Welcome to the big top, Lauryn Hill

Oh. Oh, dear. Oh, dear God. This. This is wrong. This is so terribly wrong. This is, I am very sad to report, the misclownification of Lauryn Hill.

Yes, that Lauryn Hill. The neo-soul goddess. The Fugees refugee. The eight-time Grammy winner. The blazing talent that came like a comet into our atmosphere with a flash, blending a reverential respect from the past with something altogether new, fresh and exciting, only to leave us alone again in the darkness as her orbit took her elsewhere.

And now she’s back. And instead of taking her fashion cues from Dolce & Gabbana, she has apparently opted for Barnum & Bailey. Also, Michael Jackson called from 1983: He wants his jacket back.

Look, I love Lauryn just about any way she serves
herself up. I like her in a hat, I like her in a cap. I like her with a Grammy, I like her in a cami. I like her with a crop, I like her with a mop. I’ll stop now before Dr. Seuss comes after me with a rhyming dictionary.

But this Lauryn is killing me softly. Actually, it’s more like she is killing me loudly and with as many patterns as possible. She debuted her Ringling-Bros.-meets-Mardi-Gras style at a much-anticipated free concert Monday in Brooklyn. The New York Times called her show “driven, soulful and fiery.” Reviews around the blogosphere were somewhat more muted. After arriving 45 minutes late, she rasped her way through her first few songs, causing some fans to leave.

But overall, consensus seemed to be that a late,
surreal and possibly color-blind Lauryn is still better than no Lauryn at all. I guess so, but I just can’t stop hearing circus music when I look at her. Let’s remedy that, shall we? DJ, drop the needle.