Playlist the Week #1: Graduation celebration, the VMAs, and space‽

WELCOME to a new segment from the Arts Team! Playlist the Week will take you through the last seven (or so) days in world, music, and Aberystwyth news with a selection of five tracks. If you’d like to contribute to future playlists, send a tweet to our account, @abersmArts, or at [email protected]

1. MIA – “Paper Planes”:
Lee Nelson strikes again in Sepp Blatter’s latest press scandal

Following… whatever he was trying to achieve at Glastonbury last month, comedian Lee Nelson was somehow able to gain entrance to the FIFA headquarters for a press conference in Zurich on Monday, posing as a North Korean delegate. He proceeded to throw fake dollar bills in FIFA president Blatter’s face; “Here you go, Sepp!” he cries, an act that follows widespread accusations of foul play in the world governing body of football, and broadcasts Nelson to a much wider audience than his short-lived Well Good Show, which managed an average of just over half a million on BBC Three.  Crass? Definitely. Exactly what Blatter deserves?

Attention-seeking as the action was, it did provide stunning pictures, of the FIFA head surrounded by bills, in the midst of a bribery scandal that has thrown the whole game into disrepute. It’s easy to imagine the moment immortalised in a Vine with “Paper Planes” in the background, the gunshots and cash registers looping for eternity as Blatter watches on.

2. Chris Hadfield – “Space Oddity”
New Horizon’s successful mission to Pluto

This song comes with the news that Stephen Hawking, and many other like-minded (and rich) scientific minds are launching a $100 million search for alien life. Along with the stunning new pictures of Pluto and its moons from the New Horizons spacecraft, below 10 minutes off its target on a voyage through our solar system that took nine years, Chris Hadfield’s incredible version of “Space Oddity”, filmed entirely on the International Space Station, is sure to bring a tear to your eye and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of what could be out there to your heart. Or something. He also has an excellent moustache. Are those things hard to maintain in space? Do guitar strings vibrate up there? Our universe is large and full of questions.

#3 Shaggy – “It Wasn’t Me”
The Infidelity Anthem

Hackers have a different moral code to you and I. Some use their powers of code manipulation to take pictures of celebrities without their permission, or mercilessly bully everyone from Katie Hopkins  to the entire government of Arab States, and some are in it only because they think it’d be funny. The latter type of hacker seemed to threaten users of the website Ashley Madison with the leaking of their details earlier this week. Ashley Madison’s tagline? “Life is short. Have an affair.” The website boasts 37 million anonymous users, and hacker group Impact Team could affect countless cheating husbands and wives in the leak, a breach of the privacy of people who are already going behind their partner’s backs. It might be funny, if it weren’t so sad.

#4 Beyoncé – “7-11”

The music video for Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” was released on May 17th. A Tidal exclusive, the video for Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé’s “Feelin’ Myself” came out the following day, on the 18th. Despite being eligible for nomination at the MTV Video Music Awards, “Feelin’ Myself” received none; Swift sweeps the board with nine nominations in total. Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, Minaj rightfully challenged the  industry,  implying that if she were a  “different “kind” of artist”  her “Anaconda” video would have received more praise, the kind of praise that was heaped on “Bad Blood” for its cinematic quality and huge cast of characters – who, besides Kendrick Lamar, are white women with slim bodies. She made the tweets without mentioning any artist by name – and you’ve probably heard the rest.  Beyoncé received five nominations for “7-11”; the video, which already won Best Video at this year’s BET Awards, forgoes big-budget CGI and dozens of locations and sets, focusing instead on Bey in a single hotel room, with a few of her backing dancers, and one unimpressed Blue Ivy.

#5 Queen – “We Are The Champions”
Frodo, Return of the King: ‘It’s gone. It’s done.’

There are a lot of songs that would be appropriately victorious for the scores of Aber students that graduated last week. “Carry That Weight” by the Beatles, “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper – possibly “Paper Planes” if you’re feeling particularly cynical about that student debt – in the end there’s only one song for the occasion. Will any Aber student reach Freddie Mercury-levels of greatness? Well, it’s an unfair comparison, no one is likely to do so ever again, but we’re sure many of them will come close, as they’re set loose on the world and leave this town for destinations unknown.

Possibly Pluto.

Credits: NASA/APL/SwRI

Credits: NASA/APL/SwRI

If you’d like to contribute to next week’s playlist, don’t forget to follow us @abersmArts on Twitter, or join our Arts Team Facebook page here!