Movin' On

Korn's guitarist moves to holier pastures, words fall into oblivion and B-Sides encourages Gwen and Madonna to grow up.

Prayer Chain

On February 22, founding Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch announced his departure from the band, claiming the group's music and lifestyle were crosswise with his recent rededication to Christianity. B-Sides recently uncovered a prayer journal that suggests moral objections weren't the only motive for Welch's exodus.

February 22, 2005: God, thank You for showing me that Korn was becoming even worse than when we started. The producers and co-writers for the next album are harboring the devil's spirit. I will continue to walk your path in the hope that it leads me to a decent Christian rock band to join.

February 24: I just spoke about my recent conversion at the Valley Bible Fellowship with about 10,000 in the congregation. Some hot little Korn groupies in the front row too. I could get to liking this Christianity business.

April 1: Still can't find a band. Even the nonmainstream Christian bands — 16 Horsepower, Pedro the Lion, Sufjan Stevens, the Danielson Familie — aren't returning my phone calls. I would say "screw them," but as a reformed Christian, I prefer to say "blight them."

June 23: Thank You for helping me get the orphanage in India started. God, please help me withstand the smell of those dirty leper kids. Or if that's too much, maybe help Kanye West understand how great a collaboration album we could make.

July 1: Another rejection letter. Even those has-beens in Petra say they don't need another guitarist. For crying out loud, God, can't You at least make Stryper give me a shot? I'm getting desperate here, sleeping in a Third World hut with a bunch of diseased orphans who've never even heard of Slayer.

December 7: I confess — I downloaded the new Korn album. I know stealing is a sin, but praise be to You, God, that I wasn't the last rat off that sinking ship. Bringing in the Matrix to co-write was even more unnecessary than the seventh string on my guitars. I mean, our old shit was pretty brainless, but at least it was sincere. Marilyn Manson could crap a better album than See You on the Other Side. And what idiot told Jonathan he could sing?

December 9: The guys in P.O.D. said they'd think about it. Thank You, Jesus! — Jesse Hughey

Syntax Error

Let us now discuss the labyrinthine, in-your-face, introspective, esoteric, head-bobbing, fist-pumping, booty-shaking, genre-defying mélange of the Rock Critic Cliché milieu. Like any other, this profession suffers from ridiculous, impenetrable jargon. I am certainly not immune to this disease, but perhaps I can diagnose specific viruses and prescribe medicine for lousy metaphors. (Gotta knock it off with the lousy metaphors too.)

As we behold 2005's shimmering, hypnotic, melodic close, I pledge to you: Every bolded word in this article, I will never use again after this week.

Angular: Frequently describes guitars that sound, well, pointy. Sharp, unpleasant, as opposed to "circular."

Coruscating: Really, really angular.

Listenable: "I didn't like it."

Unlistenable: "I didn't listen to it."

Seminal: "I sold it back for $5 without listening to it, but then everyone else wrote about it, so I had to buy it back for $12 and pretend I liked it."

Minimalist: Describes any song that does not employ a full string orchestra. "Hall & Oates' 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)' is a seminal, coruscating slab of minimalist pop."

Slab: Indeed.

Danceable: "I couldn't dance competently if my pants were on fire."

Radio-ready: "This is the only song I remember."

Anthemic: Really, really radio-ready.

Drops: (e.g., "Tone Loc's new album drops January 25") Knock it off, whitey.

Wheels of steel: (as opposed to "turntables") White, white, white.

Lush: Boring.

Soundscapes: Pretentious.

Swirling: Conjures lush soundscapes of boring pretentiousness.

Cinematic: What—like Meatballs?

Eclectic: "From polka to bluegrass to baile funk to death metal! It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!"

Wanton Hyphen Overuse: An ordinarily calm friend of mine flies into a rage whenever this technique is employed. He refers to it as "I-can't-think-of-what-to-write-so-it's-time-to-say-'fuck-it'-and-hyphenate-a-mess-of-words-that-might-come-close-to-an-accurate-description-of-something-that-I-might-be-able-to-work-out-myself-if-I-read-real-books-instead-of-Spin-while-I-go-poo-poo." He'll be fine, honest.

Wanton: Not yet. I still really like "wanton."

____ Yet ____: Increasingly common. Angry Hyphen Guy particularly chafes at the "Retro Yet Futuristic" tag: "What—like Barbarella?"

Wanton Capitalization Overuse: Such as, oh, say, Angry Hyphen Guy. I still love this one too. Let's save it for '06. — Rob Harvilla

Stop, Thief!

Nuh-uh, Gwen Stefani, that is not your shit. At least, according to Madonna, it isn't: The never-hard-up-for-material girl recently told USA Today that Gwen has ripped her off. "We work with a lot of the same people. She married a Brit, she's got blond hair, and she likes fashion," Madge remarked.

Since Madonna's always about two steps behind on the path to self-awareness, here's an addendum to her observation: Gwen is stealing from a thief. Madonna has built her career out of cultural mining, expressing herself via the sights and sounds of others.

Madonna and Gwen occasionally dine out on other cultures at the same table. What follows are a few examples of such intersections, as well as an evaluation of who wore it best.

Source material: High-school angst

Madonna's take: In her four-and-a-half-minute After School Special, 1986's "Papa Don't Preach," Madonna played a knocked-up teen with a conscience.

Gwen's take: "Hollaback Girl" found Gwen at her most appropriately annoying, playing a punk-ass teen ready to take down a shit-talker behind the bleachers.

It's a good look for: Gwen. Nurse-office drama is exciting for the nurses, while nothing tops a good catfight. In this case, half-Italians do it better.

Source material: Old Hollywood

Madonna's take: In 1990's gayer-than-gay "Vogue" (it was inspired by the drag balls of Paris Is Burning, for God's sake), Madonna pulled out a sixteen-bar rundown of those who helped Hollywood's golden age sparkle.

Gwen's take: A two-line cameo in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator found Gwen in the role of Harlow, Jean.

It's a good look for: Madonna. Her dramatic and precise phrasing bespoke an understanding of ways gone by. Meanwhile, Gwen gave good face. But that's it.

Source material: Disco

Madonna's take: Madonna's most recent stroll through the '70s finds her hustling like John Travolta on her ABBA-does-Italo, Stuart Price-produced current single, "Hung Up."

Gwen's take: The remix of her debut solo single "What You Waiting For?" is a throwback to the early-'80s hi-NRG that kept the spirit of disco alive when so many were convinced that it sucked. Price produced that one too.

It's a good look for: Gwen. Without even having to reduce herself to a camel-toe-prone leotard, Gwen fit right into the role of disco's bitch. — Rich Juzwiak