Don’t open your eyes you won’t like what you see: the best of Trent Reznor

In 1990 when I discovered Consolidated and Meat Beat Manifesto, Nine Inch Nails didn’t come up. Entranced by rock star poses, Trent Reznor had no patience for the happiness-in-slavery submission to beats and noise of industrial, which marked him as a star from the beginning — NIN, not Consolidated, were asked to headline Lollapalooza inContinue reading “Don’t open your eyes you won’t like what you see: the best of Trent Reznor”

Trump: ‘a pustule of ego’

Besides reminding me that Pushkin retold a story I had loved as a child but whose authorship I never knew, Rebecca Solnit accurately diagnoses the Trumpian pathology in an aphoristic manner I’m a sucker for: Equality keeps us honest. Our peers tell us who we are and how we are doing, providing that service inContinue reading “Trump: ‘a pustule of ego’”

Till your kiss helped me name it: the best of Carole King & Gerry Goffin

As the list shows, I was interested in the best performances of Goffin-King songs, together and apart. Two artists appeared twice for definitive performances of Goffin-King’s material; one artist appeared performing two different songs. Lacking familiarity with King’s later solo work, I included a couple of obvious favorites that to my ears demonstrate why theContinue reading “Till your kiss helped me name it: the best of Carole King & Gerry Goffin”

The satisfaction of aloneness

The immersive blandness of a Target on the Sunday morning of a long weekend – my church. The sheer acreage of the average store is enough to stagger me, although so long as I can find the frozen blueberries and a V-necked Mossimo tee I’m satisfied. Usually these grocery visits happen on Saturdays, followed by aContinue reading “The satisfaction of aloneness”

Manuel Noriega: exit to Van Halen

In the early 2000s a colleague at the bookstore sealed a box with duct tape. “For Noriega,” she said. I waited for the punchline. It turns out that the former Panamanian dictator read the New York Times Book Review regularly, demanding care packages of the latest best sellers and the occasional work of political philosophy.Continue reading “Manuel Noriega: exit to Van Halen”

What else your old heart can take: the best of Rosanne Cash

I’ve been writing about Rosanne Cash a long time. Like Nick Lowe, she continues recording albums that appeal to a fervent base of which I’m no longer a part. I don’t blame her for no longer wanting to rock, but to my ears the staid arrangements of the last couple albums don’t justice to aContinue reading “What else your old heart can take: the best of Rosanne Cash”

Singles 5/26

In one of 2017’s most competitive weeks, Brooklyn punk-pop band beats longtime punk-pop trio from Tennessee for the top slot while two superb K-pop singles (“Palette,” “Night Rather Than Day”) bask in the knowledge that next week I’ll prefer them. If you haven’t heard Charly Bliss, “Percolator” is a solid intro. If you’ve never heardContinue reading “Singles 5/26”

You’re so nice on drugs: the best of Nick Lowe

A pub rocker whose soul lay in country, Nick Lowe began as a smart ass who lost interest in jokes, hence his smarts. For a while, though, this punk fellow traveler released several of the funniest singles of the new wave era; it’s amazing that he got as high as #12 at the heart ofContinue reading “You’re so nice on drugs: the best of Nick Lowe”

Covering the Kushner-Russia story

The New York Times and the Washington Post have outdone themselves uncovering the rot beneath every stone of the Trump administration, but it doesn’t mean the reporting hasn’t had flaws. Having each published stories about Trump son in law Jared Kushner’s secret communications with the Kremlin, the news organizations offered subtle shades: n the NewContinue reading “Covering the Kushner-Russia story”

Queerture feature: ‘Alien: Covenant’

Fans who’ve dreamed of helping Michael Fassbender with a fingering should race to any theater showing Alien: Covenant. Playing the synthetic Walter and his less advanced but more erudite earlier model David, Fassbender has a scene in which the latter shows the former how to properly play a flute. Director Ridley Scott frames and lightsContinue reading “Queerture feature: ‘Alien: Covenant’”

Zbigniew Brzezinski is dead

An eminence when I was growing up and learning about the vapidity of Sunday morning talk shows, Zbigniew Brzezinski, along with Sam Nunn, was the last avatar of the Cold War Democrat: the national security advisor who still believed in verities about the Soviet Union inherited from Dean Acheson. This frequent guest on “Morning Joe,”Continue reading “Zbigniew Brzezinski is dead”