Ranking #50 singles, U.S. edition: 1988-1994

Looking past the dregs of the Reagan-Bush era, whose names I need not mention out of respect and for fear of inspiring a reader to defend them as if they were Goldwater speeches, I see Depeche Mode’s “Strangelove,” which, I must say, sounded great against Dino’s boneheaded “Summergirls” and other freestyle and Miami bass tracksContinue reading “Ranking #50 singles, U.S. edition: 1988-1994”

Never mind the tea and the yoga: ‘Father of the Bride’ remains comfortably conservative

Forget the sops to liberal audiences: every version of Father of the Bride gleams with a confident conservatism. Vincente Minnelli’s beloved 1950 original, saved by Spencer Tracy’s wryness and the luminosity of Elizabeth Taylor, unfolds like a ponderous dinner party with sherry to start, lamb course with mint jelly and potatoes, brandy afterwards. The yuks-a-minuteContinue reading “Never mind the tea and the yoga: ‘Father of the Bride’ remains comfortably conservative”

Ranking #50 singles, U.S. edition: 1980-1987

Many obscurities (to me) on this list: I had not heard The Fools’ version of Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared,” never knew Jermaine Jackson followed up “Let’s Get Serious” with an album of self-written nullities, was not acquainted with Herb Alpert’s “Beyond,” which sounds like a bizzer hearing Giorgio Moroder’s soundtrack to Midnight Express and diggingContinue reading “Ranking #50 singles, U.S. edition: 1980-1987”

Ranking #42 singles, US edition: 1976-1979

Obstinate about Springsteen as garrulous post-Dylan babbler and vinyl fetishist, I didn’t come around to the dude until 1984 and, blessedly, his 1987 follow-up; but I can’t deny the tug and roar of his guitar solo in “Badlands,” a necessary discordance during the peak of disco. Not superior to disco, mind, but, as Wallace StevensContinue reading “Ranking #42 singles, US edition: 1976-1979”

Ranking #48 singles, U.S. edition: 1988-

To earn a pair of Hague candidates when your third solo album becomes your best-seller and your spite, rage, lack of compassion, and vanity remain undimmed deserves a special prize; but nothing on earth exists that I can award Don Henley for writing the longest, dullest song ever to hit #1 on Y-100’s airplay requests;Continue reading “Ranking #48 singles, U.S. edition: 1988-“

Ranking #46 singles, U.S. edition: 1983-1989

To live in South Florida in 1984-1986, even as young as Lord Soto was, meant delighting in scores of freestyle hits. From Debbie Deb’s “Lookout Weekend” and Trinere’s “I’ll Be All You’ll Ever Need” (both written by Tony Butler) to Nayobe’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y1YQX_2ZFY, these cheap little singles reshaped anonymity: how can amateurs project lust and despairContinue reading “Ranking #46 singles, U.S. edition: 1983-1989”

‘Official Competition’ a decent sendup of actorly vanity

Moviemakers love movies about movies because it reassures the public that they don’t mind taking the piss out of themselves. Sherlock Jr., Sunset Boulevard, Day For Night, Living in Oblivion — these films revel in the veniality of stars and the arrogance of directors. Official Competition would like to join their company. It doesn’t. StarringContinue reading “‘Official Competition’ a decent sendup of actorly vanity”

Songs about surrender and giving up

Admonished for supporting often dangerous strategies for self-denial without a chance of smut, Catholicism has a pretty good tradition, which I will not describe in full here, about what surrender means. The nonbeliever tying these words hears wisdom in “Into your hands, o Lord, I commend my spirit.” The songs below, whether calling for aContinue reading “Songs about surrender and giving up”

I can’t wait to make our memories rhyme: The best albums of 2022, first edition

From the chewy, cerebral dance tracks by Charlotte Adigéry and collaborator Bolis Pupul to aspiring nonagenarian Willie Nelson co-writing ten of the sharpest songs about keeping your wits while your neighbors lose theirs, 2022 offered pleasures which have restored a shimmer to what I thought would be a restorative year.