New Year’s resolutions are so ordinary for so many of us: lose weight; start exercising; love more; complain less; find a better job. Did we mention lose weight?
But there’s nothing ordinary about pop stars who seem to exist in some rarefied universe. You know, the place where you can publicly cheat on your wife, get dumped and record an entire I-want-you-back album, name it for the aggrieved wife, and if that’s not creepy enough, promote it with a video in which you publicly cheat on your wife, again, while you beg for forgiveness.
Some pop stars are so Thicke.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of suggested New Year’s resolutions for some major pop figures who probably are too busy to come up with their own. Robin, Justin, Ariana and Taylor, if you’re reading, you can thank us by taking the advice. Given with love, of course.
▪ Robin Thicke: Always too skeevy for his own good, Thicke nevertheless scored his biggest hit in 2013 with the explicit yet infectious single Blurred Lines, a song almost overshadowed by its video in which the star cavorts with naked women and poses against a wall emblazoned in graffiti that announces to the world that he has a big, er, talent.
In February 2014, his wife, actress Paula Patton, saw things clearly. Thicke was too skeevy. She left him. He responded by rush-releasing an oft-risible concept album called Paula. The video for the first single, Get Her Back, featured images of text messages, ostensibly between the estranged couple, in which he texts, “I wrote a whole album about you,” and her reply is, “I don’t care.” In the video, Thicke is once again pawed by a naked model.
New Year’s resolution for Thicke? Vow to stay out of recording studios until you get a lock on that zipper, buddy.
▪ U2: Consider bananas, mangoes, pomegranates. Anything but another bite out of Apple. Releasing your new album as a freebie to every Apple customer with an iTunes account the world-over seemed like a good promotional idea. That is, until it was greeted by most as an invasion of their personal space about as welcome as a letter from a public health clinic marked, “Results of your test for venereal disease.”
▪ Taylor Swift: Keep on doing whatever you’ve been doing.
Swift, one of Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People of the Year,” was the only pop music star to sell a million copies of an album during the entire calendar year — and she did more than that in a single week with the November release of 1989, her first album marketed solely to pop music fans.
Since then, the catchy 1989 has sold more than three million copies and was No. 1 again during the busy Christmas week. And she didn’t have to drop her dress or grind against Robin Thicke on an awards show to get attention. Bonus future resolution: In four years, vow to write a song about being 29 so that it can join your pantheon of great age songs Fifteen and 22.
▪ Ariana Grande: The 21-year-old Boca Raton native reportedly has a list of demands for photographers that includes a rule prohibiting pictures taken from the right side of her face and a ban on the use of natural light. She stormed off the set of an Australian photo shoot when photographers didn’t comply with the latter last-minute addition to her “rules.”
In 2015, Grande must vow to study the career of Barbra Streisand and repeat as often as necessary until it takes hold: “I am no Barbra Streisand. I don’t get to make these cheeky demands at my age and at this point in my career.”
▪ Justin Bieber: In August, the Beebs, on probation in California for egging his neighbor’s home, evaded a conviction for driving under the influence after he was pulled over by Miami Beach cops in January for speeding in his rented Lamborghini. In September, the Canadian pop star was deposed for a second time as a result of a lawsuit brought against him by a Miami Beach photographer.
In 2015, Bieber must resolve to hire a chauffeur and forget to renew his work visa in the United States.
▪ Beyoncé: Forbes ranked the single-named phenom the top earning woman in pop music in both 2013 and 2014 — with $115 million alone in 2014. Time magazine followed suit by listing the singer as one of the world’s most influential people. Like Swift, Beyoncé is riding a career high.
In 2015, our resolution suggestion is simple: Avoid gouging fans with further repackagings of your current album. The smash Beyoncé, a leading contender for Grammy’s Album of the Year, already came complete with 17 music videos upon its December 2013 release. A Platinum Edition, in honor of its one-year anniversary, with added audio and video content, was unnecessary. Tenth, 20th, 30th anniversary reissues are fine. One year? That’s so vain. We’re still trying to digest the first serving.
Also, consider taking the stairs. In February, a spat inside an elevator between husband Jay-Z and sister Solange Knowles, with Beyoncé as an observer, became tabloid fodder for weeks.
▪ Madonna: Avoid hyperbole. After songs from her new album, Rebel Heart, leaked online in December, ahead of its planned March 2015 release, the 56-year-old superstar took to Twitter and equated the unauthorized posting of her songs “as artistic rape” and “this is a form of terrorism.”
Many condemned Madonna for being insensitive by equating the leaking of music to terrorism in the wake of tragic world events. Madonna immediately made available six of the songs from the album for sale on iTunes with another message: “Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift.”
Some of what we have heard is really good. Ray of Light good. Controversy is not needed when you’ve got the goods.
Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.