed yet another not-a-snowball’s-chance-in-hell name to add to their Fantasy Wish Lists. Here Munn was, a gorgeous and supposedly intelligent woman, doing self-degrading and flat out sexist stunts to appease a predominantly male audience. Hence my hatred.

I didn’t shed a tear when Munn left AOTS in 2010 (or when AOTS left the airwaves permanently in 2013, but that’s a different entry altogether). For a period of time I rejoiced because I thought I was done with Munn for good. To my dismay, she kept popping up. On The Daily Show. Chuck. Magic Mike. And, in 2012, on HBO’s The Newsroom.

For a long time I convinced myself that I liked these shows/movie despite Munn’s presence. It wasn’t until 2014, however, that I was able to admit that I liked these shows/movie in part because of Munn’s presence.

I had been begrudgingly tolerating her presence on my beloved Newsroom for years, but I finally had to admit that of all the dynamic characters on that show, it was her portrayal of Sloan Sabbith that I looked most forward to seeing each week. On paper, the character of Sloan Sabbath is rude, condescending, incomprehensibly brilliant, and painfully awkward. Quite frankly, Sloan could have come off us a highly unlikeable character. I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see that through Munn’s portrayal, Sloan became endearing, relatable, sympathetic, and funny. Most importantly, Munn made her a beautifully flawed human being.

The Newsroom sadly came to an end in 2014 (for more lamentations on the subject see Part Two here), and this time Munn’s absence is definitely worth shedding a figurative tear or two over. With a starring role opposite Johnny Depp in the film Mortdecai premiering at the end of January, however, I won’t have to wait long to see Munn’s face again. The trailer for Mortdecai implies that Munn is once again playing the role of Eye Candy, so I’m not sure if I’ll love it or hate it. What I am sure of, is that when it comes to my love/hate relationship with Munn, I’m in it for the long haul.

Olivia Munn

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