Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe
Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world

This one is for the cynics, scoffers, elitists, curmudgeons, unbelievers, pessimists, misanthropes, sneerers, sourpusses, and various other cantankerous pricks who keep the world of music critiquing alive and well. Sometimes complaining is just more fun. I think Sirhan Sirhan (1) said that right before he pulled out his .22 Caliber.

Hopefully, most of you read last week’s column, but in case you didn’t, I’ll give a brief tutorial on how it works. Like Enrico Fermi (2), I’ll research, dissect, and eventually, split open the most noteworthy musical events of the previous week, causing a chain reaction that may or may not change life as we know it. Along the way, I’ll keep a running count of every famous person mentioned, hopefully hitting 50 by the article’s “it was all a dream” ending. Ready? Than like Alex Trebek’s (3) moustache, I’m off.

Shins keyboardist Martin Crandall (4) was arrested for battering his girlfriend, former America’s Top Model contestant Elyse Sewell (5). Natalie Portman (6) once told Elyse if she listened to the Shins it would change her life, but I bet she didn’t realize the only alteration would be the inability to ever trust men again.

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor (7) is miffed about the lack of paid downloads Saul Williams’ (8) new album attracted. I can’t say I’m overly surprised. If the world wanted more poetic, thought-provoking lyrics, “Werewolves Of London” wouldn’t have been Warren Zevon’s (9) highest charting single. He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim. Ohh, I’d like to meet his tailer. God, that still makes me laugh.

Sony BGM announced it will drop copy protection for downloads. Thank God. Pirates will always figure out creative ways to rip music, so, why punish average Joes burning music for themselves? No word on how Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich (10) feels about this de-legislation, but maybe he’ll reenter therapy and make a sequel to Some Kind Of Monster. I’m all for it, provided it includes more bitter Dave Mustaine (11) footage where he talks about digging a hole to smoke illegal substances.

Multi-platinum rapper Eminem (12) was rushed to the hospital this week while suffering from pneumonia. The hip-hop pioneer reportedly weighed in at over two hundred pounds. A lesser writer would probably make a few Slim Shady cracks here, but I’m better than that. Wait! I got one. Maybe he should change D12's name to Fat Embert And The Curvy Kids! Thanks, I’ll be here all week.

Canadian rocker Avril Lavigne (13) has agreed to an out-of-court settlement on her plagiarization/ copywrite violation case. I’ve never heard the original Rubinoos’ track Avril supposedly ripped off on “Girlfriend”, but I can’t respect anyone who would actually claim their work directly led to that song. Have some dignity. Do you really think anyone would sue Falco (14), even if the sheet music to “Rock Me Amadeus” was stolen from an open window? I doubt it. That whole scenario is unlikely, though, as we all know the only thing stolen off a windowsill is blueberry pie.

Sad bastard rockers Radiohead have finalized plans to tour North America. Great. How does tailgating work at these Thom Yorke (15) gigs? Do concert goers all dress in black and read Sylvia Plath (16) and Emily Dickinson (17) poetry, while recanting wild tales of sweatily reaching second base? God, I hate Radiohead.

The People’s Choice Awards went forward this week, and Justin Timberlake (18) dominated, taking home two Moon Men or Oscars or Globes or whatever the hell this award show calls its trophies. In a related story, Lance Bass (19) also took home two Moon Men, but the only thing he won was a mini-freakout as he waited on the results to his morning after AIDS test. Hey-0! In retrospect, that last comment was probably in poor taste, but so was the trio’s foreplay. Double Hey-0!

Former American Idol runner-up Katherine McPhee (20) has joined fellow finalists Taylor Hicks (21) and Ruben Studdard (22) in the unemployment line. Katherine is too hot to ever starve, but prospects for the other two are mixed. Ruben should be fine, as Britney (23) needs a new overweight, intimidating bodyguard after hers sold out to the media, but I’m not sure how many employers are in the market for prematurely greying Soul Train passengers with epilepsy. Sorry, Taylor.

Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo (24) is ready to release a solo video. The Harvard graduate has reportedly written and recorded over eight hundred songs during his lifetime; so, if he gets shot, expect more posthumorous albums than Tupac (25). Let’s be honest, though, Cuomo’s about as likely to get gunned down as Angela Lansbury (26). Anyone else ever realized Jessica Fletcher had more co-workers die on Murder, She Wrote than Stalin (27)? Kinda makes you wonder.

One-legged former stripper Heather Mills (28) made inflammatory news again this week after accusing future ex-husband Paul McCartney (29) of refusing to quit drinking, while on teetotaling required medication. Bitch, didn’t you get the memo saying Paul was in the fucking Beatles? He can do whatever he wants. Lennon (30) certainly played by his own rules, and that worked out swimmingly. Well, at least he went out doing what he loved: ignoring his first son Julian (31).

Marilyn Manson (32) and longtime writing partner Twiggy Ramirez (33) have reunited. Good. I was more traumatized by Twiggy’s absence than when Batman (34) creators replaced Dick Grayson (35) with that douche Jason Todd (36). Thank God the Joker (37) beat him to death with a tire iron.

Panic! At The Disco has dropped the “!” from their name. Finally. Now, I’ll be able to sleep at night. I remember staying up late a few years back, frantically wondering if Pam Anderson (38) would drop the Lee from her name. She did and all was right with the world. Do you think Tommy Lee (39) still uses her full name when they have passionate make-up sex during the unattached months between her marriages? I’d bet on it.

Paula Abdul (40) is in talks to perform at the Super Bowl Half Time Show. Tom Petty (41) has already agreed to sing, but apparently, producers aren’t willing to give him the whole half hour. I’m surprised there’s even going to be a midgame concert this year. I’m sure most of the sportswriters covering the event would rather see a highlight video of Tom Brady (42) and his boy-next-door good looks.

What To Expect Over The Next Week: Another Top 5 and several CD Reviews. If all goes well, you should get another thirty-five news stories or so and a few hateful, ranting diatribes. You can’t go wrong with those.

What I’ve Been Listening To: Country Joe McDonald’s (43) “Fixin To Die Rag.” Other than “We Shall Overcome”, that’s probably my favorite protest song of all-time. I’ve also been playing a lot of Anna Nalick (44). Little known fact: ex-Blind Melon members Brad Smith (45) and Christopher Thorn (46) co-wrote and produced her album Wreck Of The Day. That’s a big fuck you to anyone who called them untalented one-hit wonders.

What Song Is Currently On?: George Michael’s (47) “Faith.” I feel like busting out my tightest jeans and a leather jacket.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you this week. I’m off to let Jewel (48) save my soul. You know you love him.

This week’s YouTube video is Mr. Dan (49) and his Dan Band with an obscenity-filled cover of Bonnie Tyler’s (50) “Total Eclipse Of The Heart.” Enjoy.

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