Artists Who Brush Off Critics Have the Last Laugh19th February 2015 • 2 comments
The music industry is certainly filled with its share of ego-maniacs but not everyone enjoys swimming in narcissistic pretension. Some artists have a difficult time transitioning from top of the charts to butt of the joke. In the 90s Kip Winger frequently lambasted cartoon Beavis and Butt-head and its creator Mike Judge for calling the band “wussies” and making fun of their videos. On a more serious note, Phil Collins has had his share of public mocking courtesy of South Park, among other things, and has battled depression and addiction trying to find a balance between his once beloved public persona and comic fodder. Then there are others, who seem to be a rarity, but are able to find the humor in mistakes they’ve made, career missteps, or simple unpopularity with a large sect of the populace. Love them or hate them, these artists are able to laugh at themselves, which probably enrages their detractors even more.
5 Seconds of Summer
5 Seconds of Summer “won” title of Worst Band at this year’s NME Awards. While many in a similar position would have thrown a tantrum of some sort or ignored it altogether, the 5SOS lads seemed to take it in stride and laugh it off, even sending out a celebratory tweet.
While it’s doubtful any of the members of 5 Seconds of Summer were genuinely elated to be crowned Worst Band, they handled it in the best way possible, and in doing so, got even more traffic on social media. That tweet alone was retweeted 56k time and has 81k favorites, not to mention they myriad of fans who came out in support of the group after their “award” was announced.
Michael Bolton’s name doesn’t tend to be synonymous with gaiety and whimsy but in recent years Bolton has shrugged the annoyance he once felt toward his association with the film Office Space. In the movie, a character named Michael Bolton often complains about having to go through life sharing a name with the singer. In one exchange, the character has a conversation with a coworker about his name.
Michael Bolton: Yeah, well at least your name isn’t Michael Bolton.
Samir: You know, there’s nothing wrong with that name.
Michael Bolton:There was nothing wrong with it. Until I was about 12 years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys.
Samir: Well, if it bothers you that much, why don’t you just go by Mike; instead of Michael?
Michael Bolton: No way. Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.
In yet another scene, the Michael Bolton character listens begrudgingly as a consultant tells him what a huge fan he is of the singer.
For years performer Michael Bolton distanced himself from mention of the film but now seems to welcome it. He gladly signs copies of the Office Space DVD for autograph seekers and recognizes a lot of people know of his career because of the film. When Bolton did a Reddit AMA the session was largely overtaken by people discussing and quoting Office Space. Not only did Bolton oblige their questions, but he talked about the film and engaged with the Redditors.
When it comes to people having fun at their own expense, there is no one better than James Blunt. The saccharine balladeer is perhaps more famous for his Twitter hilarity than any music at this point, and with good reason. Twitter users worldwide bash, harass, and mock Blunt and his music and his replies have taken on a life of their own. Many people who don’t know of James Blunt or his music follow his Twitter account simply to see what he’ll say next and lists of his classic replies become instant favorites. Buzzfeed has written a couple, as have The Poke, The Chive, and The Lad Bible.
As difficult as it must be for artists to be confronted with criticism, and often blatant rudeness from people around the world, many have learned how to handle in a productive way. In the case of James Blunt, it’s completely invigorated his career in an unexpected way. There will never be a time when everyone is a fan of a given artist but if they can learn to counter other people’s negativity with a laugh, they’ll be all the better for it.