In the case of Cornell, I don’t know Chris. I do know what label he’s on now, and I do know who’s whispering in his ear. And heavily on the With Teeth album, I turned that record in and I would get back, “Hey you know, you might wanna… maybe we need to put some beats on this record.”
I’m not making this up. “What do you mean, beats?”
“Well, this urban thing is really taking off. You’ll get it in the club. You know, what if we had Dre or somebody…”
And the part of me that wants to be the open-minded artist says, “I’ll consider that.” I even went so far as Timbaland doing a— trying to do a— remix at Interscope’s dime of “Hand That Feeds”, which was laughably terrible. And when I turned in Year Zero, which I thought had the coolest beats I’ve ever come up with, I hear “Yeah, we need some cool beats.” It’s like, “You know what? Suck me.”” —Pitchfork: Reznor Reveals Rejected Timbaland Remix
This is an unsatisfying resolution: there was no successful comeback, no redemption, no elder statesman period, not even a blaze of glory to go out on, just a middle-aged heart attack. But at the same time, we are in some sort of end times of all he represents. The world of celebrity journalism and gossip seems to have hit rock bottom, self-sustaining on a steady diet of nothing, running on the fumes of a system totally contained within their walls and unconnected with any sort of exterior fame.
I thought about this myself: in a way, I’m hopeful that just maybe this could be the end of the snake eating its own tail, of a change in how we think about celebrities as something to stare at and pester and hound to death. This man was killed by celebrity, as tiresomely po-mo as it is to say it. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about the whole thing. The man was as close as celebrities get to a homeless person: something so awful that you have to wall yourself off from it, or the feelings the sight inspires are just too unbearable.
For a long time now I’ve been saying that I quite honestly hoped he would die, because it just seemed like there was nothing left in his life to live for. His health problems (whether externally or internally caused) left him unable to sing and dance, his financial and legal problems left him without credibility or options, and his fame left him unable to ever live a human life as we understand it. It’s entirely possible that he did some truly awful things in his lifetime, but at the very least the seeming hell that was his continued existence is over now. Not that that’s in any way a happy note to end on. Poor bastard.
While standing in the engine room of a sleek modern train, I watch a river of beautiful multicolored parakeets fly around and past us.
Just spent a lot of money I don’t really have for tickets to two shows: Bat For Lashes on August 12th at Webster Hall, and Pet Shop Boys on September 3rd at Hammerstein Ballroom. See you there?