Top Ten Stylus Editorial Gems
llow us to get meta for a moment: When Stylus was conceived in 2001, we knew that every so often we might publish something that we weren’t 100% happy with. Fortunately, with the power of daily updates, we push these things off the front page quickly and quietly, hoping that the reader may never have reason to visit them again. As time goes by, that initial shame matures into something approaching bemusement, allowing us to begin to laugh at our foibles. So, in the grand spirit of openness and self-effacement, what follows are some of Stylus’ greatest misses: a series of editorial gems to be remembered.
Yoko Ono: A Biography of Musical Dezzz…
During my final year of college, I began to convince my professors that writing about music for class would somehow be appropriate and stimulating. This dry piece of quasi-scholarship is only one of the items that made up on the site during this time period.
Choice Cut: “This situationist inspired piece of art is unlike the pieces that she has done throughout her life. However, as her career in the art world has shown, Ono has never been one to conform to expectations.”
Top Ten Underrated Tecmo Super Bowl Players
Although I stand 100% behind the content of his piece, I can’t quite remember why it seemed so important at the time to offer a riposte to Ryan Hamilton’s incisive Top Ten Tecmo Super Bowl Players Staff Top 10 at the time.
Choice Cut: “1. Lonnie Young: He was the fastest DB in the game—and the only bright spot on the Cardinals defense.”
On Second Thought: The Doors: Waiting for the Sun
In which I relate the most soul-crushing romantic story of my life. I’m still not sure why I didn’t use a pen name for this one, actually.
Choice Cut: Too many to mention.
Label Profile: Universal Music Group
Actually, despite the fact that Clay foams at the mouth for 500 words here, this one holds up pretty well.
Choice Cut: “[Universal is] the bouncing, gurgling bastard result of the 1998 marriage between Seagram’s and Philips, two companies that know a thing or two about good light bulbs. I mean wine coolers. I mean music. Yeah. Music.”
Interview: Calvin Johnson
Stylus co-founder Adam Blackbourn finds out the perils of interviewing cranky label heads the hard way in this, the first interview Stylus ever conducted.
When K gets involved with something like that, what does K take care of? What does K do?
Calvin Johnson: Well, we try to make the records and sell them.
In 2002 when the site had begun to branch out into feature writing more often, we brainstormed the idea for Pop Playground, in which Scott Plagenhoef (current Pitchfork editor), Gavin Mueller (current graduate student), and I would pontificate on pop trends and music culture each week. Needless to say, when it came to be my turn in the rotation, I resorted to making up genre names and dubious rationales for why “Dirrty” was the best single of the year.
Choice Cut: “While it isn’t a completely Authentic mode of operation (both Lavigne and Carlton have had arrangement help on their hit singles), it’s coming closer—and more importantly, it talks about pining for boys instead of dancing up on them (hence shemo).” There is so much wrong with the previous sentence, it makes my head hurt.
Dirrty: The Best Single of 2005
Dirrty: Not The Best Single of 2005
Choice Cut: “If “Slave 4 U” was a Pearl Harbor-esque surprise of emergent sexuality from the unexpectantly grown up teen songstresses, surely “Dirrty” is Hiroshima…”
Roxanne Blanford was an extremely nice woman that began to write for the site when it was still in its infancy, but just didn’t quite fit our particular aesthetic. The key example? This A- review of Lifehouse’s Stanley Climbfall.
Choice Cut: “When did it become a crime to write catchy, passionate songs? What’s wrong with infusing music with fat power chords, thick rhythms and robust textures? Why is it condemnable to craft songs with harmonies and choruses so finely constructed they immediately bring to mind some of modern rock’s best and brightest talents?”
Under the Covers: Britney Spears
Another of those high-minded cultural studies moments that makes me cringe, this piece on Britney Spears’ album covers was the reason that we started the Under the Covers column in the first place. Now you know why we don’t run it any longer.
Choice Cut: “Unlike major moves in the careers of contemporaries such as P!nk, Xtina, Jessica Simpson, or Mandy Moore, this is a consolidation rather than a transformation.”
Stylus Greatest Misses
Wherein Stylus admits where we got it all wrong. We never get it wrong. What were we thinking?