Lists for this. Lists for that. We here at the Houston Press are sick 'n' tired o' lists. So what we decided to do for our millennium-ending issue is dial up Dionne Warwick's psychic hot line and look 20-plus years into music future. Here's what we heard...
Madonna -- Her writing career flourishes well until the 21st century, but all comes to a halt in 2025 when, during a press junket for her latest book, The Silk Succubus, she has a nervous breakdown. A reporter, still puzzled by her use of a proper British accent, had asked the Material Girl: "You do know you're from Michigan, right?" Since then, fans have been holding candlelight vigils outside her Upper East Side apartment. Elton John entertains the crowd on weekends by playing "Candle in the Wind," "Thriller," "Everybody (Backstreet's Back, All Right)" and other favorites on the portable Casio keyboard implanted under the skin of his left arm.
Marilyn Manson -- After someone in Marilyn's backup band comes forth to claim it was he -- not Marilyn -- who actually faked oral sex and burned a Bible on stage, Marilyn retreats to his father's upstate Ohio mansion under a barrage of public backlash. With money from his tell-all autobiography, I'm No Milli Vanilli, Marilyn invests in a hip, all-synthetic frozen cottage cheese manufacturing company called White Trash. (Popular flavors include Propane Peach, Marlboro Cream, Leftover Lemon Meringue, Twice-Chewed Chocolate Chip, Confederate Confection and Vanilla Ice.) The company sells itself as Marilyn's brainchild and tries to place Marilyn's mug on the front of its tubs. The move backfires when shoppers mistake a makeup-less Marilyn for Alanis Morissette and quickly opt for other brands.
Puff Daddy/Biggie Smalls -- Though dead for nearly 30 years now, Biggie's still churning out the hits. Puff Daddy, Biggie's main man in life, has now set the phone messages of Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. Biggie Smalls) to tracks by Landz End. (Not to be confused with Timbaland.) One of the biggest hits from the record, titled I Ain't Through Missin' You Yet, is "Whasup, Ma?" which features special guest appearances by Jay-Z, Rakim, Lil' Kim, Lil' Troy, Lil' Keke, Lil' Flip, Lil' Abner, Lil' Richard, Lil' Rock, Lil' Shania and essentially everybody else on Puff Daddy's label. The song goes: "Whasup, Whasup, ma? / 'Christopher! Hi, honey!' / How you doin'? / 'Good, son. Good.' / What's goin' on? / 'Nothing. Just watching Jeopardy, cleaning.' / Cool. / 'How's my baby boy?' / Tight, tight. / 'You know it's Regina's birthday next week.' / Ma! ... / 'Well, you haven't talked to her in a while.' / I ... / 'It would be nice if you gave her a call, Christopher.'" Never has Biggie's flow been smoother. The album cover art is a shot of Biggie digging for a quarter at a 7-Eleven pay phone in Newark.
Rage Against the Machine -- Zack de la Rocha has had it with his latest band, Don't Take Shit from The Man, and wants to spend his time painting protest banners for outcast high school students. Rage Against the Machine, the act that propelled de la Rocha to stardom, has been a nonentity since 2002, when de la Rocha left to march with the Service Worker's Union Local 436 in front of Alfredo's Pizza in Brooklyn. It was there that de la Rocha tore his vocal cords leading protest chants such as "Whadda we want? Contracts. When do want 'em? Now," "Hey, Hey, All Right, Alfredo Ain't Got the Right" and "Sheeba, Angowwa, Four-three-six Got Powah."
Britney Spears -- Like all female pop icons before her, Britney enters that phase of life when the thundering of her biological clock just can't be silenced. She needs a baby. "That's what all women, like, that's what they all secretly want," will say Spears to Pop Them Gals, an upstart glossy about women pop stars between the ages of 12 and 120 edited by David Grohl. As Britney considers a father, major R&B groups release "Pick Me, Britney" songs. "Let me rub you down and kiss you up / Then poureth nectar in your cup / Till it runneth over / Bend over / Ain't got no time for playin' fetch with Rover," goes one song, "Um Your Lovah Man, Britney," by Illest Singaz, a group made up of five nine-year-old boys from Columbus, Ohio, who are the latest playthings from Maurice Starr. Britney -- contrary to popular suggestion -- finally chooses Takizawa Hsianghsiong, an accounts payable clerk from Syracuse, New York. Britney will tell Pop Them Gals: "Taki can feng shui like a mother."
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Rolling Stone -- With its past as a seriously self-indulgent blather-rag behind it, Rolling Stone, under the editorship of the corporate board of Pottery Barn, finally finds its niche audience, a hot, new core readership on the publishing landscape: lactose-intolerant house pets. All advertising and content is geared toward this lucrative demographic, which in recent years has accumulated more wealth via charitable donations and loving families than homeless people, pregnant teens, high school dropouts and all other uninteresting humans combined. Some special recent cover artists have been Snoop Dogg on "Ebonic Commands," Cat Stevens on "Feline-Gut Guitar Strings," Three Dog Night on "Howling in Harmony," and Courtney Love on "Proper Techniques for Marking Your Territory."
Whitney Houston -- Although the superstar singer releases several successful albums, many people are still concerned over her disturbingly loyal marriage to world-famous has-been and all-around thug Bobby Brown. It got to the point when close friend Terry McMillan wrote a book in 2009 titled Whitney, Please Leave Bobby. What Are You, Nuts? Public concern reaches an apex during a press conference when, after insisting there is nothing wrong in her marriage, Houston passes out at the podium. She is rushed to the hospital, where doctors discover a size 13 sneaker lodged up her ass. An embarrassed Houston replies: "Those darn kids."
Alanis Morissette -- Things haven't been so good for the Canadian balladeer. After writing the song "I Hate Men (Really)" in rebuttal to all the pro-feminist backlash stemming from some of her previous records such as I'm Available, Boys!, 1-900-RICHWHITEGAL and Where's the Beef?!, Alanis becomes persona non grata in the recording and television industries. She is not allowed to perform as "Alanis Morissette" anywhere in the world. This dictum comes down from the The Big One record label, Universony Bros., which is still run -- curiously enough -- by 120-year-old white men, none of whom are very fond of being trashed by some whiny Canadian broad who has never even worn a pair of nylons or served a hot plate of mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and tender pork chops in her life. Alanis gets around the ruling by sporting a fluffy white mascot outfit, adopting the persona of "Hefty, The Treat-Your-Canadian-Fairly Yeti" and performing on public access stations and street corners worldwide. She's the No. 1 street artist for the year 2020, according to Billboard's Top 100 Street Performers chart.
Master P -- The first quarter of the new century has had its highs and lows for the Louisiana rap king. By the end of 2007, his No Limit empire was worth around $20 billion. But controversy soon spread when it was revealed that many of the albums P released contained no actual musical content. Master P decided to quit the rap game and join forces with an even more powerful gangsta: Bill Gates. In 2010, P was named co-chairman of Microsoft and oversaw the company's packaging and programming of Windows software. But controversy struck again when it was revealed that the software contained no upgrades. P, however, didn't resign. It was learned, upon further investigation, that Windows software hadn't been upgraded for the past 20 years. Fortunately Gates gave everyone in the world $1,000 to forget about it, and everything went back to normal.