Last year when Weezer revived Toto’s dreadful ’80s hit “Africa” in response to a cheeky online fan campaign, it was worth a chuckle or two. But it’s been all downhill from there. Pitbull managed to make the song 100-times worse by incorporating it into his Aquaman soundtrack contribution, “Ocean to Ocean,” and now someone is torturing the Namib Desert with Toto in the name of art. Namibian artist Max Siedentopf has reportedly created a sound installation that features six speakers that will pump out “Africa” on an endless loop. The MP3 players run on solar batteries and the artist says he hopes the song will play for “years.” The good news: the speakers appear to be in a very remote part of the desert. The bad news: many forms of wildlife (including baboons, hyenas, reptiles and insects) could be subjected to the abuse.
Speaking of torture:
WARM: ‘Maximum’ Bummer
The pioneering Punk ’zine Maximum Rocknroll has announced that it will cease publication. Originally a radio show in San Francisco that began in 1977, the ’zine began its print run in 1982. The newsprint publication was well distributed and, thanks to its non-profit status, was never beholden to advertising or other outside interests. The fiercely independent ’zine was highly critical of “the powers that be” and shunned (and sometimes shamed) major label acts, rebuffing corporate ad dollars in the process. Influential on both music and music journalism, MRR will continue online and other MRR projects are reportedly also in the works.
COLD: "Shark" on the Charts
Outside of what was on the radio at a certain moment in time, the Billboard charts can also offer peeks into other aspects of society, from dance crazes (“The Twist”) to anti-war movements (“Fortunate Son”). Billboard’s adjustment to include streaming numbers — including from YouTube — has added a new dimension to that historical value. For example, the singles chart will now have people someday wondering what the hell was going on when the once-obscure children’s song “Baby Shark” entered the zeitgeist in such a big way. Credited to Pinkfong and originating with a 2016 South Korean educational music video, the song became such a popular meme — with social media users posting videos of themselves dancing along or otherwise engaging with it — that it recently entered Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 32.