Author Archives: humanizingthevacuum

Ranking New Order albums

During the early Bush II years I watched as my favorite became embraced for the values that had raised suspicions during his father’s era: the cultivated, surly anonymity; the resolute commitment to disco and rock. It angers me, I gotta … Continue reading

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Muddled ‘BlacKkKlansman’ picks obvious targets

Watching the latest Spike Lee joint at a morning screening as per my routine was a mistake. I should’ve been there on a Saturday night on opening weekend, observing the crowd when the Nixon/Ford-era film alludes to our grotesque contemporary … Continue reading

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Ranking The Beatles albums

One of the better developments in recent years has been the embrace of the early Beatles albums, which, I suspect, didn’t happen until the CD releases of the late eighties restored the original UK sequences. Those of us who grew … Continue reading

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The red tide comes!

For Cubans of my generation, exile was such a trauma, experienced or received, that to see the word “socialism” in print is akin to seeing a bowlful of pureed kittens.

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Ranking Aretha Franklin albums

I spent my evening playing the third side of Amazing Grace, trying to concentrate on V.S. Naipaul. But you can’t read novels, cut toenails, boil water for coffee, breathe while Aretha Franklin is playing. Yesterday SPIN published my list of … Continue reading

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Japanese master turns to courtroom thriller in ‘The Third Murder’

The Third Murder is a rarity: a thriller that gets quieter as it approaches its denouement. The latest by newly prolific Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda isn’t up to the challenges set up by his script and his camera choices, but … Continue reading

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Ranking Neil Young

“It’s all one song,” Neil Young famously said, and, well, it’s true: Crazy Horse’s thump-thump-thump rhythm section has remained steady for decades while Young and Old Black peel off staggering solo after solo.

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Ranking Bob Dylan albums

I don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows, and with Bob Dylan the wind blows according to changes in taste and age. The quieter, spookier Dylan of John Wesley Harding, The Basement Tapes, and New Morning … Continue reading

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Ranking Joni Mitchell albums

To break with the last few days’ tradition, let me annotate my choices for my nine favorite Joni Mitchell albums. 

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Ranking Elvis Costello albums

The punk fellow traveler whose songwriting was most soused in notions of canon, Elvis Costello released eight albums at such a clip that instant acclaim seemed the most equitable response; analysis came later.

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Singles 8/10

I look forward to Eric Church albums as much as I do by any artist you care to mention, and he sounds best when his bands whip up a crossfire hurricane. A committed and fully inhabited declaration, “Desperate Man” is … Continue reading

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Ranking Rolling Stones Albums

Americans who grew up in the, ah, sway of the Stones’ godhead had to reckon at some point with their sixties albums, often in the shadow of the Kinks or the Beatles when by 1967’s Between the Buttons Jagger-Richard were … Continue reading

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