Singles 10/30

Three years gone and refreshed, Mitski returns to impress us again with a gnomic but not obscure tunelet she might’ve fit on Be the Cowboy. We greeted Adele less enthusiastically for also avoiding deviation. In his analysis of how “Easy On Me” topped the chart, Chris Molanphy notes what makes it work: Where predecessor “Hello”Continue reading “Singles 10/30”

Love songs for vampires: A Halloween playlist

I don’t understand candy. I didn’t eat it except for the occasional candy corn and in high school a 3 Musketeers bar (I still chew gum). I didn’t get candy, therefore I didn’t get Halloween. The fuss over costumes mystified me too, especially in college and grad school — we already go out and getContinue reading “Love songs for vampires: A Halloween playlist”

Born in a small town: ‘Holler’

Trying to understand the mind — the pathology in many cases — of Trump voters has broken journalism since the former president descended the escalator in Trump Tower six years ago. The usual Sunday magazine cover story: reporters visit a diner in Connellsville, Pennsylvania or wherever to talk to those voters about Pfizer boosters asContinue reading “Born in a small town: ‘Holler’”

We’re banging pots and pans to make you understand: The best songs about fascism

Fascism, according to ultimate source Wikipedia, “is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultra-nationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.”

Ranking #38 singles, U.S. edition: 1970-1974

Much later, Tina Turner and Missy Elliott compensated for the shameful chart position in which programmers and record stores placed Ann Peebles’ still fluid fusion of Stax and imagism. At least “I Want to Take You Higher” was a B-side. Every time I discover a Staples Singers single the world looks brighter. Ah, Mr. Garfunkel.Continue reading “Ranking #38 singles, U.S. edition: 1970-1974”

Screenings #53

A demanding, almost avant-garde demonstration of editing, Othello ranks among Orson Welles’ finest achievements. The Criterion Channel has the 90-minute so-called American cut restored without pops and hisses, allowing us to examine this adaptation of Shakespeare with new clarity. I emphasize “adaptation.” Unlike Lawrence Olivier, Welles had no interest in filmed Shakespeare — he wantedContinue reading “Screenings #53”

Florida, please slide into the sea…

Steely Dan has a line in “My Old School” I think of often when news about Florida goes national. California won’t “slide into the sea” before the state with the prettiest name does. As Jonathan Chait remarks in this handy checklist you can print and stick on your fridge with a magnet next to yourContinue reading “Florida, please slide into the sea…”