The news that Blockbuster Video is in serious trouble is no surprise. I last stepped foot in my neighborhood store in spring 2009 to rent “The Wire: Season Two” again; the store closed three months later.  Like most everyone else, the prospect of acquiring a foreign classic or just-released Otto Preminger film the next day… More Blockbusted

Singles Jukebox 8/26

As promised last week, the lowdown on Nick Cave: effective for a coupla Birthday Party numbers, otherwise a pompous bore who never got past thinking Poe and Flannery O’Connor are essential literature (for many non-Americans, Southern Gothic seems like such a peculiarity that it must be “quintessentially” American). Also, he’s too old to be this… More Singles Jukebox 8/26

Merle Haggard: A lot of pride in what he is

Since I’m not  schooled in Merle Haggard’s (vast)  catalog, I have to evaluate I Am What I Am against the six studio albums I own and the superb 2006 single-disc comp Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard, which is, naturally, incomplete but presents such a staggering number of great performances and songs that, like Chronicle… More Merle Haggard: A lot of pride in what he is

Life is a mystery

Another excellent Ewing review. This one, part of his years-long project of dissecting every British number one single: Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” I agree: the song is as magnificent as it was meant to be.

Singles 8/19

Finally, after a few weeks of rain, the clouds break. Some of the year’s best singles posted this week. Even the chorus hook of the Usher single hasn’t gotten on my nerves. Two surprises: the blandness of the Taylor Swift single, which is to say it’s “observant” in a predictable way; and Rivers Cuomo’s spectacular… More Singles 8/19