Monthly Archives: January 2011

I heard the record it’s all right – Destroyer’s “Kaputt”

With his nasal voice and penchant for song titles like “Jackie, Dressed in Cobras” (the comma is the most offensive part),  Dan Bejar projects the kind of archness that tempts fans into seeing layers beneath layers. I could never get … Continue reading

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The perils of Jesus chicken

A note to my students, one all Chick-fil-A aficionados: “‘“If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay.’” Me, I don’t give a damn about their sandwiches — on the soggy side, no? — but as long as the corporation isn’t supporting, … Continue reading

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Kristol blue persuasion

Paul Berman, one of those conflicted liberals whose Terror and Liberalism persuaded me into brief support of the Iraq War in 2003,  reviews the collected Irving Kristol. Not much need be said about the father of Bill Kristol in 2011, … Continue reading

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Singles 1/28

The busiest singles week of the new year, during we evaluated every genre except zydeco and new Miami Sound Machine records. The best: the most committed Wayne performance since the Bush administration, and a sweet quasi-onanistic country tune. The worst: … Continue reading

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Sense and Sensuality: Night Nurse

Pauline Kael on Night Nurse (1930): William Wellman directed this picture in his fast, unvarnished style; it has a grungy likability. Clark Gable is the sexy villain, a thieving gigolo-chauffeur in a black uniform; his specialty is socking women. Stanwyck … Continue reading

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Neil Tennant: Hatred can be “positive”

Ned reminded me of an essay by Neil Tennant published in Details in the summer of ’92. Reading it at the time, I couldn’t finish it, repulsed by self-recognition. Now it’s a manifesto. If not for hatred, I wouldn’t be … Continue reading

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Mummified: The American

I thought the failure of Solaris (2002) had taught George Clooney the peril of choosing roles in which he’s asked to impose his unimpressive physicality over his talent for glib chatter. The American, Anton Corbijn’s attempt to turn Clooney into … Continue reading

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If you’re over thirty, you don’t have much time for Elvis Costello: you’ve solved at least seventy percent of the conundrums in which he ensnared himself his first ten years. I love Trust because it was and remains a confused, … Continue reading

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The fly in the ointment: Wire’s “Red Barked Tree”

Wire has made three albums since reuniting in the new century: 2003s’ Send, which did little more than collect a couple of tracks from their Read & Burn EP series and include a few new ones designed to destroy the … Continue reading

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Happy Sunday

One of the best songs that Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr have written, together or separately. A ravishing chord sequence, poised Sumner vocal with lyrics to match (“I don’t know if we could get lost in a city this size … Continue reading

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Pazz and Jop singles chart: Abandon hope all ye who enter

Al Shipley examines the Pazz and Jop’s singles chart with a cold eye and finds a disturbing development: “Today’s Pazz & Jop electorate has a much harder time engaging with the charts,” as in, the pop charts: Granted, you may … Continue reading

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Singles 1/21

Welcome back. In the first real competition of the year, Nicki Minaj reminded me why Christgau believes in her and the rest of us want to. Disgusting and fag-haiting, “Roman’s Revenge” allowed two incorrigible role players room to act. Em … Continue reading

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