All the News That Didn't Fit

On the Record

The Olympia Connection, Or Lack Thereof


The Numbness Is Just a Bonus

Hiphop City


Soul by the Pound


Incest is Best

The Rise and Fall of the N-Word


If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Tell the Truth Anyway

You Don't Own Me

Summer Lovin'

Stagger Lee

Music to Lose Your Job By

Boy, You Sure Can Take the Fun Out of Music


Stuart Braithwaite From Mogwai

Going to New York City?


A Whole N'other Level

Who Says Morrissey Fans Don't Get Laid?


Not Modest Enough

ROCK AND RAP REPORTING IS A WORLD of "tonal vision," where "classic funk-punk" and "somber one-note sambas" have been known to "twinkle like bright lights" and "outdo the likes of Puff Daddy."

Below, Excellent presents an annotated tour of that very special universe. This, more or less, was the pop journalism month that was.

"That juxtaposition is also evident in the new 'Rhino Skin,' in which a palpable vulnerability is barely muted by caustic asides, and 'It's Good To Be King.' Though grounded in melancholy bordering on self-pity -- the title phrase is more ironic than boastful -- 'King' turned into one of the night's highlights when the Heartbreakers fleshed it out with thunderous cadenzas, including a somber one-note samba by guitarist Mike Campbell and an instrumental passage that suggested a man half drowning, half floating in space." -- Richard Harrington, going overboard on Tom Petty, in the June 28 Washington Post.

"Rock 'n' Roll was too [much of] a predominately Black culture for a hot second until they came up with Elvis to keep white girls from creaming in their pants over Chuck Berry." -- Jessica Green, going overboard on revisionist history, in her "Letter from the Editor" in the No. 18 issue of Stress.

"Allen's eyes squinted ever so slightly and then began to twinkle like bright lights. He smiled that mystic smile, and I felt as though God himself had forgiven me a dreadful sin." -- Johnny Depp, going overboard while remembering Allen Ginsberg, in the July 8-22 Rolling Stone.

"But Californication tries to have it both ways, sounding both enlightened and engorged, switching between their classic funk-punk and mid tempo balladry. Soon after the song about the quick shag in Britain comes 'Savior,' an unlikely tribute to God. 'To celebrate you is great, now that I can,' sings the man who once wrote 'Catholic School Girls Rule.' He ends up sounding like a swinger trying to pick up chicks at Lilith Fair." -- R.J. Smith, refusing to go overboard on the Red Hot Chili Peppers reunion, in the August Spin.

"Here's a guy who is only one of a precious few celebrities who can out-cool Tom Cruise, deliver a punch line with more cocky flair than Eddie Murphy and John Travolta combined, and outdo the likes of Puff Daddy with his lavish, innovative music videos." -- David Thigpen, going overboard on Will Smith (and a few others, whoever they may be) in the August Teen People.

"By 1992 [Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince] had scored two platinum albums and a major crossover hit, 'Parents Just Don't Understand,' which almost certainly was the first rap song to be regularly played at white suburban keg parties." -- Ned Zeman, almost certainly going further overboard on Will Smith than even Teen People did, in the July Vanity Fair.

"I'm a Gemini and this is a very powerful sign in the rock 'n' roll universe; we have Sun Ra, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Ray Davies, Prince." -- Pavement's Stephen Malkmus, going overboard on astrology, in the July Raygun.

"When I was with the Beastie Boys, we were playing a different kind of music. They went through a big phase -- thank God it was just a phase -- of having supermacho lyrics and stuff. Now they've come full circle. They have feminist messages now, and anti-homophobia, and human rights messages." -- Luscious Jackson's Kate Schellenbach, going overboard by downplaying the kind of music that her current label was built on in the July Girlfriends.

"These new Van Halen guitars may seem sedate compared to the striped, mutant Strat Eddie wielded when he erupted onto the guitar scene in '78. Yet Peavey's EVH Wolfgang ($1,699 with case) and EVH Wolfgang Special ($999 with case) remain true to the guitarist's tonal vision of a 'Super Strat,' and are lively, well-made instruments that sell for reasonable prices." -- Joe Gore, conjuring the spirit of Diver Down and Women & Children First -- not to mention "Man Overboard!" -- in the August Guitar Player.

Q: Tell me about water sports.

A: Well I have a whole collection of films like that. All types of shit like that. Golden showers, chocolate showers. Water sports is just the beginning. Like real beautiful women, and a camera following them, and they just got to go so bad and they be in the city and shit. It's cool, it's nice to see those business suits get rained on like that.

Q: I was thinking of water sports like water polo....

A: Nah, I got a weird phobia about water." -- From an interview with underground, overboard rapper Godfather Don, in the Vol. 6, No. 5 issue of Montreal-based Vice magazine.