Monthly Archives: November 2016

Where I am today: the best of Brad Paisley

Until 2013 Brad Paisley was the most liked male country star by critics who didn’t write about country. His politics were right. He was easy on the eyes. No one disputed his guitar prowess. He wrote songs whose jokes didn’t … Continue reading

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Taking the Electoral College to school

My man James Madison explained in 1787 why we’ve got an Electoral College: The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the … Continue reading

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Looking for clues: the best greatest hits

Below are the greatest hits and compilations that have most shaped my listening. By no means is it complete. Several of the Essential and Gold entries supersede much fêted predecessors in breadth and, less often, cohesion. Stevie Wonder – Stevie … Continue reading

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You’re so gorgeous I’ll do anything: The best of The Cure

Although Robert and the Smiths scored only two American pop hits, ubiquity has given them the profile of a Foreigner or Coldplay. I saw this myself at a June live show. We’ll be hearing “Boys Don’t Cry until Robert Smith … Continue reading

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America, we’re in for it

Ezra Klein on the president-elect’s hysterical tweets last night (to which I won’t link): I’ve noticed a lot of people on Twitter seem to think Trump’s tweet is scary because it’s false, but the actually scary interpretation is that he … Continue reading

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Our life together: The best of John Lennon

I’m far enough away from December 1980 to say that John Lennon, like his misbegotten mate George Harrison, peaked in the early seventies and spend the rest of the decade recording albums because he had to, in the same way … Continue reading

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Singles 11/25

Swede Sabina Ddumba earns my highest score this week in part by showing up every would-be dance track I’ve heard in the last month, including an even worse than I thought Charli XCX track, also reviewed. It’s the sort of … Continue reading

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‘I’m so confused’ — Colonel Abrams RIP

Although it never crossed over pop, “Trapped” was a fixture on Miami airwaves, a part of that 1985 sweet spot in which Italo disco (Nolan Thomas’ “Yo Little Brother,” Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy”) and freestyle (Shannon’s “Do You Wanna Get Away?”, … Continue reading

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Cuba and America: what Fidel Castro got wrong — and right

Gore Vidal in Empire: The black eyes were as quick as the wit; and the swift smile was both frank and agreeably murderous. “If you really want the Philippines,” said Hay, “you can have them. I’ve got too much time … Continue reading

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Best films of 1958

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles) Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger) The Horse’s Mouth (Ronald Neame) The Tarnished Angels (Douglas Sirk) Some Came Running (Vincente Minnelli) Ashes and Diamonds (Andrzej Wajd) The Hidden Fortress (Akira Kurosawa) Nazarin (Luis Bunuel) The Music Room … Continue reading

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The best of Pearl Jam

On Watching Cameron Crowe’s Pearl Jam Twenty, I couldn’t escape the conclusion, based on Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard’s remarks, that the band thinks, “So, like, one of our best friends OD’d, we sent a tape to a … Continue reading

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Making the personal the political: Loving

Before her own death in 2008, Mildred Loving eulogized her husband Richard thusly: “He took care of me.” Apart from the Fourteenth Amendment considerations, the Supreme Court case heard in 1967 bearing their name should have pivoted on Mildred’s sentence. … Continue reading

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