Love streams: Adele’s ’25’

John Seabrook: If you are an Apple or a Spotify subscriber (I am both), you are faced with a quandary over what to do about “25.” In the old days, you would have just gone out and bought the album. But streaming complicates the picture. You don’t want to buy the record because that wouldContinue reading “Love streams: Adele’s ’25’”

Lost in the darkness of my love: Tunnel of Love

Remembering a time when Springsteen wasn’t hip is like imagining a time when it was illegal to serve alcohol. The period from 1992 to the release of the ’95 greatest hits compilation found The Boss experimenting with The Earring, The Goatee, and The Flowered Shirts and, depressingly, The Untucked Dress Shirt. To buy Tunnel ofContinue reading “Lost in the darkness of my love: Tunnel of Love”

And it’s going to get worse

Bill Clinton’s signing of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act was one of the crumbs thrown at liberal supporters in 1994. Written to combat a wave of violence against abortion clinics, doctors, and women who use the clinics, it made it a federal crime to injure or scare those seeking care. But afterContinue reading “And it’s going to get worse”

Singles 11/27

After years of indifferent singles that failed to catch anyone’s attention (I wasn’t fond of guest appearances on Fantasia and Janet Jackson singles either), Missy Elliott realizes that her strength is in minimalism. We rewarded her — and Pharrell’s not bad rap to a lesser extent. A shame my colleagues weren’t smitten with the titleContinue reading “Singles 11/27”

The legacy of Wilsonism

As I posted today and earlier this week, Princeton students protesting the deification of Woodrow Wilson object to his discriminatory policies as president. Resegregating the federal government ended the sinecure on which middle class blacks had depended since the Gilded Age. Keep in mind: the Republican Party had been the dominant political force since 1860,Continue reading “The legacy of Wilsonism”

Those Stalinist students!

The way in which we sentimentalize the most average experiences exemplifies what Marxists call false consciousness. Many complaints about Princetonians objecting to Woodrow Wilson tut-tut about what campus protest was really like, man. Corey Robin doesn’t believe it. To listen to the critics of these Princeton students, you would think that until these students cameContinue reading “Those Stalinist students!”

Happy Thanksgiving — for what it’s worth

My family serves mushroom foie gras to accompany the venison and avoids heated arguments, but I know Syria, Barack Obama’s response, and other Democratic verities have come under scrutiny at other tables. Digby: The difference between these two phenomena is best illustrated by the massive whining and tantrums that result from any joking around aboutContinue reading “Happy Thanksgiving — for what it’s worth”

I said thank you sumbitches!

America is a didactic country whose people always offer their personal experiences as a helpful lesson to the rest, hoping to hearten them and do them good–an intense sort of personal public relations project. there are times when I see this as idealism. There are other times when it looks to me like pure delirium.Continue reading “I said thank you sumbitches!”

A few of my favorite things #14

Vampire Weekend – Contra (2010) Wispy if not vaporous on first and even third listening, with synthesized beats that don’t complement the vocal tracks. But I learned to love the whole thing, smitten with the tales of love on the run and narratives fractured in part by sampled harmonies substituting for guitar parts and EzraContinue reading “A few of my favorite things #14”

Setsuko Hara – RIP

Film writers speak in generalizations. This one feels earned: no actress in movie history wringed so many nuances from the smile than Setsuko Hara. Thank Yasujiro Ozu for recognizing its possibilities. The pained, embarrassed smile (Tokyo Story). The indulgent smile (Late Spring). The malicious smile, worn to death by the demands of family (Early Summer).Continue reading “Setsuko Hara – RIP”

Eric Church, Justin Bieber

Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood A strange thing about The Outsiders: “Talladega” and “Cold One” sounded fine on the radio. Maybe it’s a post-CD age album after all, refuting the sticky recollections in Mr. Misunderstood‘s title track, on which Eric Church the adolescent Elvis CAH-STELL-LOH fan scowled at top forty listeners, thus earning the rightContinue reading “Eric Church, Justin Bieber”