The Best Music Memes And Beefs Of 2020
From Ziggy Alberts' anti-mask nonsense to the glorious mess that was X Æ A-12.
For all the endless shitfights that all of us have had to go through in 2020, there’s one all-power entity that has been there with us through it all: the internet.
As always, that god awful hellscape is the only thing we can really rely on this year to help us get through the day. The whole world was grasping at straws to find any sense of reprieve among the chaos and melancholy of daily news headlines, and we found it — whether it was Blair telling Serena to “go piss girl”, learning to make sourdough, or immersing ourselves in the wild underbelly of exotic animal ownership.
The music world was no different. While the year was incredibly fruitful for great music, there was a whole array of absolute nonsense to go with it.
Let us relive the year that we never want to speak about again in the form of jokes made and shots fired within the music community — the only things that kept us going.
Grimes & Elon Musk’s “Offspring”
While it’s hard to wrap our head around the fact that Grimes and Elon Musk are an item let alone capable of delivering a human child and not some techno-alien hybrid, we must accept that it did happen. What we don’t have to accept, however, is what they named their child: X Æ A-12.
In the most typical Elon Musk and Grimes move to date, the name they gave their child resembles the numbers of a barcode more than anything. In true internet fashion, people don’t seem like they’re willing to let them forget it.
the only test X Æ A-12 won’t be able to pass pic.twitter.com/hEEclMV1ZV
— Nadia (@nadia_hyd) May 6, 2020
X Æ A-12's first day at school: pic.twitter.com/8cLUKKHdXd
— MuchDank (@TheMuchDank) May 6, 2020
Elon musk and his son X Æ A-12 having a heart to heart pic.twitter.com/ijLwzOeJY0
— ivan (@colladoivan21) May 6, 2020
Omg I figured out how to pronounce X Æ A-12 pic.twitter.com/ppfE0x8Nfh
— Ben Yahr (@benyahr) May 5, 2020
— 𝕡.𝕖.𝕞𝕠𝕤𝕜𝕠𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕫 (@_pem_pem) May 6, 2020
Elon musk in front of company: "go on and do that lil dance you be doing"
X Æ A-12: pic.twitter.com/CV5BLEVbEJ
— JAY🌻 (@Jayyahey) May 6, 2020
Lana Del Rey vs. The World
No, this isn’t a usual case of Lana Del Rey vs. The World (a large part of her discography).
Mere days before the world (and LDR) broke out into mass protests of police brutality and racism of all levels, Lana Del Rey hopped on Instagram to negatively compare her experience as a woman in music to a slew of other women in music — Doja Cat, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Kehlani, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé, all but one is a woman of colour.
Del Rey has made a career out of songwriting that helps her distance from the world around her, but the level of tone-deafness in this note she put on social media was outrageous. Needless to say, the Internet checked her for her privilege and her unwillingness to understand why what she said was problematic.
She aimed her question to "the culture" and then proceeded to name black women specifically (and Ariana/Camilla) who make R&B, Hip Hop and Urban music.
Why is that? Why not Taylor? Billie? Adele? Gaga? Katy? Dua?… Why specifically the "urban" girls? https://t.co/PqGODKqIVI
— Sisa (@Titanbaddie) May 21, 2020
Lana Del Rey said “There has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me.” Girl you’re a white women. pic.twitter.com/zgl6oN9Ykv
— Anthony Moore (@AllThatandMoore) May 21, 2020
Lana Del Rey really threw a bunch of black women under the bus before saying that feminism needs to accommodate women like her. It's art.
— Zito (@_Zeets) May 21, 2020
Lana Del Rey erased the work of Black women and played the oppression Olympics, just to promote two poetry books and an album. The Caucasity of it all..
— Dani Kwateng (@danikwateng) May 21, 2020
Once she saw the criticism, she…doubled down, negatively compared her experience to another artist of colour and then told people “fuck you if you don’t like it.”
okay i want her to shut the entire fucking fuck up. https://t.co/3tCVCGRAMp
— Tracy Claymation Christmas Special (@brokeymcpoverty) May 26, 2020
“Let me clarify by dragging another black woman into my argument.” https://t.co/2EA3TbpSqI
— Dennis de Groot (@punchdouble) May 26, 2020
Lady Gaga Takes Us All To Chromatica
For all the shit thrown our way in 2020, Lady Gaga tried her hardest to save us by temporarily letting us escape to Chromatica. A glorious and triumphant return to her maximalist dance-pop roots, Chromatica is as fun as it is ridiculous, and fans managed to find both fun and ridiculousness in all of its elements
First of all, Gaga leaned completely into it with the merch run for the album — namely the jockstraps, the sale of which ended up fuelling her #1 debut on the Billboard 200, even if they took months to arrive.
gaga giving the gays a jockstrap in the middle of a pandemic pic.twitter.com/G2CMRHh3th
— 👁🗨 (@purelladiville) May 11, 2020
Lady Gaga selling Chromatica themed jock straps: pic.twitter.com/iUrWJYzgeX
— Sam Stryker (@sbstryker) May 11, 2020
are Gaga’s team sending the Grammys voting committee some Chromatica jockstraps & thongs with the For Your Consideration package or?
— george𝔰 (@georgesluver) September 15, 2020
As for the album itself, fans dove headfirst into memeing the hell out of the excellent transition between interlude track ‘Chromatica II’ and latest single ‘911’. In fact, they loved it so much they began to replace ‘911’ with other pop culture moments.
Anyway here’s the scene where Mulan leaves home cut to the transition from Chromatica II into 911 pic.twitter.com/wN8BLQ3usc
— Tom Zohar (@TomZohar) June 11, 2020
Chromatica II but it transitions into Joanna Newsom pic.twitter.com/rd2g3QfFfD
— Peak, like a mountain ⛰ (@Coconut_Soil) June 16, 2020
Chromatica II but it transitions into Can't Get You out of My Head pic.twitter.com/UXQ7qTGt0M
— Maxwell Fong (@maxwell_fong) June 15, 2020
Ziggy Alberts vs. Basic Science
The anti-vax debate has long been a stain on our society, but it has never been so prevalent or so intense as this year…for obvious reasons. And, while most Australian musicians have remained pretty sensible during the pandemic, Byron Bay’s Ziggy Alberts very quietly dropped a song titled ‘Don’t Get Caught Up’ that was rife with anti-vax and anti-5G lyrics.
“And now they sell immunity too/In pills and pearls and tax/All our freedoms subdued/ Can you believe that we are here still arguing / About the right to choose what we put in our bodies.”
“What’s the cost/For faster connection/What’s exactly the rush?/If it’s safe it’s easy to prove/Just get tests done by someone else/And show us the truth.”
It was first brought to nationwide attention by Pilerats, which Alberts later referred to as a “gossip site” when he tried to defend himself.
Shit really hit the fan when he condemned Melbourne’s mandatory mask-wearing rule — you know, one of the rules that helped minimise what could have been America-level COVID chaos. And he did so by…comparing it to Nazi Germany.
Anyway, stream Ziggy Ramo’s album Black Thoughts.
I don’t believe in cancel culture, except for this guy. pic.twitter.com/SrSOV7Nypi
— Melody Forghani (@forghandi) July 19, 2020
wow interesting that mandatory face masks is where ol ziggy begins to pipe up about the stripping of ‘basic human rights’ in this country
— jackson langford (@jacksonlangford) July 19, 2020
I'm so disappointed in Ziggy Alberts. His music helped me heal in so many ways, especially his connection to environmental issues. The anti vax and 5g conspiracy views he holds are dangerous. He's spreading dangerous misinformation. I won't be supporting his music anymore.
— Chloe 🌿 (@cruelsxmmxr) July 19, 2020
Ziggy Alberts is what you get if Jack Johnson and Pete Evans jerked off into an essential oils jar and impregnated an anti-vaxxer yoga instructor in Byron Bay.
His skin & music may be great. But he's no medical expert.
Verdict on his downward dog still to come. 😬
— Marcus (artist formerly known as an artist) Ryan (@itsmarcusryan) July 20, 2020
Me when I discover that Ziggy Alberts, a musician I have never once heard of before and am not entirely convinced is not a fake name people are using as part of a vast and complex troll, is anti-vax: Wow. Ziggy Alberts? Unbelievable.
— Joseph Earp (@JosephoEarp) June 29, 2020
The Sweet, Cranberry Renaissance Of Fleetwood Mac
Thanks to the fact that we were all confined to our homes for the better part of this year, we turned to our phones for entertainment more so than usual – scary, right? Out of that was borne a global TikTok obsession. It became a driving point for pop culture in such an effective and efficient way that no other social media has, it almost happened overnight.
TikTok gave us plenty of music memes — the ‘Say So’ dance, the ‘Savage’ dance etc. — but it was a man named Nathan Apodaca who gave us the most surprising meme of all.
All it took was Apodaca — aka TikTok user @doggface420 — to longboard down a road drinking cranberry juice listening to Fleetwood Mac’s immortal ‘Dreams’ to send the world into a witchy spiral of Fleetwood Mac obsession once again.
The video has been recreated thousands of times over, including by most members of Fleetwood Mac themselves. The TikTok sparked a complete renaissance of the band and the song’s relevance, with ‘Dreams’ hitting the #7 spot on the Billboard 100 – some 42 years after its release.
Dave Grohl vs. Nandi Bushnell
The best type of musician beef is the friendly one, or the one where Dave Grohl gets his ass kicked.
In this case, we have both.
Jackson Langford is a freelance music and culture writer from Newcastle. He tweets at @jacksonlangford.