Grand artistic statement or money-grubbing sham? Befitting Momus' standing as contemporary pop's most eminent provocateur, Stars Forever is both -- a double-disc collection of analog-baroque cameos commissioned for $1000 each in the name of saving the singer's label from the ravages of legal fees, it's a frequently brilliant treatise on the never-ending battle between art and commerce, rising to the heights of the former as often as it succumbs to the depths of the latter. The idea behind Stars Forever is simple -- 30 "patrons" (among them everyone from modern artist Jeff Koons to hip NYC record store Other Music to the crazy kids who contribute to the online Indiepop List service) fork over a grand each for the honor of being eternally immortalized in a Momus song -- but the long-term ramifications of the project are complex and unsettling, and the paradoxes and questions it provokes are myriad. After all, who among us is truly fit to judge Momus' actions and intents? Should we respect the honesty of his "patronage pop" or deplore its capitalist shamelessness? Do these songs rob his music of the perversely personal bent which makes him special, or do they lift him out of the rut of self-obsession and offer an entirely new creative path? And what if the profits went not to a struggling indie label but to Sony? Furthermore, I'm getting paid to write this review -- how hypocritical is that? Perhaps the greatest value of Stars Forever is as a litmus test which forces each listener to answer these questions and countless others for themselves -- admire the record or despise it, it might just change your perception of pop music and the business that drives it forever.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2