“Artists of color in general are, evidently, disappearing from the upper echelons of the Hot 100”

Eeek: The product of this research is the first (top) chart. Blue indicates songs by artists of color, even if those artists were only featured on the song; red indicates the same thing except that it excludes features by artists of color. Note the sharp peak in the early 90’s (new jack swing! hip-hop! r&bContinue reading ““Artists of color in general are, evidently, disappearing from the upper echelons of the Hot 100””

Singles 1/31

Twenty seconds before “Black Me Out” ended I knew it would get my first nine of 2014 – my first nine in months actually (review of Transgender Dysphoria Blues here). What surprised me this week were blahs like Kylie and Danity Kane, both of whose songs could have used better beats, harmonies, something. Maybe theyContinue reading “Singles 1/31”

“I believe in the value of personal affection, and that people should try to understand one another.”

As credo I can’t match the late Robin Wood’s, taken from “Confessions of an Unreconstructed Humanist”: Like [Jean] Renoir, I believe in certain absolute human qualities — “generosity, for instance”; while not uncritical of Renoir’s films I would like to associate myself with the spirit of tolerance they embody, with their sense that the onlyContinue reading ““I believe in the value of personal affection, and that people should try to understand one another.””

Florida pot laws: “If they refuse, it is because of a willful disregard for the weakest of their constituents.”

Gripping: Florida’s pro-marijuana push has been gaining ground as stories emerge of what it can do for the sick. Some Republican state legislators back the legalization of a medicinal strain of marijuana, known as Charlotte’s Web, that is believed to reduce seizures in children with an extreme form of epilepsy. Katherine Hsiao’s seven-year-old son, Kael,Continue reading “Florida pot laws: “If they refuse, it is because of a willful disregard for the weakest of their constituents.””

It’s ‘porno’ not ‘pronto’: Don Jon

Actors who direct get more praise than they deserve because they know what a camera is and how to look good in front of it, a no-brainer decision that often means delegating those duties to an expert cinematographer (Charles Laughton is an exception). Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes and directs a movie about a New Joisey mookContinue reading “It’s ‘porno’ not ‘pronto’: Don Jon”

Why Wall Street so sad: “That kind of scare is not easy to forget.”

Reminding audiences that its excellent reporting can’t quite mitigate the sordidness of its editorial page, The Wall Street Journal ran a string of syllables by a sad venture capitalist named Tom Perkins who despite not knowing what words mean got column inches. This saddened Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, inspiring to speculate on theContinue reading “Why Wall Street so sad: “That kind of scare is not easy to forget.””

Rick Scott: “The governor firmly believes that we need to disincentivize people not to go to work”

A $63 million website designed to ease the burden of applying for unemployment benefits in Florida is a farrago. By merging three depleted departments into one Department of Economic Oppportunity in the name of efficiency, Governor Rick Scott performed a classic Reagan-era legerdemain: staffing and paying for an agency he doesn’t believe in and whichContinue reading “Rick Scott: “The governor firmly believes that we need to disincentivize people not to go to work””

On the Communards’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way”

A synth pop act covering a Giorgio Moroder-helmed electronic piece was one thing; keeping the spirit of Thelma Houston’s biggest hit with falsetto was another. It’s to Richard Cole and Jimmy Somerville’s credit that they wanted “Don’t Leave Me This Way” to sound as huge and campy as possible. In the era of Parting GlancesContinue reading “On the Communards’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way””

“The reptile, known as T. Top, who says creating and breaking codes is really ‘kewl'”

Uh, I’m sure this isn’t going to work: “As a signals analyst, you will work with cutting edge technology to recover, understand and derive intelligence from a variety of foreign signals found around the world,” children are told in the future employment section. “You will also attempt to identify the purpose, content, and user ofContinue reading ““The reptile, known as T. Top, who says creating and breaking codes is really ‘kewl’””

Singles 1/24

A couple of tracks on Alright, Still excepted, Lily Allen strikes me as an annoyance, unable to find musical correlatives for her smarts so that those smarts sound like attitudes. But “Air Balloon” is strong enough to make “Hard Out Here” even worse. Click on links for full reviews. Eric Church – Give Me BackContinue reading “Singles 1/24”