Monthly Archives: May 2017

I can cast a spell, of secrets you can tell: the best of Chaka Khan

CVS is responsible for saving lives — a pharmacy open late, eggs and half and half available when supermarkets have closed, and encouraging “Through the Fire.” Maybe that’s how Kanye West learned to love it. This middling R&B, adult contemporary, … Continue reading

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‘Pipelines spill and leak’

My monthly reminder that we still take seriously the construction of these pipelines. : Two barrels, or 84 gallons, spilled due to a leaky flange at a pipeline terminal in Watford City on March 3, according to the state’s Health … Continue reading

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Joy for its own sake: The Mountain Goats and Ibibio Sound Machine

The Mountain Goats – Goths Applause for Matt Douglas, whose woodwind arrangements add color and an ironic elegance that’s never at the expense of the goth scene about which John Darnielle writes with precision and pathos. Musical detail adduces lyrical … Continue reading

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Let me get over you: the best of Holland-Dozier-Holland

The greatest songwriting combination of the post-Porter era, Holland-Dozier-Holland perfected a verse-chorus-verse songcraft so seamless that you shouldn’t be able to spot the hyphens in this sentence. Artists from Vanilla Fudge to Soft Cell have been taking these songs apart, … Continue reading

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Best films of 1935

1. The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock) 2. Alice Adams (George Stevens 3. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale) 4. Sylvia Scarlett (George Cukor) 5. The Devil is a Woman (Josef von Sternberg) 6. A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood) 7. … Continue reading

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The Manchester dead and the primacy of pop

Men dedicated to mass slaughter don’t distinguish attendees at the Bataclan from Ariana Grande fans. But what made the choice of a Grande show particularly gruesome was demographics: Grande’s audience consists mostly of young women and gay men, two groups … Continue reading

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Like Sunday morning: the best of Lionel Richie and the Commodores

No late twentieth century popular icon has suffered vacillations in critical ardor as severely as Lionel Richie. As singer and songwriter for the mildly funky Commodores, he showed far more interest in balladry and, interestingly, a polished studio kind of … Continue reading

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The commencement address grind

As temperatures climb and boredom with criticizing the Trump administration increases, fellow liberals turn to a favorite hobby: self-immolation. Picking on students walking out of Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement address at Notre Dame is the latest example. Students are … Continue reading

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Trump proposing deep cuts to social services

Remember, readers, that no difference existed between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump’s budget that is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday will include $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid — a move that underscores the President’s resolve to … Continue reading

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Viva Las Vegas!

Two observations based on the Billboard Music Awards: (1) Running through a hit-strewn preface that plays like an Obama-era catalog of very necessary vulgarity, Nicki Minaj lands on 2017 “No Frauds” and the David Guetta-produced “Light My Body Up” while … Continue reading

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Lucky lucky lucky: the best of Stock Aitken Waterman

I suppose the subtlest condemnation of the Mike Stock, Matt Aitken, and Pete Waterman is to place Donna Summer’s last American hit atop my list here’s an example of an artist who didn’t surrender a millimeter of her personality to … Continue reading

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Don’t get fooled by Mike Pence

When party satraps chose vice presidential nominees, the head of the ticket ignored his running mate — why trust a stranger? “Hack” is too strong a word, for if we dismiss most of the vice presidents in our history as … Continue reading

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