In the process of writing last week's column about hidden Satanic messages in pop music, I listened to a bunch of shit backward and discovered that the track "Poker Face" by LADY GAGA is much, much better that way. Run the MP3 through your favorite ill-gotten audio software and find out for yourself — it's a huge pile of crap right-way-round, but backward it's single of the year.

No! I take it back! The best single of the year is "Aye" by DIO — not Ronnie James, mind you, but a rapper from the Netherlands who somehow humiliated all our domestic rap efforts with some kind of high-powered foreign dopeness. It's totally in Dutch, so no flipping is required because it already sounds as if he were rapping backward. Look it up on YouTube — it is an object of immense bossitude, and what was the last time I told you anything was good? Oh, yeah, the Lady Gaga thing.

YOKO ONO, rekindling a late-'60s stunt she pulled with John, is mailing acorns to a bunch of world leaders in hopes that they'll ponder world peace. "Oh yeah, world peace," they'll say. "It slipped my mind until I saw this acorn."

As I feared, it's official: CREED are back for a new album and a summer tour of, in Billboard's words, "a combination of arenas and amphitheaters." (Hey, variety is the spice of life.) Anywho, in a major music-journalism coup, I've got the very first advance review of the new, still-unrecorded Creed comeback album: it's just entirely goddamned terrible.

Yeah, that's right, I took a shot at Creed. I hold nothing sacred.

CAT STEVENS is, it's reported, peeved — though not yet to the point of litigation — by the notion that Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" rips off his "Foreigner Suite." You may recall that Coldplay are being sued by Joe Satriani, who claims that the very same track infringes on one of his songs. One lawsuit could be a fluke, but two for the same song? That can't be a coincidence. I'm now convinced that Coldplay deliberately endeavored to combine the commercial power of Cat Stevens and Joe Satriani into an unstoppable platinum juggernaut.

For the record, I checked out the Cat Stevens track, and it indeed sounds as much like "Viva La Vida" as every other song does.

Billboard headline: "SNOOP DOGG Testifies In Civil Beating Trial." If I ever undergo a beating, and Lord knows I'm overdue, I sure hope it's a civil one. "Please try to relax, David. May we take your coat?"

Looks like NAS and KELIS have filed for divorce. I'll go ahead and call Nas the winner here, since he has a giant tattoo of naked Kelis on his arm, and that means he gets to embarrass her with it forever and survey the goods whenever he wants. The couple have a baby due in a few months, unless they decide to cancel it to avoid the awkwardness or whatever.

I'm experiencing an unusually high volume of WILCO news lately. Did I leave NPR on?

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