AXS Stubs: Bona fide throat croakings, the week in music that was
MilliVanilliVEVO/YouTube

AXS Stubs is a look back at music news of the past week

Mute singer looks to release new material

Milli Vanilli was a French-German pair of braided, spandexed, label-manufactured boobs who, in some ways, resembled a pair of surgically altered breasts, as they were appealing and pert on the outside, but upon further examination were found to be phonies of the highest order.

At the height of their popularity, the group was outed as frauds as it was revealed that the duo lip-synced all of their music, the vocals being provided by individuals who weren’t as televisual (though looking back, that might’ve been somewhat misguided). After the lip-sync debacle the group became pariahs and a snicker-inducing footnote of pop ephemera, until this week, when TMZ announced the glorious comeback of Milli Vanilli. Or rather, the surviving member of Milli Vanilli, Fab Morvan, and John Davis, the singer who sang for Morvan back during Vanilli Fever. The two have camped out in a studio and are set to release an LP entitled Face Meets Voice: A True Milli Vanilli Experience that will feature the bona fide throat croakings of Morvan. “Everyone knew Fab DIDN’T sing, but had no idea he actually COULD sing. And really great,” said Davis, speaking for Fab.

Pop singer’s dress angers sleeping giant

In a plot that sounds like something cooked up in a Sony Pictures film, Quartz reported that Katy Perry showed up at a Taipei concert wearing a sunflower outfit, unsuspectingly plunging herself plumb spang in the middle of a broiling political struggle in Asia.

The anti-China Sunflower Student Movement took place last year and the movement called for Taiwan self-determination. The sunny flower was the symbol for the struggle, so it was with great bravery and defiance that Perry donned the glittery political bomb, heroically sticking it to China and leading chants of “TAI-PEI, TAI-PEI” as she sung all her hits. That is what would have happened if Perry knew about the Sunflower Student Movement. Instead, the singer looked around and said during the concert, “I don’t even know how to speak Mandarin. That’s what you speak, right?” suggesting that her Sunflower dress was a simple bit of pageantry and not a show of solidarity with the plucky student demonstrators. China has yet to comment on the costume gaffe.

Teen heads blown as they ponder on the possibility of multiple universes

Today, former One Direction member Zayn Malik tried his hardest to scour his Twitter profile of all things 1D. It was a futile exercise, because if Zayn had considered parallel dimensions and alternate universes, he might have spared himself some time. As it turns out, Zayn is out there somewhere, somehow still feverishly jigging about on mega stages to the pre-packaged pop dross of 1D. Or that is what Stephen Hawking says, at least.

This past Saturday in Sydney, genius timebot Hawking was asked the hard questions, as the physicist was hologrammed in front of a crowd to speak on the One Direction drama involving Malik. Hawking fielded a question that quizzed, “What do you think is the cosmological effect of Zayn leaving One Direction and consequently breaking the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world?”

Hawking hit Zayn BB with the bad news:

My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics. Because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes. It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe. And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.

Band on the lam in Russia for bare-chested album cover

Arena pop world-savers U2 walked around with a dude from The New York Times in Vancouver, as the group prepared for its upcoming, grandiosely titled Innocence and Experience tour. Some time ago, U2 partnered with Apple to release the band’s 13th studio album Songs of Innocence, taking the well-thought-out measure of forcing the collection of songs onto millions of unsuspecting people. Around the time of the rollout, facing a biblical backlash because of the bumbaclot bibble that was brushed into computers worldwide, a self-flagellating Bono hit up Facebook to address the ill-conceived plan, saying the whole thing was, “a drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we’d poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”

Now, blonde-haired and emboldened, Bono reminisced on the rollout by rolling out a familiar rejoinder to the criticism, saying, “As a person who’s been a lifelong member of Amnesty International, of all human-rights crimes I think that this kind of unwanted mail, if it’s at the top of your list or even halfway up it, your life is really fantastic.”

Too true. Mr. Bono can proudly count himself as a part of Amnesty International’s seven million strong member enrollment, and he has indeed seen a number of atrocities. Though despite his infinite sagacity, from his comments, it's safe to day that Bono has actually overlooked the genuine tragedy that is having Songs of Innocence furtively dumped into your iTunes library as you slumber. He’s never had to experience such a thing, an ordeal akin to waking up and finding that someone pissed in your coffee maker overnight. But AXS Stubs can say from firsthand experience that the whole thing was harrowing. Shame on you, Mr. Bono, for your brazen dismissal of this crime.

And speaking of crime, U2 might have committed a legitimate crime with Songs of Innocence, though you’d have to travel thousands of miles and several decades into the past to Russia, to find as such. The cover art for Songs of Innocence captures a touching, shirtless embrace between U2 drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., and his son Elvis. But the image of undying paternal love cut no ice with Russian Duma Deputy Alexander Starovoitov, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, The Guardian reports. Starovoitov believes the album cover is a lewd and blatantly homo-erotic piece of filth that must be stopped, an understandable interpretation because Mullen is kneeling and slumping towards the ground near a man, but it seems he has not been assassinated.

And to stop the whole thing, Starovoitov is lawyering up, ready to sue Apple on behalf of his son for the moral damage the company has caused. If the gadget-makers are found to have promoted and distributed homosexual agitprop, the company may have to cease operations in Russia for up to 90 days, or face a company-shattering fine of up to one million rubles...or approximately $19,000.

Plane wings clipped in contractual battle

According to AXS Stubs legend, later on in his career, Elvis' health and physical state reached such a nadir, that the King had to be transported hither and yon using airplanes. But this wasn’t simply for going to state to state, concert venue to concert venue. No, the King was using his planes for everyday errands, like running to the store, going to the bathroom or picking up a new TV. But AXS Stubs legends is something that was made up, just now, so disregard that.

In reality, Elvis bought two planes. One was a Convair 880 named Lisa Marie and the other was a Lockheed JetStar that he named The Hound Dog II. The planes are tricked out with all of the gaudy gewgaw pomp that the King was known for, the Lisa Marie in particular featuring a large bed, a stereo system, gold-plated bathroom fixtures and a conference room.

After Presley died, the aircrafts were bought by a company named OKC Partnership, who allowed the planes to be housed at Graceland just as long as they received a cut of ticket sales. But according to The Associated Press, last year OKC was set to move the planes from Graceland, with Elvis Presley Enterprises ending the agreement. This week a deal was reached for the planes to remain at Graceland. An elated Lisa Marie Presley took to Twitter to say about the planes, “We own them and have fun plans 4 them as well.”

Rapper looks to resuscitate business with the ol’ late-career country album move

Nelly was arrested a little while ago for traveling on the road with some meth and weed.

But forget all that, Nelly is coming out with a country album! The band-aid faced man is working on an EP that will contain heartland, Americana toe-tappers that will delve into fly-over-state pastimes like transferring meth across state borders. Possibly.

Nelly’s manager, a guy who insists on going by J. Erving, talked with Billboard about the tumbleweed soundtrack, speculating that Nelly, “may be one of the first hip-hop artists to jump into that space in an authentic way with Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw, so we think he has an opportunity to grow that base even more.”

Kale salad launches rap career

SALADS. And Kendrick Lamar is taking an unexpected turn into the leafy green business as he is partnering with salad chain Sweetgreen, according to Billboard. Kendrick is headlining Sweetgreen’s festival this month, and as a token of their appreciation, the company has tossed a salad together, the appropriately titled Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe. The salad is based on Kendrick’s song “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” and features a hodgepodge of salad-y things like chicken, goat cheese, wild rice, EVOO and of course beets and kale.

And besides looking out for the health conscious this week, Kendrick also extended a hand to the blind, as Complex revealed the true title to Kendrick’s 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly. In an interview with Mass Appeal, Kendrick let it be known that in the liner notes of the physical version of the album, there is a patch of braille that points out the actual album title. So Complex consulted an instructor of the blind, and rap nerds rubbed their hands in glee as they were about to receive the final piece of the To Pimp A Butterfly puzzle, the clue that would lock the entire mess into place, and it read…A Kendrick By Letter Blank Lamar.

Well, everything can’t perfect get you. Apparently, the braille used in the book is uncontracted braille, meaning A Kendrick By Letter Blank Lamar is the literal translation of the braille in the liner notes, though A Blank Letter By Kendrick Lamar sounds slightly better.

Man demands inquiry into just what the hell happened to that 42.5-pound pumpkin

Last month, the cheeping ponytail that is Ariana Grande was hit with a scare, as a man named Timothy Normandin showed up at the singer’s concert in Connecticut, TMZ says.

It sounds like the beginnings of a completely normal story that features a 29-year-old man attending an Ariana Grande concert alone. But the story sharply veered off of the expected course, as it turns out that Normandin had different motives, the Grande mega-fan showing up and demanding to see the singer. Last year, TMZ broke the story about the obsessive, as in the past he has sent Grande a series of admittedly useful and thoughtful gifts, including a 42.5-pound pumpkin, some Yankee Candles (scent unknown), a few calendars, a mirror set, an anklet and rock sourced from the White Mountains of New Hampshire. None of those were on Grande’s Amazon Wish List however, so Normandin was arrested for criminal trespass and released on $5,000 bond.

Man doesn’t care about ex-fiancee

When they were dating, Future Vandross and Ciara were an adorable couple that, if you squinted hard enough, slightly resembled a budget Jay Z and Beyonce. And it was undoubtedly budget, as the relationship crumbled and the two called off their engagement last fall.

Now Ciara has been seen out and about with wedding cake figurine Russell Wilson. This week the two showed up at the White House to break bread with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. As pictures of Ciara and Wilson surfaced on the internet...actually Future might have put it best:

Videos of the week:

Skepta - “Shutdown”

Congregation of dudes and women prevent residents from getting back to flats.

Prince Innocence - “I Don’t Care”

Stick your eye into this kaleidoscope to watch a dead-eyed woman dance a-rhythmically and a guy guzzle an energy drink.

TOPS - “Destination”

Leftover footage from tour video bundled into meaningful yet nonsensical music video.

Alabama Shakes - “Sound & Color”

Cruel video depicting man who takes epic nap and oversleeps 500 years only waking to realize that everything he ever loved is dead and gone.

Adam Lambert - “Ghost Town”

Adam Lambert stars as a “Sin City” extra and steps foot in the most serious club ever.

Okay Kaya - “Clenched Teeth”

Crowd of Asian people disappear soporific singer thankfully.

Roosevelt - “Night Moves”

Introvert turns into the life of the party after constructing a jacket so flamboyant Michael Jackson would hesitate wearing it.

Toro y Moi - “Lilly”

Toro y Moi gets lost in the supermarket and showcases the dreary sunniness and emptiness of American suburbia.

Come back next Friday for a look at the week in music news.