Music » Culture Jamming

The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe.


CD -- Depeche Mode reissues: Three albums by the goth-rock gods get super-sized in remastered, two-disc packages. The band's 1981 debut, Speak & Spell, still sounds creaky, but by 1987's Music for the Masses and 1990's mainstream breakthrough, Violator, the gloomy synth-lovers had perfected their brand of Prozac pop. There's enough bonus material -- B-sides, remixes, and videos -- to ensure that you won't enjoy the silence.

CD -- Black Holes and Revelations: The latest album of Brit rock from Muse should sate Radiohead fans who think Thom Yorke's solo record needs more guitars. The band still cops a big chunk of its sound from OK Computer, but its fourth album even gets ambitious, taking a trip to outer space and back. There's some sort of theme about the cosmos and isolation. We're just glad Muse packed its Abba and Queen records.

BOOK -- Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture: John Strausbaugh's fascinating study of race and its effects on pop culture includes appearances by everyone from Aunt Jemima to Eminem. Along the way, it looks at icons -- both black and white -- that have shaped our perception of African American performance over the past century. The author ultimately concludes that the line between Buckwheat and Dave Chappelle is a thin one.

TV -- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Our favorite animated series that's not The Simpsons includes references that range from The Big Lebowski to Requiem for a Dream. Cartoon Network wraps up a month of brand-new episodes (at 7 p.m. Wednesday) with "The Big Cheese," starring a lactose-intolerant . . . we're not sure what it is, but it looks an awful lot like that Sum 41 guy who married Avril Lavigne.

DVD -- 1000 Years of Popular Music: At the end of the '90s, Playboy asked some of its favorite musicians to rank the best songs of the past millennium. Folk-rock legend and guitar hero Richard Thompson submitted a list that included songs from the 11th century. When Playboy rejected his list, Thompson hit the road with a pair of pals for a series of concerts that attempted to recap 10 centuries' worth of music. This funny and enchanting live disc includes everything from the traditional "Sumer Is Icumen In" to Britney's "Oops! . . . I Did It Again."

BOOK -- What Celebrities Collect: Do you roll your eyes every time you walk past the still-sealed Boba Fett action figure your husband keeps on the living-room shelf? Wait till you check out this book that reveals what celebs waste money on. We all know about Angelina Jolie's knife collection. And it's really no surprise that Elvira likes goth stuff. But we were shocked and a little saddened to find out that The Incredible Hulk's Lou Ferrigno collects Beanie Babies. You don't want to see him get angry about being outbid for Motomachi the Bear, a Japan exclusive.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Rude Boy: Except for extended scenes in which the Clash performs, this 1980 movie (released for the first time on DVD) is a time-sucking drag. Ostensibly a character study of a surly punk who lands a job as a roadie for the world's greatest band, the fantastic live footage can't save the dull story -- shot in a fake-documentary style -- in which plot seems to have been an unfortunate afterthought. The "Rock the Casbah" video has more depth.

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