Looking back on the good, the bad, and the ugly from the world of pop culture and entertainment in 2014 (in no particular order):
At 69, Neil Young is Still Rocking in the Free World
The Details: JANUARY: Young makes headlines protesting the effects of the Alberta oil sands development on the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the environment as a whole. APRIL: Young surprises fans with the unexpected release of cover album A Letter Home, recorded in Voice-o-Graph recording booth. JUNE: Chrissie Hynde employs Young on her first solo album, Stockholm. JULY: Jimmy Fallon parodies Young in reunion with Crosby, Stills, and Nash on The Tonight Show; Young files for divorce from wife Pegi after 36 years of marriage. SEPTEMBER: The director’s cut of Young’s 1982 film Human Highway screens at TIFF; three separate versions of new Young song “Who’s Going to Stand Up?” are released. OCTOBER: Two books about Young are released – Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years, by Sharry Wilson, and Special Deluxe, by Young himself; Young appears/performs on The Colbert Report and declares U.S. President Obama should be impeached for fracking; Young’s ground-breaking music player, Pono, available for download. NOVEMBER: Young releases Storytone, his latest album, as both a solo effort and an orchestral album.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Irish rockers U2 raised the ire of music fans around the world by releasing their latest album, Songs of Innocence, to Apple iTunes users, with the music automatically appearing in their song libraries. The good news: the ill-conceived PR stunt only affected iTunes users, who resented having a whole album automatically downloaded without their permission. The bad news: it’s estimated that more than half a billion people use iTunes.
Why It’s Relevant: Musicians in the future can learn from this. DO expand your creative horizons and challenge yourself artistically. DON’T take the results of all that work and download it to people’s electronic devices without their permission.
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