Songs that peaked at #7: 1968-1971

With “No Matter What” Badfinger presaged Big Star and the The Raspberries, and Rare Earth acquired Soto canonicity after Ghostface sampled it in “We Celebrate.”. That’s about all I can say about this crop, none of which erect my nose hairs except Badfinger, Anne Murray’s ode to the (Canadian) west wind, weird Bee Gees, andContinue reading “Songs that peaked at #7: 1968-1971”

The best films of the 1940s

With my five previous posts, I defied conventions; this time I’ll say, Orson Welles really is as dazzling and, let’s be honest, more entertaining than any Greatest Film Ever Whoa Nelly deserves to be. The rest of my top ten shows the genesis of Humphrey Bogart/film noir, Ernst Lubitsch creating the cinema equivalent of aContinue reading “The best films of the 1940s”

Songs peaking at #10: 1967-1970

As I pull back the curtain on the late sixties, I see yet more classics: James Brown taking back his identity from the white devils who wanted to define him; Aretha taking back “I Say a Little Prayer” from Dusty Springfield; Dusty Springfield taking “Son of a Preacher Man,” one of the ten greatest examplesContinue reading “Songs peaking at #10: 1967-1970”

The best films of the 1950s

When Max Ophuls’ best film is playing, I consider it the best of film watching experiences — not my favorite film, but a film showing the medium’s possibilities. In The Earrings of Madame De…, Ophuls’ dollies function like Nabokov sentences: superficially pretty things whose tergiversations induce a vertigo as viewers realize, with quiet mounting horror,Continue reading “The best films of the 1950s”

The best films of the 1960s

The sixties didn’t happen until Jean-Luc Godard released Breathless at the dawn of the decade. This is a fact. Thanks to the French director — still alive and making film! — JFK became president, the Beatles broke in America, and we got a man on the moon. The only reason Philip Larkin didn’t mention GodardContinue reading “The best films of the 1960s”

Songs that peaked at #8: 1972-1975

Thanks to Les Crane, I’ve learned to “avoid loud and vexatious persons.” Good advice. I also would like to live in any city where “If You Really Love Me,” Anne Murray and her expert Beatles cover, honky cats, and superflies dwell. I despise myself for disparaging the Osmond clan as if by rote, but, really,Continue reading “Songs that peaked at #8: 1972-1975”

The best films of the 1970s

Teeth gritted, I inserted the DVD last week and settled in to watch The Conformist for the first time since 2008. Bernardo Bertolucci’s adaptation of Alberto Moravia’s novel still suffers from a post-Freudian hangover: the title character played with feral exquisiteness by Jean-Louis Trintignant, to suppress bisexual longings, yearns to be a mediocrity, a flunkie,Continue reading “The best films of the 1970s”

Songs that peaked at #6: 1972-1975

Some of rock’s most enduring hits elbow past each other in the best category, with the Isleys showing our white asses how to phase guitars and Steely Dan showing Santana how to Santana. Among the new-to-me’s, Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party” and The Guess Who’s ode to Wolfman Jack stood out (Becker and Fagen might themselvesContinue reading “Songs that peaked at #6: 1972-1975”

Songs peaking at #8: 1996-2002

I’d never heard City High’s “What Would You Do” until tonight, and, well, talk about prescient lyrics: “In and out of lockdown/I ain’t got a job now.” Boom, right? DJ Sammy and Yanou featuring Dfo continue the hallowed tradition kicked off in the mid nineties with the Nicki French Eurohouse cover o “Total Eclipse ofContinue reading “Songs peaking at #8: 1996-2002”

The best films of the 2000s

I found more films I loved passionately the previous decade. Many mainstream things I liked remain solid things I wouldn’t rank among the decade’s best: think Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, while the worst things are as unwatchable as any in the last hundredContinue reading “The best films of the 2000s”

Does Ron DeSantis deserve an apology from us yet?

As COVID cases rage out of control in Florida, the perfidy of the Tallahasseean Lickspittle becomes clearer: As the virus spread out of control in Florida, decision-making became increasingly shaped by politics and divorced from scientific evidence, according to interviews with 64 current and former state and administration officials, health administrators, epidemiologists, political operatives andContinue reading “Does Ron DeSantis deserve an apology from us yet?”

Songs that peaked at #9: 1972-1975

Worship the innocence of flower children and you start confusing children with flowers: innocent, requiring protection, fragile. By which I mean, have you heard “Wildflower” and “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” recently? My god. Even the marvels on this roster behave well, not willing to offend parents watching variety shows,Continue reading “Songs that peaked at #9: 1972-1975”