May 22, 2002

CHANDRA LEVY, 1977-2001: News that

CHANDRA LEVY, 1977-2001: News that the missing intern's remains were found this morning in a Washington park; despite a weeks-long search by the DC cops last year, which at considerable taxpayer expense found nothing, the skeletal remains were found by a guy "walking his dog and looking for turtles," police said. Condolences go out to the Levy family, of course- as for soon-to-be-ex-Congressman Gary Condit, he might as well change his first name to "Guilty" right now. So first the Robert Blake case comes back into the news after a long absence, and now Chandra— let's hope last year's succession of Blake/Chandra/terrorism doesn't repeat itself now, even though we're already two-thirds of the way there.

NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT...: In the most highly publicized public declaration of heterosexuality since Kevin Spacey's a few years ago, Mets catcher Mike Piazza finally came out and admitted it yesterday: he's not gay. (in the New York Daily News, this news was deemed more worthy of the front page above the fold than yesterday's terrorist warning). The admission was reaction to an item yesterday by New York Post gossip columnist Neal Travis, who revealed that an unnamed Mets player known for cavorting with models is actually gay and was even considering coming out- Travis also wrote that Mets manager Bobby Valentine had told Details magazine that baseball is "ready for an openly gay player," and that there's probably at least one in every clubhouse (obviously, Piazza is the only Met known for cavorting with models; Mo Vaughn famously prefers strippers). This recalls last year's admission by Out Magazine editor Brendan Lemon that he was carrying on an affair with a major league player "for an East Coast franchise," who at the time was rumored around town to be Piazza. An ad-hoc "baseball roundtable" led by New York Press editor Lisa Kearns last May tried to ascertain the identity of Lemon's boyfriend and considered that it could be Piazza, for his "Christopher St./Honcho mustache and the hyperhootered Playboy Bunny beards he favors." But Kearns' group later figured out that it was another player for a non-New York team (she didn't say who).

EM-PRESSIVE: Picked up an advance copy of the new Eminem CD "The Eminem Show" yesterday ($5 bootlegs on the street in New York are the next-best thing to Napster); while I wouldn't place the new album on the level of its predecessor "The Marshall Mathers LP," Slim Shady shows that he still has the best delivery, and best lyrics in rap. While there's no obvious standout track like "Stan" or "The Way I Am" on 'Mathers,' and the first single "Without Me" is a pretty obvious rehash of "The Real Slim Shady," the album is filled with strong efforts, especially "White America" and "Cleanin' Out My Closet," both of which deal with the rapper's frustration over his lyrics being more scrutinized than those of other top rappers simply because he's blond, blue-eyed, and white. However, there's no denying that his music does indeed appeal to those who don't normally listen to rap (i.e., non-teenaged white people): for me 'Marshall Mathers' was the "gateway drug"- it was probably the first rap album I'd bought since the days of M.C. Hammer but I've since discovered the joys of Outkast, Jay-Z, Ludacris, etc. But shouldn't Eminem change his logo so it looks less like that of Enron? The same thing worked for the Houston Astros and their stadium.

DOUBLE DAVE: The Eminem CD, it has been widely reported, had its release moved up a week after widespread online piracy. Now there's news that perhaps the most famous internet-pirated album in history is finally headed towards a commercial release. The Dave Matthews Band will release "Busted Stuff" on July 16, and the new album will be largely comprised of tracks from "The Lillywhite Sessions," a set that the band recorded in early 2000 but famously shelved at the time in favor of "Everyday," which was released in February of 2001 and was a major commercial hit. The 'Lillywhite' album was leaked to the internet shortly thereafter, leading to fierce debates on DMB fansites over which CD was better, and whether 'Lillywhite' will ever see the light of day in any official manner. Yes, the general public will likely eat "Busted Stuff" up, but the question is whether Matthews' hard-core fanbase will purchase an album consisting mostly of songs which they downloaded and burned over a year ago. My guess is yes; after all, DMB has released nearly a half-dozen live albums, all of which contain alternate versions of album tracks, and Dave-heads are known for collecting tapes of different shows and comparing the various renditions. Plus, the Matthews camp has long insisted that the leaked 'Lillywhite' songs were unfinished; on "Busted Stuff" they will be, and there are two or three new songs included.
(And no, "Lillywhite" was NOT a reference to the ethnicity of most DMB fans, it rather referred to the album's producer, Steve Lillywhite.)

NEW MUSIC WATCH: Much as I have learned to love Weezer in the past six months or so (due to constant spins of last year's "Green Album" and 1996's even better "Pinkerton," which I recently discovered), I can't help but be highly disapointed in their new effort, "Maladroit." A few of the songs are catchy, but the new album is missing both the singalong-ability of the group's two self-titled CDs and the lyrical brilliance of "Pinkerton." The other rock CD I got last week, The Hives' "Veni Vedi Vicious," is much better. The Swedish group, due to their back-to-basics garage-rock sound, are bound to be cursed with the "New Strokes" label (even though the Strokes are themselves pretty new), but that's all right- I'd rather see the Strokes, Hives, White Stripes, and Andrew WK ruling the charts than tiresome, unlistenable crap like Creed, Staind, P.O.D., and Puddle of Mudd any day of the week. Standout tracks on the Hives' album are "Hate to Say I Told You So" and "Die, All Right!" and they even have cool names: Vigilante Carlstroem, Nicholaus Arson, Hawlin' Pelle Almqvist, Chris Dangerous, and Dr. Matt Destruction (he's the bass player). Take that, Fred Durst!

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