The revolution has no need for teenpop, or the strange case of the Maoist music critics

One of these people is a revolutionary world leader. The other is Mao Zedong.

One of these people is a revolutionary world leader. The other is Mao Zedong. Associated Press

The Cranberries’ “Zombie” is “reactionary pacifist garbage.” Christina Aguilera is “a perfect example of an Amerikan-style ‘liberated’ pseudo-feminist.” And man, are some folks still pissed that John Lennon dissed Chairman Mao on “Revolution.”

Such are the insights you’ll gather from looking at the music review section of the Maoist International Movement’s Ministry of Prisons website. The site represents “a cell of revolutionaries serving the oppressed masses inside U.$. prisons, guided by the communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism,” and much of its content seems like straightforward left-revolutionary news and opinion.

However, the site’s writers also took some time in the early ’00s to weigh in on Hillary Duff’s Metamorphosis and ponder whether the Police’s “promotion of the romance culture” will require that their Greatest Hits be banned or merely revised after the revolution.

And here’s the archive to prove it.

You might wonder why a bunch of Maoists spent the Age of TRL sifting through so many pop records that were clearly of no interest to them. But if you take the time to read the reviews—well, then you’ll really wonder why they did it.

And yet, I can’t stop reading these reviews. The stilted, hectoring tone verges on parody, and feels almost quaint in the age of leftist shitposting. But you can still hear echoes of it on the internet today, not just in the voices of the laziest political critics but in the way the jerkiest rock fans talk about commercial pop.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

  • Can Maoists get down with Kid Rock? Well.“One might even ‘like’ this music while knowing rationally that there is something wrong with it, maybe even profoundly wrong and evil. Being a Maoist means being a revolutionary scientist and that means having the ability to question everything that we like.”
  • What is 50 Cent’s role in the inevitable Communist revolution? “It is the artists that draw upon the ugliness of our society to make art which not only exposes the horrors of capitalism but points to Communist revolution as the solution that will help lead this world to a better place. Perverse icons such as 50 Cent will have no place there except to serve as negative examples of just how bad capitalism made things.”
  • Their review of Clay Aiken’s Measure of Man concludes: “Capitalism intertwines sex and money even more than previous class societies. This is something about people today that will not disappear with criticism of lifestyles. It will require the armed criticism of revolution.”

Sadly, we will never know what the Maoists think of Post Malone. Sure, we could probably guess. But that’s not the same. Not the same at all, comrade.