Our boy JT hasn’t had the greatest year so far. It all started to go wrong pretty much immediately, when in January he came under fire after vocalizing his support for the #TimesUp movement against systematic harassment. Said fire was primary spoken by Woody Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, who criticized Justin’s involvement in her father’s film Wonder Wheel, as she pointed out the director’s infamous past of assault allegations. Not long after this, Timberlake released his Man of the Woods album, a record some critics called “muddled” and “irritating”. He followed this release by headlining the Super Bowl LII halftime show, a performance other critics called “forgettable” and “wimpy”. Ouch!
As if every angle of this singer’s career wasn’t already being slaughtered, the bloodthirsty public craved for more, and have even been tearing into Justin’s fashion choices recently. To echo his new rural sounding album, Timberlake began donning a more country style, of which the promo shots included images of horses and corn fields. The people of Twitter, being the friendly folks they are, got in line to take their shots at Timberlake’s already shredded 2018 reputation, and that’s where I come in. I want to help the guy, by distracting everyone. Hey everyone, let’s talk about something else. Oh my Gosh, do you remember Michael Jackson’s face?
15. Michael Jackson
Well, would you look at that. Naturally, when it comes to a list about celebrity transformations, no respectable inventory would neglect to mention the King of Pop AKA the King of Completely Changing His Face. Michael Jackson was such an unrivalled entertainer that the evolution of his nose alone hit front page news, and I could easily dedicate an entire article to its modifications. What has your nose ever done? Of course, antagonists love to use these plastic surgery adventures as proof that Jackson wasn’t alright in the head (as well as those kiddie allegations, but let’s not go into that), but what you have to remember is this: here is an artist who invented gravity defying dance moves and wrote the most infectiously insane pop songs of all time. It takes a brain that’s a little wobbly to drive that far out of the box. Jackson just drove really far, that’s all.
14. David Bowie
The otherworldly genius of Bowie manifested itself in more artistic expressions than one, including (but not limited to) his inconceivably versatile musical styles, his perpetually evolving visual presentation, and his full personality overhauls, as he morphed into multiple characters over the course of his awe-inspiring five decade career. To summarize: in the early 70s, David’s long haired androgynous appearance abruptly changed into his most famous incarnation, Ziggy Stardust, a glam rockstar alien who came to save the world. By the mid-70s, Bowie had shed the makeup and glitter to evolve into an R&B soul man, soon developing The Thin White Duke persona in the late 70s, which nearly killed the artist as he experimented with electronic sounds and copious amounts of illegal narcotics. After that, he became a disco superstar in ‘83, a drum and bass enthusiast in ’97, a family man in 2000, and after his death in 2006, an eternal starman legend.
13. Miley Cyrus
For someone who has only seen 25 years pass, it’s rather remarkable how many identity shifts Miley has already managed to cover. It all started in 2006, when 14-year-old Cyrus was cast in the Disney musical comedy television show Hannah Montana, establishing her as a teen idol with a squeaky-clean reputation. All of that came to a forceful end in 2011, when the show finished and Cyrus exploded from a long suppressed rebellious phase, aggressively twerking against Robin Thicke’s blurred line, and then swinging around naked on a wrecking ball, much to Mickey Mouse’s embarrassment. Things got even weirder before they got better, when Cyrus made friends with acclaimed crazy people, The Flaming Lips, and created a mess with a surrealistic pop record all about her dead pets. But it seems the girl has finally calmed down in recent years, based on her wholesome 2017 country record Younger Now (which wasn’t very good, to be fair).
12. Marilyn Manson
As it was the title of his 1998 autobiography, it’s been a Long Hard Road Out of Hell for Manson, as he went from the scariest villain America has ever seen, to becoming a face on one of Justin Bieber’s shirt designs. Real name Brian Warner oozed onto the industrial rock scene in 1989 and quickly built a reputation, not only as the leader of “the sickest group ever promoted by a mainstream record company” (according to former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman), but also as an artist who continuously evolved his sound and fashion sense. From the dirty blasphemous perversion of 1996’s Antichrist Superstar era, to the glam androgynous alien look of 1998’s Mechanical Animals incarnation, to the 1920s Berlin-inspired Dadaism tone of 2003’s Golden Age of Grotesque, Mr. Manson managed to shock the world silly until he drank too much absinthe and forgot how to make good music anymore, round about 2008.
11. Caitlyn Jenner
Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete and Keeping Up with the Kardashians television personality, (then) Bruce Jenner surprised the world when she announced herself as a transgender woman in 2015, and requested we now referred to her as Caitlyn. Interestingly enough, the usually cruel public openly embraced this new Jenner, applauding so loudly that Caitlyn became the most famous openly transgender woman in the world instantaneously. Before anyone knew what had happened, her new Twitter profile accumulated one million followers in four hours (breaking Obama’s previous world record), and she became Google’s most searched for person in 2015, while Glamour magazine called her one of their “Women of the Year”, which not everyone was happy about. Personally, I was just surprised how amazing she looked on the cover of Vanity Fair, mainly because she was 65-years-old at the time. That’s one good surgeon you got there, Caitlyn!
You don’t become the best-selling female recording artist of all time by simply standing still, which is why Madonna zoomed along at blinding speeds, reinventing her fashion style and experimenting with her musical sounds whilst rolling on beds and into Kabbalah meditation poses all the way. In fact, no pop star has achieved it quite like she has, starting her career with a colorful clubby edge, before going into the deep realms of tacky sensuality, which (make no mistake) was one expertly executed strategic move, aimed to tease unsuspecting men into a stupor whilst reducing everyone’s parents into tears of concern. Madonna didn’t stop there either, mutating from a blonde bombshell into a more sophisticated version of herself, preaching yoga, adopting a British accent, and then ruining it all by kissing Britney Spears at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Oh well, all hail the Queen of Pop!
When Rihanna released her debut album in 2005, everyone agreed that this artist showed promise, with her sunshine demeanor and the carefree happiness one would expect from a then 17-year-old teenager. Little did anyone know, but Rihanna was already on a dark pathway, and when she released the aptly titled Good Girl Gone Bad two years later, it became swiftly apparent that we were dealing with a completely different diva now. The innocent adolescent we all thought we knew had turned to the dark side, now a far edgier star who enjoyed taking her clothes off, singing about naughty things, and smoking marijuana all over her Instagram account. How this happened is anyone’s guess, but according to various conspiracy theorists, she sold her soul to the Illuminati and this was part of her deal. If so, it was probably worth it, as her 230 million records sold and nine Grammy Awards won will tell you.
8. The Beatles
In their 10 years of activity, The Beatles not only changed the face of music, but also changed their own faces too. Famous for their ever-evolving sound, history’s best-selling band made their most fascinating transformation around 1967. They were already sick to death by their clean mop top reputations, and when they found themselves in the middle of the hippie movement, they joined in with a more psychedelic, hazy style of expression. This all came (literally) crashing into an exciting creative idea when Paul McCartney was involved in a moped accident, splitting his upper lip. To hide the scar it left behind, McCartney grew a moustache, which the freshly open-minded Beatles thought was a very groovy plan and all followed suit. This was the first step in developing the band’s Sgt. Pepper personas, eventually donning colorful military-style uniforms whilst recording the greatest album of all time (according to Rolling Stone Magazine).
7. Justin Bieber
Who can forget the cute face of 15-year-old Justin Bieber as he jumped onto the scene with his out-of-date hairstyle and strong Christian morals, singing about babies even though he looked just like a baby himself. What we didn’t know, however, was that Justin carried a disease, affectionately known as Bieber Fever, and as he sang, these germs flew out of his mouth and spread across the world, causing mass hysteria and a terrible perception of music. Once this illness had sufficiently infected enough people, it began to attack its host even more severely. It didn’t take long before Justin had morphed in front of our very eyes, chopping off his signature hair, wearing less and less clothing, attempting to grow a beard, and slowly covering his entire body with permanent marker. He then proceeded to get arrested for DUI charges, vandalism, and assault, all the while making racist jokes and getting his pet monkey confiscated. Still, his last album was a banger, and you all know it.
6. Gwen Stefani
Long before Gwen sold her integrity to the dance-pop world and started teaching us all how to spell the word “bananas” (which I am grateful for), Ms. Stefani’s reputation was a lot more hardcore, initially famous for being the punky singer for the alternative ska band, No Doubt. During those years, Gwen was a mother’s worst nightmare, sporting any color of hair imaginable, sticking bindis all over her face, and marrying Kurt Cobain wannabe Gavin Rossdale (frontman of Bush, if anyone remembers them). Of course, we all have to grow up sometime, and upon realizing teenage angst only looked good on teenagers, Gwen slowly began to favor an electronic approach, getting rid of her band, getting rid of her husband, and dressing in a far more bright, cutesie manner. This new look came accompanied with her four backup dancers, known as the Harajuku Girls, which critics called “racist”.
5. Britney Spears
When it comes to career development, Brit did it by the textbook. Like any worthwhile early 90s star, she started as a member of The Mickey Mouse Club before moving onto her solo music venture as an innocent school girl who openly requested that we hit her one more time. Ms. Spears then continued to follow the blueprint perfectly, by progressively becoming more and more sensual in her fashion choices and lyrical themes, embracing her womanhood and runaway fame, until she made the most predictable move of all: losing her mind. Poor Britney had become the cliché child star turned troubled adult, crushed beneath the pressure, getting a divorce, going to a drug rehabilitation facility, leaving said facility after one day, then shaving her head bald. Since then, Britney has thankfully regained her brain and her successes, standing as one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with over 150 million records shipped worldwide. I love a happy ending!
4. Russell Brand
Opinions are often split about English comedian Russell Brand’s unique style of political comedy and superfluous vocabulary, but it’s difficult to deny that the man has changed drastically during his time in the spotlight. From the ashes of ADHD, bipolar disorder, bulimia, and heroin addiction, Russell’s career blossomed into fame, where his androgynous goth look with teased hair and excessive eyeliner sunk hearts all around the world. But those years of promiscuity and outrageous behavior eventually bored Russell as much as it bored everyone else, and he looked towards other places for answers, eventually attacking wealth inequality, capitalism, and climate change with his celebrity voice, as he began to sink further into the depths of his mind due to Transcendental Meditation, and ultimately adopted a messianic fashion sense as if he was the second coming. Should we be worried?
3. Lindsay Lohan
What I like most about Lindsay’s makeover is that it was a complete accident. In the late 90s/early 2000s, Lohan’s career was one of the most promising in Hollywood, when she played twins in her 1998’s The Parent Trap film debut, praised as one extremely challenging role to have accomplished so convincingly. Five years later, and Freaky Friday was adored by critics, followed up by the cult classic Mean Girls, one of the greatest high school movies ever made. Yes, it looked like Lohan’s transition from a child star to a teenage superstar was solidified, until she fell face first into a plate of drugs, lost a lot of weight, and was arrested for driving under the influence. Reportedly, the star has cleaned herself right up in recent years, but her career has struggled to take flight once again, as her lifestyle still overshadows the talent she was once praised for. I have faith in her though.
2. Avril Lavigne
In 2002, at the age of only 18, Avril became the angry female voice for the MTV pop-punk movement, finally giving the kids the strength to say “nobody understands me!” even though there were literally millions of them saying the exact same thing. Never mind, what mattered was that Avril had taught them how to be themselves, by wearing exactly what she was wearing: baggy clothes and ties without collars, whilst actively rejecting the trend of tight jeans and those high heel shoes that Harper’s Bazaar models would wear. As Avril’s success moved forward, so did her style, making a goth turn in 2004 with a much darker wardrobe, until eventually settling on a more feminine look when she embraced the trend of tight jeans and high heel shoes, legitimately becoming a Harper’s Bazaar model when she posed for the magazine herself in 2007. That’s how much Avril cares about what you think. She’s so non-conformist that she actually conformed.
1. Die Antwoord
Unbeknownst to most, but when South African hip hop crew released their 60,000,000+ viewed viral hit Enter the Ninja, they had already come from a long line of experimental musical style and fashion changes. In fact, for most of his career, Watkin Tudor Jones (now better known as Ninja) was hardly ever seen without his signature formal suit attire, rapping almost exclusively in English with popular local groups Max Normal and The Constructus Corporation. And together with his pixie counterpart, Yolandi Visser, the seemingly normal couple created art and raised their child, Sixteen Jones, as one big happy family. Who knows what happened in 2008, but it must have been weird, as both of these vocalists suddenly cut their hair into strange shapes, covered themselves in tattoos, and began to rap Afrikaans lyrics over dance beats, morphing into Die Antwoord overnight and exploding into the mainstream the next morning. I’ll have what they had, thanks!
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