Ranking the #1 adult contemporary hits of 1985

WatWat In 1985 the High Eighties begin — no one can deny the beards-and-bellbottoms era has ended after even a just-visiting listen to “All I Need” and “Say You, Say Me.” Both sport mixes so cavernous I can bury the Empire State Building and have space left to build a Starbucks, and the singing isContinue reading “Ranking the #1 adult contemporary hits of 1985”

“The one choice you don’t get to make is your very identity’

“The Forbidden Castle,” I said. On the sleeve a blond androgyne in an 1982 idea of what a medieval pauper wore. A bearded king. YOU’RE THE STAR OF THE STORY, I read atop. CHOOSE FROM 27 POSSIBLE ENDINGS. The B. Dalton books in Dadeland Mall had a shelful of these white half-foot-long paperbacks. I becameContinue reading ““The one choice you don’t get to make is your very identity’”

Ranking the #1 adult contemporary hits of 1983

The best ballad of the late twentieth century ruled for several weeks on 1983’s adult contemporary chart, peaked at #5 R&B, but stopping at #17 on the pop chart. I don’t mean “Baby, Come to Me,” precise comma placement notwithstanding. Rapt, deceptively light, “All This Love” remains the best single DeBarge released during the group’sContinue reading “Ranking the #1 adult contemporary hits of 1983”

In praise of Willa Cather

In his newsletter (available by subscription, sorry), Robert Christgau shares a lovely few paragraphs on rereading My Antonia and Willa Cather’s canonicity: You may think it’s a stretch to put her up against the early-modernist triumvirate for the simple reason that she wasn’t a modernist at all. But it’s always a distortion to gauge anContinue reading “In praise of Willa Cather”

Ranking the #1 adult contemporary hits of 1982

During the last year before MTV permanently changed pop, I see Air Supply, Neil Diamond, the last gasps of John Denver and Kenny Rogers, and Juice Newton addressing a Carter-era consensus about to break down. The A/C chart would replace one softness for another. One weirdness for another too. Can you think of a, say,Continue reading “Ranking the #1 adult contemporary hits of 1982”

On educational systems — Bernie Sanders and Fidel Castro’s

In the last few days I’ve watched South Florida Democrats, politicians and plebes, howl with despair over Senator Bernie Sanders’ defenses of the Cuban educational system on 60 Minutes. Here are the disavowals by my House representative and the rep in my neighboring district:

Ways of seeing: ‘Varda by Agnès’ honors breadth of great filmmaker

By the time of her death of cancer at ninety, Agnès Varda had become among cinephiles a Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Betty White: a touchstone beloved for her accomplishments, which were formidable, as much as for keeping up with a new generation of film audiences. 2017’s Oscar-nominated Faces Places signaled her new cultural ascendancy. ButContinue reading “Ways of seeing: ‘Varda by Agnès’ honors breadth of great filmmaker”