Songs that peaked at #6: 1976-1980

Who in hell were Dr. Hook and His Goddamn Medicine Show and why did listeners reward them with so many hit? Specializing in the grodiest depictions of women using soft rock passivity, this group scored several top #6 hits without repending. Another strange phenomenon: the influence of “What a Fool Believes.” I wrote a pieceContinue reading “Songs that peaked at #6: 1976-1980”

‘Shirley’ illiterate about writing, illness

A biopic about a writer is the surest way for filmmakers to demonstrate their shallowness. Stymied by the effort of visualizing a sedentary activity completed in solitude, directors from Billy Wilder (The Lost Weekend), Fred Zinnemann (Julia), and Andrew Walker (Starting Out in the Evening) have stumbled. Good films like Some Came Running (1958) relyContinue reading “‘Shirley’ illiterate about writing, illness”

Songs that peaked at #6: 1986-1990

On seeing sometime in the nineties the title of Babyface’s second top ten, I thought this modern master of mechanized R&B had written its first S&M song. “Whip Appeal” isn’t “Venus in Furs,” but it at least shares a lineage with, say, “Pale Blue Eyes.” This era of #6 peaks was like that; these topContinue reading “Songs that peaked at #6: 1986-1990”

To move or not move: Jessie Ware and Phoebe Bridgers

Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure In 2012, she released Devotion, whose sleek electronic settings charmed listeners who wanted erotic yearning sung by a Real Voice that wasn’t Adele’s. Her followup two years ago was more of the same but slower. By 2017’s Glasshouse her ambitions were fast ossifying into mimicking late 2000s Annie Lennox.Continue reading “To move or not move: Jessie Ware and Phoebe Bridgers”

Songs that peaked at #6: 1981-1984

Desperate, glimmering, and deeply horny, the first five songs on my list rank among my best of the decade. Sean Ross’ recent analyses of what has gone wrong with them in recent rotation hasn’t informed this chart much, yet I want to cite two forgotten 1985 songs: Thompson Twins’ Nile Rodgers-produced “Lay Your Hands onContinue reading “Songs that peaked at #6: 1981-1984”

Songs that peaked at #5: 1972-1976

This era’s Hague prisoners stand guilty of inflicting the cutes on innocent bystanders (the Ursa and General Zod of American folk pop) or insisting that acoustic guitar strings moist from self-pity and briny tears justified record deals (Dr. Hook, Dave Loggins, Dobie Gray). Take Dr. Hook’s Ray Sawyer, who treats words as if phlegm wereContinue reading “Songs that peaked at #5: 1972-1976”

Songs peaking at #5: 1990-1995

I must say, my favorite list. I’ve arranged the good to greats to show what a fabulous era for dance pop 1990-1995 was. Nihilistic house pop by The KLF, diva house by Robin S, Euro house by Snap — I mean. All these, and Sting’s most thoughtful solo single — when does that happen?! ExpansiveContinue reading “Songs peaking at #5: 1990-1995”

It’s no game, part 43: Coronavirus update #29

Nine thousand. Good readers, we nearly doubled our case load in twenty-four hours. Y’all know I’m a South Floridian. Even putting aside the truth of anecdotal evidence, I can tell you that, despite the number of cases in Miami-Dade County, everyone is masked, required to by county ordinance since late March; few MAGA-ites complain onContinue reading “It’s no game, part 43: Coronavirus update #29”

Songs that peaked at #5: 1977-1980

Peer into the cases in The Hague and you see K-Mart disco: artists who thinks canned strings and a simulacrum of four-on-the-floor guarantees them Studio 54 play. “Makin’ It” has disappeared; Alicia Bridges’ “I Love the Nightlife” has not, alas. For the real test, play the first fifty seconds of Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.”Continue reading “Songs that peaked at #5: 1977-1980”

Cuban-Americans and racism

If my readers still have an interest in shocking conservative relatives, tell them that women can be misogynist, homosexuals can be homophobic, and Blacks can be racist. Utter the last sentence in front of a Cuban-American, pair it with the sour reminder that Cubans are people of color, and serve in a highball glass, aContinue reading “Cuban-Americans and racism”