2020: What else ya got?

I was supposed to be in Italy last summer, not living Death in Venice. Besides travel, remodeling my kitchen ranked high on my list of priorities for a year that looked in January like a culmination. Now, although I’m lucky enough to have kept the nest egg I’d saved for the job, I can sayContinue reading “2020: What else ya got?”

Ranking #30 singles, U.S. edition: 1981-86

I know. Kate Bush, blah blah. Jeffrey Osborne and Junior, etc. But, readers, it’s “Space Age Love Song.” Armed with effects pedals, a couple of chords, and an echo suggesting the vastness of the space between Saturn and Neptune, A Flock of Seagulls’ second best song exemplifies what I call the Two Gin Euphoria, i.e.Continue reading “Ranking #30 singles, U.S. edition: 1981-86”

We’ll have time for coffee flavored kisses: The best of the Monkees

Forbidden by their management to play on and write for their albums, the Monkees nevertheless became as essential to whatever notion of The Sixties put forward by purists. From Byrds-indebted jangle-pop to Moog-drenched psychedelic experiments that would not have shamed the Stones of Their Satanic Majesties Request or the Love of Forever Changes, Davy Jones,Continue reading “We’ll have time for coffee flavored kisses: The best of the Monkees”

Enjoy the silence: ‘Sound of Metal’

From a pre-title sequence at a concert to an establishing shot inside a trailer, Sound of Metal understands how the adrenalized rush of performance must yield to normality. A recovering addict, Ruben (Riz Ahmed) had trouble with this transition. But from its opening minutes director Darius Marder disorients the audience. Making breakfast for girlfriend andContinue reading “Enjoy the silence: ‘Sound of Metal’”

Ranking #17 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-82

I can praise Boz Scaggs’ pre-Avalon peak, or submit two paragraphs on Evelyn King’s “Love Come Down,” one of the sharpest of post-disco singles because it goes ALL. THE WAY. DOWN; but Steve Martin got this high on the top forty with a valentine to DISCO TUT. I will, however, well on Billy Joel, whoContinue reading “Ranking #17 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-82”

‘The Father’ relies on stagebound gimmickry

Treated as a Great Actor by audiences and his peers, Hopkins is actually a hambone like mentor Richard Burton, at his most commanding when he leavens the bluster with chuckled asides. Playing the eponymous character in Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his own play gives the eighty-two-year-old actor the chance to flaunt every trick. In aContinue reading “‘The Father’ relies on stagebound gimmickry”

Ranking #19 singles, U.S. edition: 1987-1991

</a Did my readers know Salt-n-Pepa didn’t go top ten until 1993 with TLC? Smutty and catchy as fuck, “Push It” stopped at #19 despite an omnipresence in major cities; Miami played it as if Hurby Azor replaced Francis Scott Key. “Veronica,” my intro to Elvis Costello, ranks a close second. Maybe co-writer Paul McCartneyContinue reading “Ranking #19 singles, U.S. edition: 1987-1991”

Singles 12/25

Taking place during Christmas and often beyond, Readers Week allows us to review suggestions. This year, in keeping with the unexpected rush of song, we had more choices than ever. “Bad Friend” had a resonance transcending the pandemic. “Guess we fell out/what was that all about?” — hell yes, chilling. I wish the arrangement hadContinue reading “Singles 12/25”

Ranking #19 singles, U.S. edition: 1982-1986

My second favorite .38 Special churn, Diana Ross’ Daryl Hall-Arthur Baker-assisted tuneful twaddle, and the only Fixx single to mean something besides semi-attractive syllables stretched like chewing gum over post-Rodgers rhythm guitar — imagine their former client Tina Turner covering it, and I’m not joking. The Hague Howard Jones – Life in One Day REOContinue reading “Ranking #19 singles, U.S. edition: 1982-1986”

Ranking #19 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-1981

Jennifer Warnes’ bone-chilling Rondstadt imitation “I Know a Heartache When I See One” Tim and Fred Williams’ favorite Phil Collins song stalled at #19 in the summer of 1981 months after the horn-happy “I Missed Again also crawled no further — surely some kind of record for debut solo singles that didn’t make the topContinue reading “Ranking #19 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-1981”