The Number Ones: Crazy Town’s “Butterfly”

A delicious deep dive into a rap-rock anthem by a one-hit wonder:

“Butterfly” is the band’s only song that ever appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 in any capacity. But “Butterfly” also represents a kind of culmination. “Butterfly” is the only song that ever came out of the late-’90s rap-rock wave and topped the Hot 100. The biggest bands from that genre sold millions of records and packed arenas for years, but none of them — not Korn, not Limp Bizkit, not Kid Rock, not Papa Roach, not even Linkin Park — ever made it to #1. During that same era, the Creed-style post-grunge yarlers did a lot better on the pop charts. Rap-rock seemed to dominate the universe for three or four years, but as far as the Hot 100 is concerned, “Butterfly” is the only hit of its kind. It flutters alone.

Rap-rock was inevitable. By the late ’80s, plenty of rock bands had noticed that they were no longer the coolest or most revolutionary musicians on the scene. They had been usurped; rappers were the new cultural leaders. The two genres didn’t exist in isolation; they’d been in conversation ever since rap first arrived in popular consciouness. Kurtis Blow had a Bachman-Turner Overdrive cover on his first album, and the Clash imitated Grandmaster Flash’s Furious Five on “The Magnificent Seven” and then booked the actual Furious Five to open for them in New York. (The rappers got booed offstage.) The Beastie Boys were a punk band that improbably became the biggest rap group in the world. As the ’80s went on, more and more rock bands made clumsily spirited attempts at something resembling rap: Anthrax on “I’m The Man,” Faith No More on “We Care A Lot,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers on a whole lot of bullshit.
Source: Stereogum
Published: Sep 14, 2022
Length: 12 minutes (3,036 words)

Giant Size

What are your career options when you are seven feet tall? A tall writer meets a tall wrestler:

“Paul Wight, bless him, seems to think of his massive size as a gift from God, not a devil’s bargain. There was a moment earlier this year when Wight was rumored to be fighting Shaq at this year’s Wrestlemania. If that had happened, it would’ve been the collision of the two most genially cartoonish giants in sports, the two guys who come off most like enormous eight-year-olds. I wanted to talk to Wight for this piece because, among the giants I’ve seen on TV, he seems the least tortured by his height. After all, he’s voluntarily spent the last 17 years in a grandly ridiculous, mortally dangerous line of work — strapping on his comic-book caveman singlet and pretending to fight hulking musclemen across the globe, risking crippling injury every time he lets one of them lift him.

“There are plenty of reasons why I could never do what Wight does. Even though we’re nearly the same height, he weighs more than two of me. And the two afternoons I spent in a pro-wrestling training ring a decade ago taught me how much it hurts to wake up the morning after you’ve been learning to theatrically flop on canvas. But mostly, I’ve never been able to imagine performing my height. I’ve gotten used to people staring at me, but I’ve never learned to like it. I played basketball in high school, but I sucked at it, and hated sucking at it. I never bothered to learn how to play the game effectively beyond the obvious lumbering rebounds and shot-blocks. I fouled out of games on purpose if I was in a bad mood. I told myself that I wanted to do something with my brain and not my body, like that was even my choice to make, or like there was any real divide. So now I’m a writer, and I spend entire days living in my own house, only leaving to take my dog on walks or to take my kid to the park. Truthfully, I was too lazy and too self-conscious to ever do jack shit athletically. I’m a writer because it’s what I’ve always wanted to be, but god knows my height probably had something to do with that desire. Pro wrestling is pretty much the opposite of anything I could ever do. I am not like Paul Wight.”

Source: The Classical
Published: Aug 13, 2012
Length: 10 minutes (2,582 words)