Monthly Archives: August 2017

Best imperial phase projects

John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1964. Elton John in 1973-1975. Bowie during the same period. Michael Jackson from 1980-1985. As defined by pop theorist and musicians Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe and developed by Tom Ewing, the imperial phase … Continue reading

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‘CQ’ an affectionate homage to ’60s sci-fi

Coppola wines were doing okay in 2001. The Coppola kids too. Although screened out of competition that May, CQ followed The Virgin Suicides a year earlier by also debuting at the Cannes Film Festival. Roman Coppola’s film, however, didn’t get … Continue reading

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Cover songs that compete with originals

Unlike many of my lists, this one isn’t categorical. I can triple it. Inspired, again, by a long intelligent Facebook discussion in which The Bangles’ cover of a Simon & Garfunkel number demolished the pallid original. Great covers illuminate the … Continue reading

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The party of Reagan = the party of Arpaio and Trump

Of course Chuck Todd said the GOP is keeping silent about the pardoning of Joe Arpaio. I can lay the encouragement of Arpaio’s sadism across the lap of a generation of Republican legislators. Scott Lemieux: Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio, … Continue reading

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Is this a lasting treasure: The best of Bryan Ferry, post-Avalon

Inspired by a screenshot of his December 1987 appearance on Saturday Night Life that I posted on Facebook, my friends kicked around theories explaining what was at stake for Bryan Ferry on the release of Bete Noire. Protracted battles with … Continue reading

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Harvey horrors #32: islands of fire ants

Besides displacing thousands of residents in southern Texas, Hurricane Harvey kicked up a host of unpleasant critters, one of whom intends to visit the region with the First Lady this afternoon. Bigger problems include the usual marooned snakes and alligators … Continue reading

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The urgency of now: the best of Smashing Pumpkins

To imagine twenty years ago that I’d compile a twenty-song Smashing Pumpkins list in 2017 is like thinking I’d deliver Ronald Reagan’s eulogy. But the Pumpkins, whose innovation was to find hard rock wrinkles in Butch Vig and especially Alan … Continue reading

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Veteran envy and veterans: The War on Drugs and Filthy Friends

I like to write these posts for the benefit of friends who avoid social media (saludos, Gaucho!). Last week I reviewed The War on Drugs, a Philadelphia band appreciated for its guitar grandstanding and for the unsubtle manner in which … Continue reading

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The best film of Ridley Scott

Eight films is more than enough to commemorate a good director. When the clamor got out of hand in early 2016 about rewarding Ridley Scott with a Best Director Oscar, wags preferred to see the award as a career retrospective. … Continue reading

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‘Logan Lucky’ pulls off its heist, not much else

From his flop The Underneath to the triumph of Out of Sight and the box office success of Ocean’s 11 and even The Informant!, Steven Soderbergh has relished taking heists apart and reassembling the pieces. He’s even better at filming … Continue reading

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Anthems for doomed youth: the best of The Who

What a relief to hear “Eminence Front” in car commercials: the heretofore forgotten 1982 track, distinguished by a burbling synthesizer loop and a steady Kenney Jones drum track that’s like a metronome and for once doesn’t make me miss Keith … Continue reading

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Singles 8/25

Enough of a rarity to get a pass, Kele Okereke and Olly Alexander’s ballad sung by and to gay men works on its own merits anyway: a theater-influenced performance piece, and I emphasize the penultimate adjective; being gay often means … Continue reading

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