The week in music: Morrissey on Obama (again), Taylor Swift's many famous friends and more

This week’s roundup includes Taylor Swift’s endless parade of on stage guests, Lauren Mayberry speaking out against misogyny and One Direction sort of splitting up

Taylor Swift continued to bring everyone on stage with her

I sometimes imagine that, after a performance on tour, Swift goes backstage and screams, “GET ME ALANIS MORISSETTE” or “FETCH ELLEN DEGENERES” to her team before disappearing in a flash of fake lashes and sequins. How else is she pulling in this succession of high-profile (and sometimes odd) onstage guests on the US leg of her 1989 world tour? This week, cameo appearances included Alanis, Justin Timberlake, Lisa Kudrow, St Vincent and Beck (perhaps they bonded over both being briefly upstaged by Kanye West at an awards show). This woman cannot and will not be stopped.

A short clip of Taylor Swift singing Smelly Cat, from TV series Friends, with Lisa Kudrow

Tyler, the Creator said he was temporarily banned from the UK

Free speech is fine until the government decides it isn’t. In this case, Odd Future rapper Tyler, the Creator said he was banned from entering the UK for three to five years because he wrote some unsavoury lyrics as a teenager – namely, homophobic language and ones that appeared to glorify rape. Though the Home Office wouldn’t comment on his particular case, they did say that the home secretary, Theresa May, “has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good”. So … you’re saying Theresa didn’t rate Tyler’s last album? Fine.

The Libertines spoke frankly about their near implosion

For a while, the Libertines were the band good enough to bring military-style jackets back into post-Sgt Pepper fashion. Then they were a drug-addled punchline. Now they’re back, with an album that apparently sounds pretty great – and a bucketload of prime quotes about Pete Doherty’s battle with addiction and why England in the 00s felt like a letdown.

The Libertines, playing Reading festival in August 2010
The boys in the band … Pete Doherty and Carl Barât of the Libertines. Photograph: Tom Watkins/REX Shutterstock

Morrissey said some more controversial stuff about Obama

Last week, Morrissey offered Larry King a few choice quotes on the US presidential candidates, and now he’s been wondering in an email interview with the Daily Beast whether Obama is “white inside”. In a bid to shed light on the racialised American prison industrial complex, Mozzer included a few comments on Obama’s ethnicity: “I often wonder if he would have been elected if he had a stronger, more African black face? It’s a point.” Fun fact: Obama is mixed race. But you do you, Morrissey.

Dee Barnes and Michel’le responded to Dr Dre’s apologies

Before Dr Dre was the subject of the film Straight Outta Compton, alongside his NWA peers, he reportedly physically assaulted his ex-girlfriend, singer Michel’le, and journalist Dee Barnes. Tellingly, those incidents weren’t featured in the biopic, but that didn’t stop Dre from apologising to “the women I’ve hurt” in a statement to the New York Times. After Barnes wrote an extensive piece for US site Gawker, she accepted Dre’s apology, questioning whether it may have been a PR move, while Michel’le told BBC Radio 5Live that she didn’t think the apology was sincere.

A critic helped women share tales of sexism in the music industry

It all started with a tweet. On Monday evening, music critic and Pitchfork editor Jessica Hopper sent a question into the Twitter ether, asking: “Gals/other marginalized folks: what was your 1st brush (in music industry, journalism, scene) w/ idea that you didn’t count?” Over the next few days, answers rolled in, ranging from tales of belittlement and doubt over one’s abilities to harrowing stories detailing sexual assaults. Four days later, at the time of writing, women are still responding – and Hopper has changed the focus of the discussion, asking women to share their proudest accomplishments, too.

@jesshopp stage managing webster hall and the DJs wouldnt take any instructions from me without hearing it from my male intern

— Lori Kay (@kaylorikay) August 24, 2015

One Direction announced they might be breaking up

In what may be this week’s best piece of music content to inspire “how is this news?” comments from Guardian readers, boyband One Direction announced a hiatus. The Sun led with reports that the band were splitting up, which was later clarified as a post-album hiatus, while they “take a well-earned break”. Perhaps the most important part of this story hinges on the economic impact of said hiatus.

Charlotte Church sang an anti-Shell protest song

For all the disdain aimed at pop stars for being puppets in The Man’s corporate system, a handful are proving themselves to be politically engaged. In the US, Miley Cyrus advocates for LGBT rights and bisexuality, while Ariana Grande writes about gender double standards. In the UK, Charlotte Church, best known as a former sweet-voiced soprano, got stuck right into an anti-Arctic oil drilling event, near Shell’s London headquarters. It’s just the right kind of fiery passion that we’d expect from a self-dubbed “prosecco socialist”.

Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches spoke about sexist online trolls

By now Mayberry must be tired of spelling out the basics of feminism in the face of misogyny. It feels as though every few months she sees horrific statements related to her gender and appearance online, sighs, and types out a tweet, Instagram caption or entire blogpost to explain why she will not tolerate it. And then the next flood of disgusting comments flow in, ad nauseam. This week, Mayberry appeared on Channel 4 to address a recent misogynistic thread on site 4chan, on which she was called a slut for wearing a minidress and having hair in a music video.

Lauren Mayberry, appearing on Channel 4 News on Thursday 27 August

Cilla Black posthumously topped the UK album chart

The day after her funeral, the TV personality and singer posthumously soared to the top of the album chart in the UK with her compilation, The Very Best of. The album had been making its way up the chart since news of her death broke on 2 August. It was her first UK album chart-topper.


Tshepo Mokoena

The GuardianTramp

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