You’ll have to do: Psychedelic Furs


I mistrust anyone who doesn’t love Talk Talk Talk.

1. Pretty in Pink
2. She’s Mine
3. Into You Like a Train
5. We Love You
6. Forever Now
7. President Gas
8. The Ghost in You
9. Imitation of Christ
10. All That Money Wants
11. Dumb Waiters
12. Love My Way
13. Sleep Comes Down
14. Heartbeat (12″ Extended Remix)
15. Pulse
16. Housee
17. Flowers
18. Danger
19. Run and Run
20. Here Comes Cowboys
21. Until She Comes
22. Sister Europe
23. Mr. Jones
24. I Wanna Sleep With You
25. Shock

Singles 10/21



– “Cranes in the Sky” is our highest rated single of 2016 and highest rated Solange single to date, scoring a full decimal point better than 2012’s “Losing You.”

– Two aging pretty boys and one decent boy distinguished Friday. It’s possible that I underrated Niall’s single because it went in — wait for it — one direction.

Click on links for full reviews

Solange – Cranes in the Sky (8)
Kim Gordon – Murdered Out (7)
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker (6)
Years & Years – Meteorite (6)
Ricky Martin ft. Maluma – Vente Pa’ Ca (6)
Emeli Sandé – Hurts (6)
Bruno Mars – 24K Magic (5)
Ward Thomas – Guilty Flowers (5)
Valesca Popozuda – Boy Magia (5)
Niall Horan – This Town (4)
LP – Lost on You (4)
Mickey Guyton – Heartbreak Song (4)
Lindsey Stirling ft. Rivers Cuomo & Lecrae – Don’t Let This Feeling Fade (4)
Robbie Williams – Party Like a Russian (3)
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – I Need You (2)

A doorway to a thousand churches: The best of Peter Gabriel

People aren’t born with good taste; it’s a phenomenon you edge into if you’re lucky. Plenty of kids grew up with KISS and Save Ferris records. Peter Gabriel was my first Serious Crush, and with all due respect to Gene, Paul, Ace, and Peter, I still love the old frog. In the summer of my sophomore year in high school, which coincided with one of those century-long breaks between albums that older Gabriel fans had learned to expect, I checked what was then called Security out of the public library. Tribal drums. Oblique references to Jung. A song called “San Jacinto” boasting i in its last forty-five seconds the creepiest Fairlight sample — some kind of manipulated basso whistle — in recorded music (fans know the one I mean). A song about shocking the monkey that might’ve been about shocking the monkey whose video creeped the fuck out of me as much as the Fairlight sample in “San Jacinto.”

As correctly as carpers have dismissed the eighties as a time of rapine and greed, it was also a period when musicians enjoyed the largess of label recording budgets; if you were a Peter Gabriel, this meant a last shot attempt to exploit growing stardom to make an album that honored his influences. So was a perfect gateway. Fairlights, sure. Also: hi-hats, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, Youssou N’Dour, the poetry of Anne Sexton. In “Sledgehammer” Gabriel wrote and sang the only convincing Otis Redding homage by an English public school graduate. With “In Your Eyes” he created John Cusack and Ione Skye for the purpose of watching them fall in love to a song about the kind of desire from which doorways to a thousand churches, light, and heat spring. In some ways “In Your Eyes” is one of the subtlest of Bowie tributes. Think about it: the church of man-love is such a holy place to be.

Three years passed before he released a lumbering, sincere record About Relationships. Anticipation led to a high chart placement for US — it’s hart to remember that Peter Gabriel was a genuine star in 1992 — before the mass audience he’d gained in 1986 realized “Steam” wasn’t another “Sledgehammer,” although, boy, did it try. As my interest in most of his records waned, I still listened to Passion. This ostensible soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ celebrates relationships too: Gabriel’s to music from many lands. Unlike his forebears he respects distance; he’s an art school rocker who used to dress as a flower, after all. Turns out this distance gives him the proper respect for the sounds of Zaire, Sudan, Morocco, and Ethiopia. Passion contains the most committed music of Gabriel’s career. Even when the arrangements get bombastic, he’s generous enough to allow the players to do it on their own terms. Often the synthesis of Gabriel’s keyboard and percussion effects and these native players is breathtaking. Check it out.

1. Shock the Monkey
2. Mercy Street
3. Solsbury Hill
4. Here Comes the Flood
5. A Different Drum
6. No Self-Control
7. Not One of Us
8. Red Rain
9. I Don’t Remember
10. Zaar
11. Sledgehammer
12. Games Without Frontiers
13. Don’t Give Up
14. Washing of the Water
15. Of These, Hope
16. Blood of Eden
17. In Your Eyes
18. San Jacinto
19. Walk Through the Wire
20. This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
21. D.I.Y.
22. Digging in the Dirt
23. Moribund the Burgermeister
24. Wall of Breath
25. I Have the Touch

‘I can’t wait for this election to be over’


A busy day in Sotoland, not least because I delayed last night’s slumber to watch a bit of the Al Smith dinner, one of those institutions beloved by giggling plutocrats and clerics whose chasubles swell with the effort to keep the corruption from bursting. The reports you’ve read are correct: after a couple of drinks Hillary Clinton loosens up enough to tell jokes and get a chuckle or two; Donald J .Trump was a vulgar, stupid asshole. The estimable Charles Pierce wrote the most succinct summary:

The Trump campaign these days has all the inherent charm and optimism of a bankruptcy clearance sale. Off the media room at the debate on Wednesday night, the Trump children were romanced in the half-light by Sean Hannity while, over behind a partition, Sarah Palin entertained film crews of foreign lands. Les Americains, zey are so, how you say, tres amusantes. She stuck up for Trump’s announced plan to monkeywrench the election results. “Why wouldn’t-cha?” was clearly audible over the cacophony of questions asked in broken English and answered in obliterated English.

Three times elected governor of New York, Al Smith was a mighty figure during the Democrats’ post-Wilson and pre-FDR exile in the wilderness: a Catholic who opposed Prohibition, or, to use the era’s parlance, a wet Romanist, thus dooming his election chances against Herbert Hoover in the decade’s third consecutive electoral landslide loss. The success of Roosevelt in 1932 so embittered him that he became a charter member of the sad little organization called the American Liberty League, a forerunner of the Democrats who went Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s. He needs a new comprehensive biography. Maybe I’ll write one to entertain myself between now and November 8.

Turn to erosion: Best of David Bowie

1. Queen Bitch
2. Sound and Vision
3. Moonage Daydream
4. Stay
5. Station to Station
6. Panic in Detroit
7. Always Crashing in the Same Car
8. Fascination
9. Joe the Lion
10. Move On
11. Cracked Actor
12. Oh! You Pretty Things
13. Beauty and the Beast
14. Sweet Thing/Candidate
15. Young Americans
16. Art Decade
17. Jump They Say
18. Quicksand
19. Speed of Life
20. Modern Love
21. Yassassin
22. Five Years
23. Aladdin Sane
24. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
25. Weeping Wall
26. Win
27. Rock and Roll Star
28. Lazarus
29. Ashes to Ashes
30. Strangers When We Meet
31. Fantastic Voyage
32. A New Career in a New Town
33. Up the Hill Backwards
35. I’m Deranged
37. Boys Keep Swinging
38. Can You Hear Me Now?
39. The Stare (Are Out Tonight)
40. Life on Mars?
41. I Can’t Give Everything Away
42. You’ve Been Around
43. Look Back in Anger
44. The Width of a Circle
45. 1984

Best of 1973 and 1974


The New Land (Jan Troell)
The Long Goodbye (Robert Altman)
Badlands (Terrence Malick)
The Last Detail (Hal Ashby)
Sleeper (Woody Allen)
The Spirit of the Beehive (Víctor Erica)
Amarcord (Federico Fellini)
Blume in Love (Paul Mazursky)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Peter Yates)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (Sam Peckinpah)


Thieves Like Us (Robert Altman)
Ali–Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Xala (Ousmane Sembène)
The Godfather, Part II (Francis Ford Coppola)
Harry and Tonto (Paul Mazursky)
Chinatown (Roman Polanski)
Lacombe, Lucien (Louis Malle)
Hearts and Minds (Peter Davis)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah)
Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks)

I’m out of Aperol: Clinton-Trump #3

Chris Wallace, once an aggressive reporter during the Reagan era but reluctant to question Beltway assumptions, surely contributed to making “The National Debt” a debate topic. In October 2016. The debt. We worry about an irrelevance that keeps political reporters in night sweats.

Who besides a blog-crazed lackey like yours truly will (a) watch this debate and (b) change his or her mind after watching this debate can fit in a French coffee press? I do this because I want to record the moment when Hillary Clinton refused to wrap a noose around Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the GOP satraps who insist on treating Donald J. Trump as a nightmare forgotten after a run on the treadmill.

10:42. I suspect no one who isn’t of color will care about Trump’s most horrifying statement: “Our inner cities are a disaster. You get shot walking to the store. They have no education. They have no jobs. I’ll do more for African-Americans and Latinos that she can do for a lifetime.”

10:30. I love how Beltway types like Wallace chortle about how “entitlement programs” comprise 60 percent of GDP because they know they’ll never use it.

10:27. His answer on the national debt — negotiating percentages — is how a ninth grader would respond when called up on by a teacher who though he was asleep.

10:25. “Clinton sucks because Assad allies with Putin, therefore Putin is smart.” Trump’s gem-like distillation of Middle Eastern geopolitics.


10:21. “Thanks a lot, Hillary!” Trump’s concession.

10:20. “Bundles of cash as big as this stage!” — and you still can’t win an Emmy.


10:18. First Bernie Sanders reference.

10:15. Her answer is open-ended enough, if I’m kind; she wants rhetorical room to call for more troops into Iraq if necessary next year. A genuine opponent would have pinned her down.

10:14: Trump’s right: George Marshall and Douglas MaCarthur will spin in the grave at the stupidity in our country — including the putative commander in chief.

10:11. Chris Wallace, underwear moist with sweat, switches with relief to “foreign policy.”

10:08. Trump’s right: he should’ve gotten that Emmy.

10:07. “Will you accept the results of the election?” Trump: “I’ll take a look at it.”

10:05. Trump: “George Soros. GEORGE SOROS.” He repeated as if proud to repeat a Breitbart quote. His platform consists of gossip, rumor, and innuendo from World Net Daily.

10:02. Trump’s claim about the Clinton Foundation’s building of shoddy housing has become a bugaboo in certain quarters in the left press. It deserves a better spokesman.

10:01. Why can’t she just rebut the chargers? “These people wanted to see me. I didn’t see them. Lobbyists want to see important people all the time.”

9:57. Trump (paraphrase): “I love women, I think they’re great. Let’s talk about her destroyed emails.”

9:53. I expected James O’Keefe’s tape to come out. What matters is CHICAGO. Or: “”I didn’t even apologize to my wife, because I did nothing wrong” so “let’s talk about Obama and Chicago.”

9:53. “Our next segment is fitness to be president of the United States.”

9:49. What the fuck is he talking about “stolen State Department money”?

9:47. A policy difference — to be kind to Trump’s mutterings about the economy — turns into a referendum on how fact checkers fucked Trump over.

9:44 Face set, Clinton mourns how demoralized the Bush administration looked in 2008 when the world economy collapsed. A play for errant Republicans.

9:42. Clinton: she has “costed out” the debt — ugh. Speak English, girl.

9:40. Trump will treat allies as if he were a slum lord.

9:35. Did Trump just deny that a president can start a nuclear war in four minutes?

9:35. First appearance of Trumpian “WRONG.”

9:31. “This person” — Trump referring to Clinton.

9:30. Trump jumps from open borders to “radical Islam.”

9:30. Pivoting away from Wikileaks revelations about Clitnon’s paid speech in Brazil, Clinton condemns Russia’s “espionage” against the United States.

9:29. From Andrew Sullivan’s own liveblog: Frank Luntz


Trump saying he will appoint SCOTUS justices to overturn Roe v. Wade caused his numbers with independents to tank.

9:28. Second appearance of “bigly.”

9:27. First appearance of “bigly.”

9:26. “I want to get everyone out of the shadows.”

9:23. A ban, please, by the debate committee on any candidate — Barack Obama and Donald Trump — lapsing into the vernacular. In Obama’s case, it’s “folks”; in Trump’s it’s “bad hombres.”

9:16. It’s difficult writing Clinton’s campaign boilerplate when her opponent says an abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy involves “rip[ping] the baby out of the womb of the mother.”

9:14. “I lived in Arkansas. People do dumb shit with guns.”

9:13. How the hell did Trump know Clinton was “extremely upset” about the 2008 Heller decision?

9:10. First “Chicago” reference #dogwhistle

9:08. When Trump is asked about the Court, he prefers to discuss Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s dumb remarks about Colin Kaepernick’s right to knee during football games. But his justices will be “pro life” and “pro Second Amendment.”

9:06. Clinton on Supreme Court: Don’t “reverse marriage equality or Roe v. Wade” and “stand up” against Citizens United decision.

9:03. “No cheers or boos,” Wallace intones while crickets? locusts? chirp

9:01. Rachel Maddow and Nicole Wallace of MSNBC affirm Wallace’s Very Serious FOX News Division credentials.

8:58 p.m. Chris Wallace in his grim round spectacles reminds the audience, like my ninth grade ninth grade counselor, not to holler because “one of these people will be the next president of the United States.”

Perlstein: How a Trump loss might ‘wipe the slate clean’ for conservatism


Rick Perlstein, premier analyst of the conservative movement since 1960, explains how Donald Trump is Culmination and Aberration:

Isaac Chotiner: Ideologically and strategically, how do you think Trump’s loss will be understood among Republicans?

Perlstein: I’m kind of famous for coming up with a little epigram, “Conservatism never fails. It is only failed.” I came up with this during my long experience of studying the right, and realizing that basically anything that is politically successful is kind of labeled conservatism. Any failure is wiped off the books in this bad faith utterance that well, of course it failed because it wasn’t conservative. Romney wasn’t conservative enough. McCain wasn’t conservative enough. “Bush wasn’t conservative,” you began to hear in 2004, when the wheels came off the bus with Iraq, and all the rest.

That’s what we’ll hear, “Of course, Trump lost. He wasn’t conservative.” That allows everyone else in the Republican Party, basically, to push the infamous reset button. I think a lot of what we saw in the last couple of weeks with Trump’s various former supporters jumping ship, ostensibly because of this grotesque tape and the rest, is all about setting up that next move in the chess game. Everyone who has paid any kind of attention knew that Trump was this kind of guy in the first place. I think what we’ll see is the Paul Ryans and the Ted Cruzes, jockeying for the position of King of Conservatism saying, “We need to wipe the slate clean and go back to Reagan.” The dilemma that raises is that Trump has raised energies in the Republican electorate that may not be able to be so easily contained.

But Perlstein is skeptical about Hillary Clinton’s “actically shrewd and strategically questionable” attempts to reduce Trump into an outlier. Should the Democrats get the Senate (possible) and the House (not likely), Perlstein says he’s optimistic about Clinton’s progressive agenda:

The other day I allowed myself the fantasy of what a Clinton presidency is going to look like, and of course the big tactical question for every new president is which of their bills they introduce first, because that’s the one they have the most political capital to get across. I was like, well, it could be her paid family leave bill, it could be her bill for free college for everyone making under $125,000 and the debt relief for everyone. It could be her new tax credits for the very poor, who Peter Edelman—who resigned from the first Clinton administration over welfare reform—has said is the best poverty program he’s seen in a long time. I was like, wow, there really isn’t anything on her plate that isn’t a pretty strong, progressive, populist intervention. I’m pretty certain that there’s very little room for her to abandon that. She’s laid down some pretty strong markers

This would mean, of course, progressives avoiding the slough of victory whereby the fight against Trump exhausts all concerned.

Tonight I will live blog the third and, thankfully, last presidential debate.

Everybody, get in line! The best of Talking Heads

It’s a testament to how well Talking Heads sold Robert Rauschenberg, two bassists, Fela Kuti, Jonathan Demme, big suits, loving the heartland, and condescending to the heartland that by the time I became a fan in the era of David Byrne’s Rei Momo and 1992’s double disc Sand in the Vaseline listeners treated them like split pea soup. The hip quotient? Enough to short a Commodore 64. R.E.M. got the top five hits and sold out stadiums; Talking Heads got Blockbuster rentals of Stop Making Sense. I overestimated Byrne’s Uh Oh because it’s all I had — the same way I would replay David Bowie’s Black Tie White Noise and Bryan Ferry’s Taxi a year later.

I can remember the moment when the Heads became hip again: at the dawn of 2002 when the DFA reminded listeners in frosted tips and baggy jeans that bands had fused rock and dance culture with more finesse than the Chemical Brothers. Singles like The Rapture’s “House of Jealous Lovers” started a conversation they couldn’t even finish, culminating in the eventual re-release of the essential and long out of print double live album The Name of This Band 2004. By then it was odd remembering that obits like this got published not long before; it was like the GOP in 1968 remembering the LBJ slaughter of Goldwaterism four years earlier.

Someone buying music during the Reagan era should explain what happened to the band after the release of Naked in late spring of 1988 — memories can’t wait! Triggering the requisite positive reviews and top twenty placement, it withered on the chart and in esteem as soon as MTV stopped playing “(Nothing But) Flowers.” Was it a case of loving one Graceland too many? Did True Stories and the TIME cover story create a collective sense of “enough already”? The fine but slight Little Creatures (the first Heads album I owned) topping Pazz and Jop? A phenomenon not often reckoned with: fans assumed the Heads sold more records than they did while retrospective analysis concludes that, keeping the fate of Husker Du and the Replacements in mind, the Heads were shipping platinum in 1985 and 1986. They were the biggest college act in America until That Athens Band with an even more gnomic lead singer was hungrier about filling stadiums.

Maybe that was it. Exhausted by touring, dominating Manhattan boho generalism such that even Pete Townshend felt suffocated in 1982, chattering loudly about band unity during promotion while their leader was ogling Twyla Tharp and Robert Wilson, the Heads basked in their rather huge cult and no more; they had gotten this huge white cult to dance in the aisles, what more could they want? No wonder that by 1992 fans were like Qu’est-ce que c’est?

No matter. The fusion of Fela and paranoia that produced Remain in Light; the syncopation of rhythm guitar and staccato vocals on those early recordings; their sheer appetite — Talking Heads survives in my canon for this and other things. And I’m relieved I wasn’t around at the time.

1. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
2. Thank You For Sending Me an Angel
3. Pulled Up
4. Mind
5. I’m Not in Love
6. Don’t Worry About the Government
7. The Book I Read
8. The Great Curve
9. Slippery People
10. Road to Nowhere
11. Making Flippy Floppy
12. Creatures of Love
13. Crosseyed and Painless
14. Burning Down the House
15. Paper
16. Psycho Killer
17. Memories Can’t Wait
18. Take Me to the River
19. Television Man
20. Artists Only
21. Found a Job
22. (Nothing But) Flowers
23. Lifetime Piling Up
24. Uh-Oh, Love Has Come to Town
25. And She Was
26. Wild Wild Life
27. The Girls Want to Be with the Girls
28. Heaven
29. Girlfriend is Better
30. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)

Best films of 1975 and 1976


Carrie (Brian De Palma)
Harlan County, USA (Barbara Kopple)
The Tenant (Roman Polanski)
Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May)
Next Stop, Greenwich Village (Paul Mazursky)
Chinese Roulette (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
News From Home (Chantal Akerman)
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese)
All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula)
1900 (Bernardo Bertolucci)


Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman)
The Story of Adele H (Francois Truffaut)
Fox and His Friends (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Love and Death (Woody Allen)
F is For Fake (Orson Welles)
Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick)
The Passenger (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Shampoo (Hal Ashby)
Mother Küsters’ Trip to Heaven (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Jaws (Steven Spielberg)

The continued underestimation of female voters


I’ve seen signs of this dissent in conservative Westchester, the “community” in which I live in unincorporated Miami-Dade County:

Lifelong Republican Linda Fogg pauses sometimes while explaining how she became a Hillary Clinton supporter.

A proud Texan and former docent at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Fogg has never voted for a Democrat for president. But there she was last week on the porch of a Panera Bread restaurant in one of Florida’s reddest communities sporting a “Republicans for Hillary” T-shirt — and inviting passers-by to join her club.

“I agonized literally for months,” Fogg said about her transition away from Trump and his “serious character flaws.” She considered supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson before finally settling on Clinton.

“I thought I would be voting for Johnson until I realized in a swing state, that vote would be wasted,” she said. “What I really needed to do to oppose Trump was to vote for Hillary Clinton.”Fogg and her small but growing band of disaffected Republicans is a potential sign of real trouble for the GOP nominee in the Sunshine State, where polls show Clinton with a narrow lead. Political handicappers say Trump must win Florida to claim victory on Nov. 8.

Digby made the point recently that all the talk about the ignored white working class assumes that women don’t comprise this pissed off faction. When male Trumpets (and to be fair Kellyanne Conway) dismiss Trump’s gross remarks as locker room talk, they alienate the constituency whom Trump needs to win a general election.

Boy, are they alienated. Harry Enten:

We haven’t seen anything like Clinton’s 20-point lead over Trump among women in decades. Women favored Bill Clinton by about 20 percentage points in 1996 (a landslide election), but the last time women favored either party’s nominee by more than 20 points was in 1972, when Republican Richard Nixon crushed Democrat George McGovern among both sexes. The only Democrat ever to win women by more than 20 points was Lyndon Johnson in 1964 — also in a blowout. Four years ago, President Obama carried women by only about 12 points. Even when he first won the White House, in 2008, by about double his 2012 margin, his margin among women was only 14 points. And yet, Trump is still carrying men. If the live-interview polls are on the mark, the difference between how men and women vote — the gender gap — in 2016 would be historic. Dating back to 1952, there has never been a 26-percentage-point gender gap.

Which is why I’m glad USA Today finally turns its attention to women – even if the tonal approach suggests an anthropologist stumbling upon a rare tribe.

Standing in place: Solange and Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers – American Band

Horrorstruck that the Southern rock opera they composed over a decade ago has taken the dimensions of farce without the tragedy, the quintet mix up the vocals and the bitterness, foregoing any interest in boogie, let alone opera. Every album since 2007’s career-capping Brighter Than Creation’s Dark has boasted songs as intelligent as any in popular music without the intensity that made fans want to listen to their lyrics, with 2014’s English Oceans the nadir (“Drive-By Truckers began as a great band that wrote good songs, and have turned into a good band that wants to write good songs,” I wrote at the time). If American Band is a slight improvement, credit the collective will of fans who want one of the most feral of bands to explain what the hell’s going on with the election. So “explain” is what Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley do, with rhythm guitar strumming (“Guns of Umpqua) and riffs decent enough to repeat (“Darkened Flags”); sometimes they couple concept and arrangement like they used to (the Zuma-copping “Filthy and Fried”). Helping matter is Hood, who writes songs as solid as Cooley’s for the first time in eight years. Southern in his carriage, Southern in his stance, he’s trying to refute demographics and forty years of cynical electoral calculations. A shame that the moment for a crossover has passed – if it were ever there.

Solange Knowles – A Seat at the Table

Two keepers: the quiet, pained “Cranes in the Sky,” maintaining its composure while the world collapses; and “Don’t Touch My Hair,” a manifesto I can endorse. On the rest Solange Knowles must summon cohesion from melodic vapors. Andre Benjamin helps (“Junie”); so does, of all people, Master P, on the interludes. Listeners who skip them will miss spoken word bits as stirring as the videos for Lemonade absent the robust musical armature.