We’re so sorry: the worst solo Beatles tracks

When Superman chose to mate with an earthling, his parentage demanded he surrender his powers in exchange for a disco collar. So it happened with the Beatles — a couple of them even wore disco collars! At their worst three of them put themselves through some grim studio rock paces, but I can’t blame themContinue reading “We’re so sorry: the worst solo Beatles tracks”

‘The Beguiled’ sticks to Coppola’s tried and true

In her debut film The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola showed the sexual fascination of young women with a passive male beauty. Her Cannes Award-winning The Beguiled is a refinement of the approach – too refined. The 2000 adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel justified its languid, often stilted prettiness by situating it as a period piece, refracted through imperfectContinue reading “‘The Beguiled’ sticks to Coppola’s tried and true”

Worst disco and New Wave accommodations

It was a dark time for boomers. As the seventies collapsed with an enervated sigh, those acts in their late thirties and older fought to hold on to their market shares. For every “Miss You” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy (shut up: it’s a monster track, despite the leering) and “I Need a Lover”Continue reading “Worst disco and New Wave accommodations”

Neil Gorsuch’s progress

In another reminder, as the fag ends of Pride get scattered to the winds, of Why Elections Matter, the Supremes said it was unconstitutional for Arkansas to keep one same sex parent off a baby’s birth certificate just because one of them is not a biological parent. On the losing side of the 6-3 perContinue reading “Neil Gorsuch’s progress”

Cold War masterpiece ‘Stalker’ gets fresh airing

A wish granted is not a life changed. In Stalker, the chance for three citizens of an industrial, quasi-totalitarian present to enter an out-of-time space called The Zone produces no satisfaction. Part of the joke in Andrei Tarkovsky’s beloved 1979 classic is that The Zone looks no less bleak and dirty than the purported realContinue reading “Cold War masterpiece ‘Stalker’ gets fresh airing”

Getting the details right: Jason Isbell and 2 Chainz

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound Intelligent songs intelligently performed, with a songwriter at the microphone conscious of his limitations as a performer, as a member of the human race; this is Jason Isbell’s best realized album since leaving Drive-By Truckers. “We’re all carrying one big burden, sharing one fate,” heContinue reading “Getting the details right: Jason Isbell and 2 Chainz”

Missouri legislators to women: stay home

Should you have the luck to land a job in Missouri and you’re a woman, you best hope your landlord doesn’t ask for medical records. Its senate has legislation that allows bosses and landlords to “discriminate against women who use birth control or have had abortions.” More: Known as SB 5, the bill was firstContinue reading “Missouri legislators to women: stay home”

I’m counting the grains and they’re so sharp: the best of Wire

Well, I figured Graham Lewis and Colin Newman deserved a snotty reappraisal. My piece on Wire’s 154 triggered a a week’s worth of hate (e)mail when such things existed. Intended as provocation, the essay pretends the rest of Wire’s career didn’t exist, and it’s only then that the Graham Lewis show pieces I hated makeContinue reading “I’m counting the grains and they’re so sharp: the best of Wire”

A slave empire in a nation, and a colony in a nation

Chris Hayes – A Colony in a Nation Last time out the MSNBC host of All In wrote what amounted to an elegant master’s thesis elongated into unforgiving book form. His second book uses the metaphor of the Colony versus the Nation to explain why millions of young black men and women despair at livingContinue reading “A slave empire in a nation, and a colony in a nation”

Singles 6/23

Today I’d have awarded Halsey and Lauren Jauregui’s “Strangers” a 7 for the chorus hook, and what Eleanor Graham calls its “sophisticated” boringness, which I take as a compliment — most good synth pop boasts a boring blank at the mike striving for sophistication. But Katherine is right: it’s not clear form the lyrics who’sContinue reading “Singles 6/23”

The politics of cowardice

Thanks to the wizardly Mitch McConnell and his aides, the Affordable Care Act is set to transform into a bill authorizing tax cuts for millionaires and the vaporizing of Medicaid, the dream of the Ayn Rand-ites since 1964. Before readers gape and wonder how is this possible, remember that Donald Trump is the latest andContinue reading “The politics of cowardice”