BEAST is Dead,
Long live The BEST!
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BEAST BASH A Baffling
Fried - Jason
the Angry Flower -
Under My Skin
Isn’t it so cool that
you can be punk and pop at the same time nowadays? Take Avril Lavigne.
She’s got everything a pop starlet needs
- pretty smile, hot body, and agood enough voice - heartthrob city.
But all it takes is a little tweaking - give her a tank top and
a tie, she gives you the finger, and bam! She’s punk! Oh, how can
you spit on her, Patti Smith? She’s so adorable!
aggressively takes on some of teen life’s great dilemmas in her
sophomore effort Under My
Skin, such as why boys are mean, why parents are lame, and why
society sucks. There’s not much wisdom here, but wisdom is for losers!
When you’re nineteen and hot to trot, who needs substance? The lyrics
and melodies are so much fun so sing along to that you totally forget
that this has all been done a million times before. In “How Does
It Feel,” when she repeats ad nauseam, “How does it feel to be/Different
from me,” it really makes you sit back and think, “wow, I am different
from Avril Lavigne. That’s crazy!” Try chewing on the opening line
of the roaring “He Wasn’t” - “There’s not much going on today/I’m
really bored.” I smell a songwriting Grammy!
is every man’s dream girl - we all want a smartass chick to go skateboarding
and blow snot rockets with, as long as she shaves. We’ll recommend
any of her albums as long as there’s lots of cutesy punk pictures
in the liner notes that we can hang on our wall. She’s the greatest!
Pawn Shoppe Heart
in at a combined weight of about 385 pounds, Detroit-based co-ed
quartet the Von Bondies are an emaciated enigma - are they heroin
addicts? Vegans, maybe? Or are they on a hunger strike until someone
takes them seriously? Who knows, but they know how to make sneering,
shots that make them look too cool for school, and these days that
gets you in the studio door. They came out with Pawn
Shoppe Heart, stamping them firmly at the forefront of modern
suicidal glam rock.
listen to scathing tracks like “Broken Man” or “Crawl Through the
Darkness,” and you’ll get the gist. Lead singer Jason Stollsteimer
has a wonderful knack for sucking the happiness out of a tune -
hopeless depression hasn’t been this cool since Nirvana’s “In Utero!”
And those lovelyladies, guitarist Marcie Bell and bassist Carrie
Smith - so lost, so lifeless, so luscious! As I watched them tear
through an opening set for the Cramps at the Sphere last May, I
wondered, had they recently lost a close relative? Did the bus break
down? Did they just have their wisdom teeth removed? Their relentless
dedication to vapidity was so chic, it made me want to forget how
to smile, too.
Von Bondies are poised to reach the top - the question is, will
they make it before one or more of the members either ODs, commits
suicide, or gets beaten to death by Jack White? Oh, who are we kidding,
that’ll only make ‘em even bigger! The Von Bondies are the greatest!
In this skin
rarely - once in a generation, maybe - a singer comes along and
floors the music world with breathtaking soul and beauty. In our
time, no one has captivated an audience like Jessica Simpson. For
some, yes, it’s the boobs, but for us it’s so much more. Her latest
release, In This Skin, is a whirlwind of ethereal
yet heavy ballads delivered with the power and grace that only this
queen of all divas can muster. This is the album Carole King’s Tapestry wished it were.
please, you say, don’t we already have enough mushy love songs?
Well listen to these lyrics to find what pushes Simpson to the top
- “I’m so happy that I found you/I just wanna break down and cry
and laugh and hug and kiss.” Truly timeless - consider the envelope
pushed. And though you may find it hard to believe, not long ago
I said to myself, “what we need in music is for someone to release
a note-for-note cover of “Take My Breath Away,” because I really
haven’t heard that song enough.” Thanks, Jessica, I knew you’d come
talk a tough game here, but all we really want is a God-fearing
girl next door whose limited intelligence will never challenge us.
Though it pains us to know she’s taken by that hunky crooner Nick
Lachey, we thank him for the inspiration he gives her, not to mention
their wonderful duets. We’ve instead focused our fan mail on her
younger sister, who’s apparently looking for a break. As of this
pressing, we sit patiently awaiting the arrival of the younger Ms.
Simpson’s press kit, with eager hopes that she’s half as hot and
twice as stupid.
We have so much to thank American Idol for. The
first two seasons gave
us winners Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, who are well on their
way to superstardom, while their bridesmaids, Justin Guarini and
Clay Aiken, not only have their own hit albums, but have also become
prominent gays rights spokesmen, and are rumored to be honeymooning
in Cape Cod after getting hitched in Boston. But the third season
is when things got crazy. Not only did the plight of East Amherst’s
own 16 year-old geriatric crooner John Stevens become more important
to Buffalonians than some silly war in Iraq, but the explosion of
the ultimate idol, William Hung, has been mind-boggling.
there was his show-stopping take on Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.”
The judges’ curious decision not to allow Hung passage into the
next round has baffled many, but the diminutive UC-Berkeley student
with mammoth lungs and dazzling dance moves got the last laugh,
as he was signed by industry giant Koch Records and rushed into
the studio in attempt to re-capture the magic. The result is the
epic Inspiration, an earth-shattering collection of timeless
classics that Hung absolutely grasps as his own, putting original
artists such as Elton John (“Rocket Man” and more) and the Eagles
(“Hotel California”) to shame, and sending frantic talent scouts
to karaoke bars nationwide with contracts in hand.
can sign every hack from every dive they find, but there’s only
one Hung, and this is way more than just a sing-along - this is
perhaps the greatest concept album of the last thirty years. With
four segments of motivational spoken word throughout, the album
takes on its own life, and becomes an affirmation. “Inspiration”
indeed - eat your heart out Dark Side of the Moon, this one
actually makes sense.
When the Sun Goes
nothing better than not caring about nothin’, but that sentiment
has many faces in music. Forget the “I hate everyone” or “my walls
are closing in” kinds, I’m talkin’ ‘bout that six-pack, pick-up,
watch-the-day-go-by mindset that Kenny Chesney’s got down. What’s
so great about Chesney is that he takes advantage of clever videography
to be badass in one turn and a softy in the next, meaning his concert
crowds must be split between beer-guzzlin’ rednecks and screaming
teenyboppers, and what two groups of people would you rather be
able to exploit than them?
the Sun Goes Down” makes clear that Chesney wishes he were Jimmy
Buffett, and while we all know that’s a bit much to aspire to, we
can’t blame him for trying. So he’s lost his cares, he’s got his
beers, he’s on the beach, he’s got the girls, but he’s still not
as cool as Buffett, so what can he do? Get Uncle Kracker to help
out! Bingo, #1 hit! Not since the days of Wang Chung have we been
given a better party anthem, and though it’s true that Kracker can
only sing in one key, and poorly at that, his mesh hat and overweight
heartthrob status easily make up for it.
haven’t even listened to the rest of the album because the party
hasn’t stopped since we put that song on repeat, but we hear it’s
all pretty good.