“Spin” Arrives At Amy Winehouse’s Party A Bit Late
And now it’s time for another installment of Rock-Critically Correct, in which the most recent issues of Rolling Stone, Blender, Vibe, and Spin are given a once-over by an anonymous writer who’s contributed to several of those titles–or maybe even all of them! After the click-through, he/she examines the most recent issue of Spin:
Last month, the Idolator overlords alerted you, their grateful serfs, to a push and pull between Spin and Rolling Stone over London’s large-lunged, lushy Lauryn Hill soundalike Amy Winehouse. It seems Spin got the ball rolling for its July cover story many moons ago: deputy editor Steve Kandell followed her to such locales as the Coachella festival and NYC’s Soho Grand, and big-deal lensman Terry Richardson took the purty pitchers…
But then Rolling Stone decreed that they too would have a Winehouse cover story. As much as Your Correspondent likes to natter on endlessly about RS‘ fascination with the past, the fact remains that the mag responds to the present better than any of their competitors. The mag has a one-week lead time: Big news from one week prior to publication will be reflected in a given issue, and if Wenner and his staff are moved to beat Spin or Blender to the newsstand, they need only push a button, relatively speaking.
So what of Spin‘s Winehouse feature? Pictorially speaking, it’s clear that she’s part of a lineage of hot English Jewish broads (cf. Elastica’s Justine Frischmann, Sleeper’s Louise Wenner, Joss Stone, Dead or Alive’s Pete Burns)–but we knew that already. What was unclear until pg. 61 of this issue is that her teeth appear to be a bit fucked up. Could Richardson be making a tacit rebuttal to Michael Moore’s Sicko: “Yeah, yeah, health care overseas is far superior to the U.S., but British dental care is such that this gal’s choppers are messed up”?
Anyway, Kandell gets a lot of color from his subject: he witnesses Winehouse being propositioned by Ron Jeremy, and overhears her offer to toss her Federline-esque fiancé’s salad. Yet when it comes time for Winehouse to reflect upon her career and the meaning ot her retro-soul stylings, she demurs. Unlike many scribes in his position, Kandell declines to bestow import upon her disinterested comments, and simply calls ’em as he sees ’em. In any case, it’s good for him that she appears to be a pretty entertaining person, whether or not she’s interested in the interview process.
Then, we come to “As Nasty as They Wanna Be,” the Noise section’s lead item, which has lately come to house Spin‘s attempts to trend-spot. Writer Chris Ryan notes the emergence of Spank Rock, Bonde do Role, Amanda Blank, and Yo Majesty as emblematic of a pro-dirty-sex strain in underground hip-hop and dance music. Therein, Ryan makes the bizarre statement that “explicit sex in music is nothing new–Donna Summer had disco orgasms in in 1975’s ‘Love to Love You Baby’ and 2 Live Crew hollered ‘We Want Some Pussy’ in 1986. The difference now? Despite the trashy talk, there’s a real sense of fun under the filth.”
Huh? There was no real sense of fun to Donna Summer’s singles? Are oppression and sexual assault the dominant subtexts of “Love to Love You Baby” or “I Feel Love”? Your correspondent (a big fan of Blowfly and DJ Assault) understands that timid bloggy types might be embarrassed by the frankly unsubtle and unenlightened likes of the Crew’s “Fuck Shop,” but to suggest that, prior to this moment in music history, sexually explicit music was never truly fun is absurd. Your correspondent is depressed that he must explain to anyone other than megachurch-attending “worship music” devotees or womyn’s music partisans that fuck-talk in music has been fun for pretty much ever. (Very strange that no mention is made of Peaches, either.)
The display text for the same article states that “cultural watchdogs” are trying “to clean up hip-hop.” And, in an otherwise spot-on interview with 50 Cent, music editor Charles Aaron asks 50 about the “post-Don Imus, anti-rap environment.” Again, as YC pointed out last week, we see how a two-month lead time inspires an assumption that an Al Sharpton/Russell Simmons alliance to clamp down on hip-hop tropes will be anything other than a distant memory.
Finally, YC salutes Patton Oswalt, a comedian of whom YC is only dimly aware, for his back page “Hidden Track” essay on the video invective of the demented Reverend Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. You’ve heard of them: the Church protests soldier funerals and virtually every public event under the sun due to the U.S.’s tolerance of homosexuality. Oswalt posits that Phelps and his minions are punker than any punk ever in the history of everything, which is more or less true. Y’all may have trouble locating the Church’s truly surreal South Park-like cartoons in which they condemn everyone who might not subscribe to the idea that “God Hates Fags,” as YouTube ain’t much into hate speech, but just check this out and marvel at the history of this absolutely batshit dude.