Someday Robert Plant’s solo albums will get the reassessment they deserve; hell, maybe I’ll attempt it. To his immense credit, his peripatetic spirit welcomed spacious, wet keyboard arabesques like “Big Log” and “Ship of Fools.” When he felt like it he created post-Zep hoarse-rock like “Burning On One Side.” Sometimes he mixed the two (“TallContinue reading “Happy Sunday”
The Book of J, Harold Bloom’s most rewarding book, posits an Old Testament god as petulant and erratic as any Olympian. Yahweh isn’t a god you worship: he’s a god you collude with or outsmart. Along those lines, I liked today’s NYT blog post about Jonah, his favorite book in the Bible. The great criticContinue reading “Uneasy prophets: Jonah”
An odd week, punctuated by the death Martin Skidmore, one our longest serving and best writers. Such an odd week, actually, that Gililan Welch beat Beyoncé. All scores based on a ten-point scale. Click on links for full reviews. Gillian Welch – The Way It Is (7) The Good Natured – Skeletons (6) The HorrorsContinue reading “Singles 7/29”
The first paragraph of Elizabeth Drew’s article in the current The New York Review of Books clears the rubble: Someday people will look back and wonder, What were they thinking? Why, in the midst of a stalled recovery, with the economy fragile and job creation slowing to a trickle, did the nation’s leaders decide thatContinue reading “That naughty “fiscally responsible” centrism”
Source Code is shorter, fleeter, and better acted than Inception, but still boasts an absurd time-warp plot that mixes Groundhog Day, Donnie Darko, and Philip K. Dick, which counts for creativity these days. Darko darkling Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier who, mortally injured in combat, is exploited by glowering government officials (embodied by Jeffrey Wright,Continue reading “Ground control to Major Jake: Source Code”
The most dependable of Jukebox writers, dead of esophageal cancer after a brutal diagnosis in March. William Swygart put it best: “straight, honest, and with clarity and wit that too often went unappreciated.”
The best Amy Winehouse tribute of the lot: solid overview, judicious criticism.
With hues and costumes as colorful as a box of Crayola 64’s, Potiche appropriates the language of camp and parody to deepen a narrative whose consequences are as contemporary as the phony battle over the debt ceiling. The film’s only misstep occurs after the opening credits: on her daily jog wearing fire engine red Adidas,Continue reading “Working class heroes: Potiche”
Her best ballad is her most concise. All this woman needed was one that coaxed out her lived-in warmth.
The late Amy Winehouse had one of those voices from which I recoil: the British showbiz voice that’s brassy, unafraid of histrionics; the kind of voice that requires illustrative hand gestures while singing. The descendants of the Shirley Bassey school include everyone from Annie Lennox to Adele. But in the right circumstances Winehouse’s belting commandedContinue reading “Amy Winehouse R.I.P.”
The best single is by Mr. Miranda Lambert, and it’s not as good as her best — or even “Who Are You When I’m Not Lookin’,” released earlier this year. Blake Shelton – Honey Bee (7) Florrie – I Took a Little Something (6) Bjork – Crystalline (6) Drake – Marvin’s Room (6) Tove StrykeContinue reading “Singles 7/22”
The Awl publishes a long, truculent, loving analysis of The Christopher Hitchens Problem. Maria Bustillos identifies what makes Hitchens crusade — I mean this literally — against religion such a bore, even to those of us who embrace the instinct with enthusiasm: God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens’ best-selling diatribe, enumerates hisContinue reading “The Hitchens Problem”