Ranking Psychedelic Furs albums

Until “Heartbreak Beat” skirted the edges of the American top thirty, Psychedelic Furs thrived in the limbo state between just beyond college radio cult status and the wider mainstream embrace of The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode, etc. “I never understood why Psychedelic Furs didn’t sell more records,” AllMusic quotes Paul Weller saying once. The heaps of mousse and Macy’s leather drag of their High Reagan Era may have had their share of responsibility.  Continue reading

The state with the prettiest name: October update

“We’ve lost our self-respect,” said the woman to the Publix cashier on Sunday in Cuban Spanish. “Sooner rather than later we’re going to deal with socialism.” Who “we” was is unclear: Floridians? Cubans? Americans? All of them, like as not. The robust paranoia of the Cuban exile mind specializes in the collapsing of referents.  Continue reading

Ranking the five best New Pornographers albums

I wonder if A.C. Newman does any ghost writing for acts in need: a middle eight here, a place for a harmony there. Certainly he’d make an ace producer for hire. The band for which he writes most of its songs has recorded more than their share of good albums, but I won’t listen to them anymore for reasons explained below. At best, the New Pornographers’ early records created the impression that these songs could go anywhere, even past their own opacity.

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Brazil — what happened?

Four days ago Caetano Veloso, who knows about imprisonment and repressive regimes, nailed what he sensed might happen in Brazil tonight:

Many artists, musicians, filmmakers and thinkers saw themselves in an environment where reactionary ideologues, who — through books, websites and news articles — have been denigrating any attempt to overcome inequality by linking socially progressive policies to a Venezuelan-type of nightmare, generating fear that minorities’ rights will erode religious and moral principles, or simply by indoctrinating people in brutality through the systematic use of derogatory language. The rise of Mr. Bolsonaro as a mythical figure fulfills the expectations created by that kind of intellectual attack. It’s not an exchange of arguments: Those who don’t believe in democracy work in insidious ways.

Repeatedly the majority of voters who chose Bolsonaro emphasize his strength, lack of corruption, decisiveness. Perhaps a party in power since 2003 asked for trouble. Perhaps anxiety about crime overcame personal revulsion toward Bolsonaro, who once said he’d rather have a dead son than a gay son.

As the son of Latin American parents, I understand too well the allure of military dictatorships; my grandparents’ generation likes them because they, my grandparents, didn’t have to worry about independent thought. They thought they could abjure decision making until the police knocked on their door.

Ranking Eurythmics albums

The most popular of the eighties synth pop duos — a global operation at their 1985-1986 peak — Eurythmics get condescending press in England, which hasn’t forgiven them for the Tourists and David A. Stewart’s gauche American crossover moves. Yet it’s impossible to weave a narrative about that decade without accounting for the degree to which Stewart and singer-keyboardist Annie Lennox anticipated or submitted to its stylistic currents. Below I’ve linked to Tom Ewing’s educational as always Freaky Trigger piece on their only UK #1; it explains the British dilemma. I’m taken with the idea of Lennox as an artist for whom, in Ewing’s phrase, “the idea of delirium as something essentially decorative, flirtatious and playful” infected her 1985-era singing.  Continue reading

Singles 10/26

At last. Those of us who feared Jessie Ware had embraced the blandishments of adult contemporary have “Overtime” to comfort us. An estimable singer of mid tempo material, Ware is on fire when she gets dance material. One of this quarter’s best songs.

In other news: yes, you read that Thug-Elton credit right.

Click on links for full reviews.

Jessie Ware – Overtime (9)
S.H.E – Seventeen (6)
Sigrid – Sucker Punch (6)
Young Thug ft. Elton John – High (6)
Halsey – Without Me (6)
The Chainsmokers ft. Kelsea Ballerini – This Feeling (4)
Purple Disco Machine – Dished (Male Stripper) (5)
Little Mix ft. Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me (3)
Charli XCX ft. Troye Sivan – 1999 (3)
Little Big – Skibidi (1)

‘I should burn in hell and I was a deformity’

Decapitated Barbie dolls, dirty laundry, and a van whose interior smelled like thirteen rotting possums. And Sayoc, the Trumpist nut, was an asshole homophobe too.

His former boss at a Fort Lauderdale pizza restaurant said Sayoc, who worked there as a delivery driver during the graveyard shift, would openly mock her for her sexuality and proclaim his love for Adolf Hitler and ethnic cleansing.

“When he found out I was a lesbian the second day, he told me I should burn in hell and I was a deformity, that God made a mistake with me and I should go on an island with Hillary Clinton and Rachel Maddow and Ellen Degeneres and President Barack Obama and all the misfits of the world,” said Debra Gureghian, the general manager at New River Pizza & Fresh Kitchen, where Sayoc worked from January 2017 to January 2018.

Gureghian, a lesbian, said she could not fire Sayoc for his racist and bigoted views. She said Sayoc appeared to have a split personality of sorts. In the same breath, the “dependable” employee would call her a pimple on a flea and still loyally follow her every command.

I remind readers that we homosexuals are expected to smile and even laugh off these cracks like Gureghian did; it’s our life. Yet if we called Sayoc a racist we’d have to worry about Sayoc or his friends waiting for me by my car holding a two-by-four.