By now you've probably heard about the whole Donald Trump Jr. thing, but just in case, here's the deal: On Saturday, the New York Times reported the existence of a June 9, 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and a Kremlin-connected Russian attorney, which had been arranged by Trump Jr. Yesterday, the Times followed up on the story, publishing an email chain in which Trump Jr. was told by an intermediary that the lawyer possessed "sensitive information" regarding "Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia that would be very useful to your father," and would be given to him as "part of Russia and its government's support for [Donald] Trump."
The younger Donald Trump responded in part, "I love it." Weirdly, Trump Jr. posted the same email chain on Twitter shortly before the Times went live with its story, which seems like kind of a bad idea on his part, but whatever. Later, the Times reported that baby Trump, who as a teen was estranged from papa Trump, "was only focused on trying to help––and even––his father." This is all very Shakespearian, if Shakespeare had ever written a play where every single character was extremely unlikeable. And one of the more bizarre elements of the Trump/Russia collusion thing—right up there with the pee tape stuff and Tom DeLonge claiming he has secret and potentially alien-derived knowledge of Trump's looming impeachment—is the fact that the intermediary in question was a music publicist named Rob Goldstone, acting on behalf of one of his clients, a Azerbaijani-Russian pop singer named Emin Agalarov who's the son of a Russian oligarch.
In addition to making pop music, Emin also does real estate stuff with his dad, and given the porous line separating Russia's elite business class and Vladamir Putin's regime, it makes sense that he'd have some sort of connection to Russian government stuff. The fact that Goldstone is an entertainment publicist––his official bio states that he's also done PR for TLC, Michael Jackson, BB King, and the Steinway & Sons* piano company––goes a long way towards explaining why he publicly snitched on himself by posting on Facebook that he was "preparing for meeting" at Trump Tower on the day of the June 9, 2016 meeting with Trump Jr., as well as why he might have agreed to set up such a legally dubious meeting in the first place.
Amusingly, and perhaps damningly, as of Tuesday evening Goldstone hadn't deleted the Trump Tower check-in from his Facebook profile, vast swaths of which are public. Because I'm an internet creep, I went to Goldstone's Facebook and used his posts to put together a little timeline of the events leading up to the meeting with Trump Jr.:
On May 24 of last year, Goldstone landed in St. Petersburg, posting on Facebook, "Hello Russia! Landed in St. Petersburg." On May 26, he arrived in Moscow. On May 30, he and Emin attended an Elton John concert together (Goldstone posted a picture from "Emin's divine waterfront restaurant" afterwards). On the 31st, he flew from Moscow to New York. On June 1, two days before he emailed Donald Trump Jr. about what he believed to be Russia's attempts to assist his father's campaign, Goldsmith posted a rant about Harambe. On June 3, the same day he contacted Trump Jr., he was at a spa in Hoboken. The day before meeting Trump Jr., Goldstone checked in at the Soho House in Manhattan, boasting that he was seated next to The Fat Jew.
While the meeting, the Trump family's relationship with Emin and his father, and the contents of Goldstone's extremely public Facebook profile have been dissected to death, the one element of this globe-trotting clusterfuck that hasn't been closely examined is Emin's music. Fortunately for you, as soon as I found out that Emin existed, I decided to check out a bunch of his music in the hopes that it would either (A) be super crazy and fun in the way I imagine Russian pop music to be, or (B) reveal subtextual clues about the whole Trump-Russia thing.
Unfortunately, neither of these turned out to be the case. In real life, Emin's music is almost too boring to make fun of––which turns out to be just the right amount of boring to justify roasting his music to smithereens. His music is like what you'd get if Ed Sheeran and Michael Bublé made a baby and that baby fucking sucked at singing. His worst songs sound like rejected James Bond movie theme songs, and his best songs sound like no one would care about them if his dad weren't a Russian oligarch. His music sounds like how watching golf on TV makes people feel, and his music videos all come across like really long shampoo commercials. But because I love you, dear Noisey reader, I have taken it upon myself to present you with several of Emin's music videos, and will now proceed to make ruthless mockery of them.
"In Another Life"
Among the outlets that have reported on Emin, there doesn't seem to be much of a consensus as to whether he's famous or not. In their piece revealing his involvement with the emails, the Times referred to him as "one of Russia's biggest pop music stars." The Daily Beast, meanwhile, quoted someone as saying Emin was "untalented" and "a kid who wanted a pop-star career and had his daddy buy it for him." Regardless, it is indubitable that the video for "In Another Life" features Donald Trump at the end of it, telling Emin that he's fired. Notably, the video finds Emin singing the first line of the song into a cup of coffee, and then in an act of typical Russian stoicism, spilling the presumably hot coffee on himself while continuing to sing.
Roughly half of Emin's songs are in English, while the other half are extremely in Russian. What's charming about his English-language singing is that, as you can tell in "Boomerang," he still retains a hint of his accent when dropping lyrical miracles like "Said our goodbyes but / Never really felt like this was done." It also features Nile Rodgers on guitar, which brings to mind that video of Russians singing "Get Lucky" at the opening ceremony for the Sochi Olympics. Here's to hoping that Rodgers will "Get Lucky" and not be questioned by special prosecutor Robert Mueller about his potentially un-American collusion with Emin to create an extremely shitty song.
"Премьера клипа!," Emin's newest and perhaps best song, finds him assuming the character of "Jose Mamedov," a 70s-style secret agent with a hilariously fake wig and mustache. I'd like to think that somehow, this whole shit with Emin and Rob Goldstone and Donald Trump Jr. is somehow the Trump family using their position of influence as guerilla marketing for Emin's espionage-themed music video.
"8 в падении"
I left like 15 tabs of Emin videos loaded up on YouTube when I went to bed last night. About an hour after I had started working this morning, "8 в падении" started playing at random. Due to the numerous closeups on Emin's face in this clip, I am convinced that Emin was somehow spying on me through my screen.
"Love Is a Deadly Game" / "Забыть Тебя"
Because Emin loves you, he gave the world both an English and Russian version of his heater "Love Is a Deadly Game." As deadly a game as love might be, Emin spends most of the video messing around on his phone in front of his girlfriend and/or wife, and then gets hit by a car at the end of the video. Is this a reference to Russian political assassinations? Definitely not, but it's fun to pretend.
"Рядом проснуться - ПРЕМЬЕРА КЛИПА!"
You remember that episode of Seinfeld where they were stuck in a parking garage? Well, this video starts out like that, with Emin and his girlfriend canoodling in a parking deck while getting chased by security guards, except they escape because his dad is a Russian oligarch. They then ride a Vespa around and have a food fight in a bar. Men in suits get mad at them, but they are no match for Emin and his generational wealth.
"Сбежим в Баку"
Of all the Emin songs I listened to, this is the only one that is actually good, because it is a Russian dancehall song. I'm starting to realize that basically every Emin video features him and a beautiful woman going through a city doing things they're not supposed to because they're in love. Here, they drive a Jeep on the beach and walk around some extremely modern architecture while people do flips (because of love).
"Emin 35 and Friends Donald Trump, Robert De Niro, Grigory Leps"
This is both a music video and a celebration of Emin turning 35, featuring a bunch of extremely famous people. It starts with Trump wishing him a happy birthday, saying, "Emin I can't believe you're turning 35. You're getting older all the time. But you're a winner and a champ. You're great at real estate, and boy can you entertain! Happy 35th birthday, go many many more."
Future Days is a weekly column by Drew Millard. If you agree or disagree with what he writes, feel free to text him at 828-675-8574.
Drew Millard used to work at Noisey, but now he doesn't, so now he has this column. He lives in North Carolina with his dog. Follow him on Twitter.