No. 71: Kanye, Lily, Pete, And Courtney Form Their Own Blogger Nation

The rise of the artist blog as official mouthpiece in 2008 may have been in part because record labels can’t afford to hire decent PR staff anymore, but hey, you take the good with the bad. And there was a lot of good to come out of artists hitting up Tumblr, MySpace, et al; these blogs were really effective at humanizing the vacuum presented by endless paparazzi shots and press releases, whether through “clarity posts,” in which artists put gossips on blast, or posts explaining what life is like when bands graduate to bigger tours, or just posts about how they liked shoes. After the jump, nine examples of why more artists should make a tour stop in Blogtown. Not only is the trip entertaining, its fruits give people like me great material!

9. Travis McCoy refers to an indier-than-thou fan as “soooooo Saddle Creek!” Because I have used this insult in my day-to-day life since it was first posted.

8. Tracey Thorn explains the concept of “slow recording.” Hey, it’s more witty than just saying “sorry the record’s taking forever.”

7. Grizzly Bear is forced to stand in front of the class and apologize for posting an Animal Collective song. Because what better way can future pirates be reminded that no one is safe from the overly polite wrath of the piracy-fighting company Web Sheriff?

6. John Mayer files a bug report. Mayer’s blog posts have been really effective at winning over those who couldn’t stand his song about running through the halls in high school and screaming at the top of his lungs. First, you’re thinking his observations on celebrity are kind of right-on; next, you’re allowing for the idea that he’s a pretty decent guitar player; finally, you’re buying “Daughters” from the iTunes Store during a particularly weepy late night in front of the computer.

5. Lily Allen offers up an artist’s rendering of Perez Hilton’s day-to-day life. I normally am loath to think that fat jokes are at all funny, but if anyone deserved to be mocked over his appearance, it’s the inexplicably popular, semi-literate gossip blogger known as Mario Lavandiera. (One’s own medicine, etc.) Allen has also been an expert deployer of the “clarity post”—for example, letting people know that flashing the paparazzi was a wardrobe malfunction, and not a way to stay in the press between records.

4. “Weird Al” Yankovic gets into the workings of his iTunes rush-release. After releasing “Whatever You Like” to iTunes—and watching iTunes screw up the launch—Al goes into whether or not he was happy (spoiler: he wasn’t) and whether he’d rush a song so that his parody coincided with the source material being at the top of the charts (spoiler: he would) I wish more artists would do this!

3. Courtney Love takes on Ryan Adams, bloggers, and the world. She’s been taking people on online since the pre-Firefox era, and she’s since run with her blogging, fusing style tips with rants in a way that Kanye West can only dream of. She’s also one of the few people to call out the weird class issues that often rear their head in gossip writing (“One thing that DOES enrage me is when urban sophisticates with great breeding and cynical cognition of life make FUN of being robbed blind”), and for that she at least deserves a hat-tip.

2. Pete Wentz cries foul about post facto product placement in Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care” video. The post was removed shortly after it went up, but the controversy did result in “the Spaghetti Cat cut” of the clip.

1. Kanye on Bonnaroo. The ne plus ultra of how an artist should use his or her blog to get to his or her fans—and the media—directly. It has anger, it has passion, it has little bits of conspicuous consumption sprinkled within (hope he got a new MacBook Air!). It didn’t make the people who waited until the wee hours of the Bonnaroo morning for his set any less mad, but it sure got the message out more effectively than a tersely written statement that employed the phrase “regrets any inconvenience.”

80 ’08 (And Heartbreak)