Monthly Archives: August 2018

‘Nico, 1988’ presents the last days of an icon

Until the moment of her 1988 death in the most banal of accidents, Nico had earned her distance from the Velvet Underground material that turned the model into a camp and often transfixing chanteur in the seventies: like any star, … Continue reading

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Ranking Stevie Wonder

Even in the streaming age few artists command the global love that Stevland Hardaway Judkins does; besides the Beatles and Michael Jackson, my students know the Wonder oeuvre more than any classic pop artist’s.

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Ranking Michael Jackson

He still (moon)walks among us. His best songs here. 1. Off the Wall (1979) Forget the singles for a moment. “I Can’t Help It” and “Get On the Floor” are marvels of delicacy and boogie fever, a boon to anyone … Continue reading

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What happened in Florida?!

Watching MSBC’s Steve Kornacki fly out of his sneakers yesterday as he read the results from Florida counted as one of the few moments of unalloyed pleasure since we Americans elected a white supremacist as president. I voted for Andrew … Continue reading

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Ranking Peter Gabriel

Last summer I wrote about what Peter Gabriel meant to a sexually stunted, erudite high schooler. I don’t have much to add except to wonder whether, now that listeners can find him on Spotify, anyone under thirty-five will thrill to … Continue reading

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Singles 8/24

After an estimable return in 2014, Neneh Cherry led my pack of singles this week, most of which are in the okay to eh range. This, plus our Aretha Franklin coverage. Click on links for full reviews. Neneh Cherry – … Continue reading

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Too weak to even recognize: Ranking Talking Heads

During the Poppy Bush Interzone, I found another home left the dial, and the salvation was David Byrne’s “Make Believe Mambo.” I lived in Miami.

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‘Perhaps in Iowa. Perhaps in fields of grain.’

Yesterday, Splinter News published Paul Blest, who wrote the best John McCain obit I’ve read to date. This afternoon, Splinter News published Peggy Noonan’s latest slash fiction: a masterpiece of unintended comedy, failed poesy, tolerance for sexism, and self-pity. Classic … Continue reading

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Ranking Sonic Youth albums

Gen Xers have had to accept the mortality of marriages, but anyone who kept with Sonic Youth for years knew that Kim Gordon, Thuston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, and Steve Shelley wrote songs about lives on the edge of collapse, or, … Continue reading

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‘What does it matter what you say about people?’

The teacher never told you anything but white lies But you never see the lies And you believe –Elvis Costello, “New Lace Sleeves.” John McCain died on Elvis Costello’s birthday, so a quote is appropriate. After exposing myself to the … Continue reading

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John McCain — RIP

The senior senator from Arizona’s career has been a long con game convincing the media that he opposed what they most wanted: a bipartisan don’t-criticize-the-prez foreign policy, indifference to the economic effects of the political class’ policies on the poor … Continue reading

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Ranking Pavement albums

The delicious part of my recent exercises in ranking albums, as I recuperate from nearly ten months of writing about the worst songs ever, is how this minor project forces me to reconsider acts I don’t play much. I couldn’t … Continue reading

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