Monthly Archives: December 2018

The worst openers on good albums

Fortunately I’ve covered a couple of these tracks already. The following tracks present innumerable obstacles, nuisances, and misbegotten intros to otherwise good or excellent albums. As usual, your mileage may vary.

1. Bob Dylan – “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (Blonde on Blonde)
2. Def Leppard – “Women” (Hysteria)
3. Paul Simon – “Allergies” (Hearts and Bones
4. Crowded House – “Chocolate Cake” (Woodface)
5. The Strokes – “Is This It” (Is This It)
6. Michael Jackson – “Bad” (Bad)
7. Stevie Wonder – “Love’s In Need Of Love Today” (Songs in the Key of Life)
8. Roxy Music – “In the Midnight Hour” (Flesh + Blood)
9. Nirvana – “Serve the Servants” (In Utero)
10. Radiohead – “Airbag” (OK Computer)
11. Van Halen – “You’re No Good” (Van Halen II)
12. Britney Spears – “Gimme More” (Blackout)
13. Taylor Swift – “Welcome to New York” (1989)
14. Erykah Badu – “Amerykahn Promise” (New Amerykah Part One (4th World War))
15. Genesis – “Invisible Touch” (Invisible Touch)
16. Modest Mouse – “The World at Large” (Good News For People Who Love Bad News)
17. Neil Young – “Little Thing Called Love” (Trans)
18. Madonna – “American Life” (American Life)
19. Beyonce – “1 + 1” (4)
20. Miranda Lambert – “All Kinds of Kinds” (Four the Record)
21. Wire – “I Should Have Known Better” (154)
22. Billy Joel – “Easy Money” (An Innocent Man)
23. G.W. McLennan – “When Word Gets Around” (Watershed)
24. R.E.M. – “Radio Song” (Out of Time)
25. Jimi Hendrix – “…And the Gods Made Love” (Electric Ladyland)

Ranking the best Genesis albums

Fans of Peter Gabriel’s fox heads and tales of the Giant Hogweed will find much to mourn here. Despite praising recently The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway as one of the better realized “concept” albums (hint: all albums, comps included, use concepts), I don’t reach for it — still too damn long, and Tony Banks’ talent for finding the wrong keyboard patch runs untrammeled. Continue reading

Worst cocktails


Among my favorite posts concerned my favorite cocktail recipes. About ten years ago the Wall Street Journal published an article about sidecars, a wonderful cocktail that in 2008 was almost impossible to make without using a pre-fab mix. Well, the world has shifted on its axis. Even the most generic Courtyard Marriott employs a bartender who knows the rudiments of mixology I had no trouble casting a cold eye on the following:

1. Mimosas.

Sparkling wine and orange juice – what’s wrong, you’ll ask? Easy. How much OJ and sweet wine can a person drink without reeling from acid reflux or requiring an insulin shot? How much champagne, prosecco, Cava, or whatever can a person drink blind to the impending violent hangover? I understand the temptation, or, rather, the fear and guilt. To placate the suspicion that one shouldn’t Drink So Early in the Morning, the spirits are poured into a breakfast juice. If you’re going to drink, you’ve made a decision. Stick with it. You’re better off drinking a beer, or, better, a glass of wine, or, best, a goddamn martini.

2. The Lemon Drop.

Ordered by men and women afraid of alcohol and life. Because vodka, triple sec, lemon, and a wheelbarrow’s worth of sugar will ease their fears.

3. The Moscow Mule.

Sometime around 2014 I saw the invasion: three dozen copper mugs invading even the chicest of bars. A glass shortage, I thought. Vodka and ginger beer sounds delicious, perhaps refreshing on an early afternoon by the pool, but not a cocktail one orders with a robust sense of self-worth after 6 p.m. In addition, let me be clear: the two tastes clash.

4. Long Island Ice Tea.

Stop it – you’re not in college anymore.

5. Vodka Red Bull.

In South Florida, where the heat addles sentient people, a coke habit signifies accomplishment. Remember Luis Guzman’s bit in The Limey? If you can afford a drug like this, you buy a drug like this. Mortals stick to vodka Red Bull, a poisonous brew that apart from tasting like boiled asparagus toasted with mayonnaise and old Kraft single slices has a lovely habit of accelerating your metabolism as your heartbeat struggles to come down.

6. White Russian.

Cream is for coffee. I don’t drink dessert.

7. Amaretto sour.

In college, we ordered these because the Italian name created an aura of posh adventurism. Its consumers sounded as if they knew what they were talking about. Then we discovered its consumers liked a little nut in their citrus concoctions.

8. Daiquiris and piña coladas.

Excused in South Florida because it’s warm fifty-one weeks a year, but only if you order them poolside. Drive farther inland though and you’re asking for a beating.