This fan’s advice to his favourite musician is the ultimate example of mansplaining

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Sarah Shaffi
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Michelle Zauner aka Japanese Breakfast. Image: Getty

The “advice” has been mocked on Twitter.

Let’s not kid ourselves, mansplaining is an art form.

The perfect mansplain requires just the right amount negging and patronising, the selection of topic has to be correct, and the mansplainer needs to show persistence.

Still not clear on what mansplaining really is? Never fear: we have the perfect example in the form of a “fan” instructing a musician on how to improve her work.

Korean American musician Michelle Zauner has been in a number of bands, and currently performs under the name Japanese Breakfast.

So far she’s released two albums as Japanese Breakfast, and has tour dates coming up across the US and in the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Spain and more.

Zauner’s music has plenty of admirers, including one man who messaged her to tell her he is “one of your biggest fans”.

“I saw you in St Louis you made me cry,” he continues. “Thanks it was beautiful.”

So far, so good. But the man can’t resist and goes on to tell Zauner all the ways in which her song Till Death needs to change to make it sound like it does in his head.

Calling it constructive criticism and describing himself as a musician/songwriter, he writes: “One of my favourite songs of yours is “till Death” although I didn’t realise it at first I just realised the bass line sounds forced, I heard such beautiful Melody’s in my head that were barely touched upon.”

He signs off “rock on and much love”, implying that he’s done. But no, like any good mansplainer, the man comes back one more time to continue sharing his unwelcome thoughts.

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“To be more specific, that song is so devastatingly beautiful and the bass riff really needs to be rudimentary,” he says in a second message. “It deserves a simple dropping bass ride that isn’t too flashy. Some of the parts of the current bass riff aren’t that bad but on the whole the song needs that simple dropping bass riff. Also wouldn’t hurt to try and change it up and do something that followed the rhythm of the bells/piano for one part. The song is beautiful as it is and deserves not be overwhelmed by the bass riff.”

Zauner shared a screen grab of the messages on Twitter, accompanied by a simple caption: “Rerecords album.”

Fans (the kind that don’t tear Zauner’s work apart) have reacted in disbelief, while other musicians have shared the unsolicited advice they have received.

The fan’s advice was unwelcome, so we’d like to offer him some advice we’re sure he won’t welcome: “Shhh.”

Image: Getty


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Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance journalist and editor. She reads more books a week than is healthy, and balances this out with copious amounts of TV. She writes regularly about popular culture, particularly how it reflects and represents society.

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