Glimmering, stuffed with awful placeholder lyrics, “Unforgettable Fire” is a beautiful U2 song, the only moment when producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois approximated Trevor Horn: triggered orchestral samples, click tracks, vagueness as grandness. This song coded as “European,” and I love it. I suppose Paul Weller as a Style Counciler intoning You don’t haveContinue reading “Songs peaking at #6, UK edition: 1984-1987”
In the near future, rich white men will kill the rest of us for sport. Reader who find this prediction the most outrageous kind of dystopia porn haven’t been keeping an eye on me long enough. In the fictional Brazilian town of Bacurau, isolated on the dry plains known as sertãos, the sudden appearance ofContinue reading “Bleak, bold ‘Bacurau’ offers few consolations”
Besides the chilling dependability of Shakin’ Stevens, on whom I can depend on at least one top ten during this period, these songs demonstrated a fascination with reggae and other Caribbean rhythms their American cousins ignored if Stevie Wonder wasn’t re-purposing them. But ignore the island riddims and listeners got Gary Numan, the Human League,Continue reading “Singles peaking at #6, UK edition: 1980-1983”
As The Discourse turns to other matters of consequence, let me pause for an addendum to the “WAP” discussion. The Cardi B-Megan collaboration, as many commenters pointed out, forms part of a tradition; from Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” and Lil Kim’s “Hard Core” to Azealia Banks’ “212” and Cupcakke’s “Spoiled Milk Titties,” a reveling in obscenityContinue reading “Singles 8/29”
To think Blur’ ambisexual roundelay stands as their monument should upset no one. Like the Notorious BIG and Toni Braxton, the British quartet brought healthy sex back into pop music in a decade that had shown itself rather demure for many reasons, one of which was peak AIDS diagnoses. Etta James’ ranking does not reflectContinue reading “Songs peaking at #5, UK edition: 1993-1996”
Dancin’. Dancin’. Dancin’. As dialogue, courtship, sex, release, dancing dominated the late seventies. Enjoy.
“3 A.M. Eternal” may have impressed me as one of the more robust Eurodance tracks in the “The Power” vein (the “Simon Says” solo, admittedly, had never occurred to anyone), but “What Time is Love?” put The KLF over: from the MC5 sample and the seamless marriage of the era’s synth strings to the thudContinue reading “Songs peaking at #5, UK edition: 1989-1992”
To posit that freestyle mattered in the last half of the decade as much Sonic Youth and Public Enemy doesn’t sound so novel anymore. Easier to take freestyle for granted, especially if like me you grew up in a South Florida where bass, Italo disco, and British synth pop (Yazoo and Depeche Mode in particular)Continue reading “The best singles 1984-1989”
Two of 2020’s strongest releases unfurl their rainbow flags.
An interesting statistical quirk: in a two-year period covered in today’s target range, a-ha scored four consecutive #5 hits. Remembered fondly for a groundbreaking video in America at the expense of a #1 single whose chorus remains one of the wonders of the era, the Norwegian trio had no problem keeping something of a careerContinue reading “Songs peaking at #5, UK edition: 1985-1988”
I like to think were Tom Petty alive he’d slowly nod, face puckered, when I explained how in the last five years — since Pulse — I’ve heard “Refugee” as a queer anthem. Released in January 1980 months after the disco backlash and a year replete with backlashes against the ERA, “secular humanism,” unions, shrinkingContinue reading “The best singles 1980-1983”
“It captures the easy, endless promises of summer, and it captures the summer you’ve never gotten over; it works as soothing, mindless background music, and it can break your heart,” Greil Marcus, a-swoon over Flesh + Blood, Roxy Music’s most pallid album but the home of two of their finest moments. “Oh Yeah (On theContinue reading “Songs peaking at #5, UK edition: 1980-1983”