Ranking #64 singles, U.S. edition: 1984-1989

Writing a chorus with a Dorian Grey allusion in an acid-house casing showed New Order at the peak of their powers in 1989. At least Technique sold; Eurythmics’ Savage moved their smallest numbers to date despite being their best album since their 1983 breakthrough. The proof: “You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart,” inContinue reading “Ranking #64 singles, U.S. edition: 1984-1989”

Ranking #64 singles, U.S. edition: 1979-1983

Loath to lead with ballads, I retreated before the frontal attack of Stevie Wonder’s “Lately,” one of those wounded torch songs written as if to remind fans that happiness is an option as much as a birthright. What I admire about Pirates is the scrutiny Rickie Lee Jones expends on memories — were they goodContinue reading “Ranking #64 singles, U.S. edition: 1979-1983”

What a drag to live in Florida

A cafe with a decent patio in the middle of bustling Wynwood, R House has boomed the last several years thanks to a weekend drag bunch. Fans of The Birdcage will recognize the tenor and tone of the performances: queens work it while sharing PG-rated puns. Straight people care more about drag than queers theseContinue reading “What a drag to live in Florida”

Ranking #63 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-1983

Sick of each other but not of finding novel ways of dramatizing the arcs of relationships whose doom is foreordained, ABBA recorded one of their best albums in 1981. The title track — an entry from “a divorce album as bleak as George Jones’ The Grand Tour or Richard and Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out theContinue reading “Ranking #63 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-1983”

Ranking #62 singles, U.S. edition: 1984-1989

As serious as a deep kiss, “Love Comes Quickly” (or “Disaster Came Quickly,” according to Neil Tennant, their first comparative flop) uses sustained sequencer lines and a keening Tennant vocal to limn the reality of falling in love. Chronic ironists like the Pet Shop Boys don’t drop the jokes — the first line is aContinue reading “Ranking #62 singles, U.S. edition: 1984-1989”

Ranking #62 singles, U.S. edition: 1979-1984

To awaken in the 1990s and learn that a flop single from Talking Heads’ commercial breakthrough had become their second most streamed song and a beloved wedding song evergreen, recognized by older cousins and their Imagine Dragons-besotted kids, would’ve startled dead this fan who discovered the Heads at the low ebb of their popularity; theyContinue reading “Ranking #62 singles, U.S. edition: 1979-1984”

Ranking #61 singles, U.S. edition: 1984-1991

Intentionally garish in its determination to introduce A New Sound and alienate the fans who lit Bics to “Angel of Harlem,” “The Fly” demonstrates why you can never separate an Edge from an effects pedal. Bono’s whisper-husk and every-artist-is-a-cannibal twaddle are silly, but dammit they work, especially when The Edge’s extended guitar solo complements Bono’sContinue reading “Ranking #61 singles, U.S. edition: 1984-1991”

Ranking #61 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-1983

When Aretha Franklin hired Luther Vandross for “Jump to It” in 1982, she needed a hit; she got a small one on the top 40. Returning to Vandross a year later, she earned another R&B #1 but a crossover stiff. Too bad. Confident without lapsing into the merely anthemic, “Get It Right” turns a fondContinue reading “Ranking #61 singles, U.S. edition: 1978-1983”

Coming for gay rights while the Beltway press shrugs

It’s not as if the GOP needed Clarence Thomas’ prodding last month to enact a decade-long plan that guts the advances made by gay activists: Since the Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade, anti-gay rhetoric and calls to roll back established L.G.B.T.Q. protections have grown bolder. And while Republicans in Congress appearContinue reading “Coming for gay rights while the Beltway press shrugs”