I loved you all: The best of The Beatles

On my list you’ll see the Harrisong “Old Brown Shoe,” with its supple bass, tight harmonies, and acerbic solo; “Baby’s in Black,” employing waltz time and detachment; and at the top a Paul McCartney performance of grace and buttoned-down regret that keeps kitsch at bay thanks to a tough arrangement (Harrison’s terse, angry staccato strums,Continue reading “I loved you all: The best of The Beatles”

We’ll get by, I suppose — a farewell to 2016 and all that

On the last day of 2016, I can’t dispel the mephitic vapors of an autumn that in South Florida never cooled and an election season that didn’t and won’t end. I published some of my finest work. I read, deeply, discovering Lorrie Moore and at last finishing Thomas Mann’s Joseph tetralogy. I’m at the apexContinue reading “We’ll get by, I suppose — a farewell to 2016 and all that”

What I read in 2016

I omitted books I’ve reread (Tender is the Night, A Modern Instance) and short story and poetry collections. Christopher Isherwood – Mr. Norris Changes Trains David Talbot – The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government Mary Beard – SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome Patrick McGilligan – YoungContinue reading “What I read in 2016”

2016: the year in singles

Every year I announce I’ve reviewed more singles than ever, and I’m not wrong. I’m also doing more sit-ups than ever. Below are the original scores of every tune I’ve reviewed at The Singles Jukebox. I’ve kept the original grades despite the adjustments that radio listening have demanded I make — not that top fortyContinue reading “2016: the year in singles”

From this point on it only gets rougher: The best of Outkast

I came to Outkast late. Impressed by “Elevators (Me and You),” I didn’t go, as the kids say, all-in until Stankonia, which I got as an advanced copy for an unwritten review. The success of “Ms Jackson” — that synth, the Atlanta snap of Andre 3000’s vowels — was among the more gratifying as aContinue reading “From this point on it only gets rougher: The best of Outkast”

Trump and clickbait

Greg Sargent, sharing some hard news lessons: If the headline merely conveys that Trump claimed credit for something, without also conveying that this is open to doubt, then it risks being misleading, particularly since people often scan headlines without digging deeper into the stories and the factual details. Why is this a risk any newsContinue reading “Trump and clickbait”

George Michael and ‘ queer plausible deniability’

When David Bowie died almost a year ago, I remember no eulogists arguing that his place in the rock canon wasn’t deserved. His acceptance began in the late nineties as a generation of Billy Corgans absorbed his sounds and wannabe poseurs appropriated his queerness. When I adumbrated that his canonicity rested on how he presentedContinue reading “George Michael and ‘ queer plausible deniability’”

I’ll get your number: The best of De La Soul

As much as it pained me to dismiss …and the Anonymous Nobody last August, I suspect they’ll be back. I want them to stay back. 1. Ego Trippin’ (Part Two) 2. Brother (Native Tongue Decision) 3. Eye No 4. In the Woods 5. A Rollerskating Jam Called Saturdays 6. Breakadawn 7. All Good 8. PotholesContinue reading “I’ll get your number: The best of De La Soul”

‘Lion’ meows through its paces

Lion is such a well-intentioned snooze that I know it’s going to clean up at the box office. The true story of how an Indian boy gets separated from his family, is adopted by white Australians, and twenty years later is reunited has an intrinsic holiday appeal. But Garth Davis shows little talent for dramatizingContinue reading “‘Lion’ meows through its paces”

On Paul Ryan’s health care death march

Some updates on the efforts to keep repeal of the Affordable Care Act as quietly as possible so that House Speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t reveal his cowardice: Ryan and his allies envision a quick, surgical strike on Obamacare soon after Donald Trump takes office, via what’s come to be known as a “repeal and delay”Continue reading “On Paul Ryan’s health care death march”

I just want a chance to fly: Erykah Badu

Al Shipley’s list reminds me of what a deep, solid, weird catalog Erykah Badu has, especially when four albums, an EP stretched to album length, and a handful of odds ‘n’ sods constitutes the catalog of this wonderful artist, to me one of the most rewarding of the last twenty years. As usual I thankContinue reading “I just want a chance to fly: Erykah Badu”