I have been impatiently waiting for the world to get on board with my disdain for the Kasabian-swagger-impersonating, man-child, cringe-fest that is Zane Lowe, and thanks to Halo-hollering diva Beyonce, my prayers have been answered.
In BBC2’s coverage of Glastonbury on Sunday, Lauren Laverne’s gushing praise of the star’s headline performance inspired a sniggering dismissal from Lowe who stressed that he went to watch Queens of the Stoneage instead. Beyonce fans (and Lowe haters) on Twitter were quick to attack ‘tosser’ Lowe’s petulant response and, whilst Laverne was quick to play down the internet overreaction as ‘mental’, it is still nice see Lowe so publically and vociferously derided. Whilst most Tweets highlighted this incident as representative of his unabashed ‘musical snobbery’, it also reveals a gendered politics of taste that has been historically rife in rock music, but is certainly exacerbated by the likes of Lowe.
For example, Zane Lowe’s Masterpieces from 2007-2010 (or his recent hottest records blog for that matter) might as well be rebranded as Zane’s Sycophantic Sausage-Fest, as no female artists – except the White Stripes drummer Meg White’s contribution to Elephant – feature in the 20 albums selected for his annual selection of 5 classic albums, which are then played in the entirety and fawned over by the cliché wielding, name-dropping DJ on his Radio One show.
Lowe’s uncritical posturing and musical chauvinism help to perpetuate a culture that devalues women’s creativity and innovation, and helps explain why only a handful of women have ever been offered the opportunity to headline Glastonbury. Whether Beyonce is the feminist icon that some claim is certainly debatable, but the furore over her right to perform at the festival reveals the gendered hierarchies still dominant within musical taste-making. As a reprise to her anthem ‘If I Were A Boy’, Beyonce might want to add the line ‘…Zane Lowe might stick around to watch my set.’