Music Biz Peddles “Faux Porn,” Says Exec

06/01/2011 11:27 AM |

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No new news here, really, except this might be the first time a music executive’s said what we’ve all been resigned to thinking. Richard Russell, founder of XL Recordings (home to Radiohead, Adele, Gil Scott-Heron, Sigur Ros, The xx, among others), was quoted in The Guardian on Grammy award-winning singer Adele’s success, arguing that it has nothing to do with her sexuality. According to Russell, Adele’s music speaks for itself, which is a radical exception to the trend of female artists peddling “faux porn” in the industry.

“There is nothing else. There are no gimmicks, no selling of sexuality. I think in the American market, particularly, they have come to the conclusion that is what you have to do,” Russell said. And later, “Adele is a good thing to be happening.”

Let’s hope that non-hyper-sexualized female success keeps happening. In the meantime, kudos to Russell for calling out female imagery in the music industry for what it is. Artists like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Rihanna can say they’re reclaiming their sexuality as their own all they want—in the end, blithely exploiting their sellable parts over tinny dance tunes encourages respect and equality towards women probably about as much as Dominique Strauss Kahn does.

And yet, as empowering a statement as Russell makes, it’s a little incomplete without mentioning that XL Recordings is also the label of Tyler the Creator, a regular bursting sewage bubble of rape-talk and sexism. So where is your consistency, Mr. Russell, if you simultaneously endorse Tyler the Creator? Could that be a whiff of hypocrisy we sense on the summer breeze?