One quarter of the year finished…

Herewith, the best albums and singles I’ve heard this year. Although I haven’t seriously considered their order, it will take an impressive tectonic shift to dislodge the first three albums. As for the singles, I doubt I’ve heard a sequence of more impressive country singles in a quarter. A final note:  DeBarge may have releasedContinue reading “One quarter of the year finished…”

Singles Jukebox 4/26

The Miguel single – slow, lilting – is one of the year’s best, reminding me of Mario’s “Let Me Love You.” All singles graded on a ten-point scale. Click on links for full reviews. Miguel – Sure Thing (8) Eric Church – Homeboy (7) Chris Young – Tomorrow (6) Gretchen Wilson – I’d Love To BeContinue reading “Singles Jukebox 4/26”

Barbeques and heartbreak: DJ Quik’s “The Book of David”

Jayson Greene, illuminating on the new DJ Quik, one of the year’s best albums despite its length: On the surface, The Book of David feels more straightforward. A rich stew of warm disco, grown-and-sexy R&B, and classic g-funk, it sounds engineered to waft out over barbecues. But it’s also riddled with idiosyncrasies: songs that dissolveContinue reading “Barbeques and heartbreak: DJ Quik’s “The Book of David””

Return of the natives: White Material

Watching White Material, I thought, “Well, duh, of course Isabelle Huppert would play the lead.” As the matriarch of a coffee plantation in an unidentified east African country who will not accept that the white ruling class’ days have ended, Huppert sticks that famous marble-like chin and lower lip into the viewer’s eye. The castingContinue reading “Return of the natives: White Material”

Obsessed with You: Poly Styrene R.I.P.

An unconfirmed rumor reports that she finally succumbed to cancer. Inspired by an prolonged wrestling match with tUnE-yArDs’ w h o k i l l s (that’s the last time spelling it correctly will cost me brain cells), I spent a couple of days last week playing Germ Free Adolescents, the album on which PolyContinue reading “Obsessed with You: Poly Styrene R.I.P.”

“If the story has to end too early, then its coda will contain a triumph”

Martin Amis on his beloved comrade Hitchens: Whereas mere Earthlings get by with a mess of expletives, subordinate clauses, and finely turned tautologies, Christopher talks not only in complete sentences but also in complete paragraphs. Similarly, he is an utter stranger to what Diderot called l’esprit de l’escalier: the spirit of the staircase. This phraseContinue reading ““If the story has to end too early, then its coda will contain a triumph””

Singles Jukebox 4/21

The most exciting week to date: lots of great R&B singles and a better than average album track masquerading as single from my favorite electronic album of the year. Considering the excellent prose expended for its sake from colleagues I respect, Martina McBride’s “Teenage Daughters” will get a second hearing from me this weekend. ItContinue reading “Singles Jukebox 4/21”

Krugman: “That’s why we have medical ethics”

I don’t think much of Paul Krugman as a stylist or Sunday talk show guest (why is he so tame and shifty-eyed?), but he’s been terrific lately at pointing out the ways in which our country remains inexorably divided by economic interests. In his latest blog post he takes on a particularly venomous myth: thatContinue reading “Krugman: “That’s why we have medical ethics””

Good grief: Rabbit Hole

In which a Connecticut couple as white as china (Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman) find life empty after a teenager (Miles Teller) hits and kills their son with his car. The opening scenes draw us into American Beauty land; when a neighbor’s foot crunches on one of Kidman’s immaculate botanical creations, we expect her eyesContinue reading “Good grief: Rabbit Hole”

Decaffeinated consciousness: TVotR’s “Nine Types of Light”

Discos best provide the space in which to conflate apocalyptic hysteria and desire, but this hasn’t stopped Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, and recent Britney, not to mention Prince and the Frankie Goes To Hollywood of “Two Tribes.” I suspect TV On the Radio demand the conflation because this art-rock collective can convincingly evoke neither hysteriaContinue reading “Decaffeinated consciousness: TVotR’s “Nine Types of Light””