Ten reasons you know you’re gay

We’ve made progress. Yet…

1. Friends ask for opinions about shoes
2. Dancing in place to a Coldplay song
3. The reluctance to say a sentence aloud without stressing unexpected syllables
4. Getting along better with your friends’ parents than you do with your own.
5. You smoke in public
6. Laughing at this stock photo of white dudes
7. Reflexively falling back on impersonal pronouns when discussing the most basic trysts
8. A constant sense of thinking you Went Too Far in conversation
9. Placing too much stress on biography, or, better, blankness
10. Flirting with a friend’s wife or husband

Dead, fat, or rich nobody’s left to bitch: The best Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell songs

When Patterson Hoods mythmaking enterprises stumble, Mike Cooley has saved Drive-By Truckers with his rangy rock. Jason Isbell limned what Cooley called in 2008 the self-destructive zones of rural losers, often turning to heroes like Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. Sine his departure, Isbell has pursued an estimable if safe solo career that will ensure him excellent press. I doubt I’d have any interest in Cooley solo.

1. “Self-Destructive Zones” (Brighter Than Creation’s Dark)
2. “Marry Me” (Decoration Day)
3. “Goddamn Lonely Love” (The Dirty South)
4. “Outfit” (Decoration Day)
5. “Never Gonna Change” (The Dirty South)
6. “Ramon Casiano” (American Band)
7. “Bob” (Brighter Than Creation’s Dark)
8. “Shut Up and Get on the Plane” (Southern Rock Opera)
9. “Danko/Manuel” (The Dirty South)
10. “Birthday Boy” (The Big To-Do)
11. “Panties In Your Purse” (Gangstabilly)
12. “Surrender Under Protest” (American Band)
13. “When the Pin Hits the Shell” (Decoration Day)
14. “Shit Shots Count” (English Oceans)
15. “Perfect Timing” (Brighter Than Creation’s Dark)
16. “Decoration Day” (Decoration Day)
17. “Zip City” (Southern Rock Opera)
18. “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac” (The Dirty South)
19. “Get Downtown” (The Big To Do)
20. “Primer Coat” (English Oceans)

Singles 1/11

Our first set of reviews of the new year, comprised of 2018 odds and ends published during the break and tracks chosen for BBC Music Sound Of 2019 that were not, I trust, auspicatory. Already I regret the high vote for “Really Bad Boy,” grade inflation based on my affection for their catalog, and the low vote for Post Malone’s best radio hit.

Click on links for full reviews.

King Princess – Pussy is God (8)
Flohio ft. Cadenza & Clams Casino – Pounce (7)
Grimes ft. HANA – We Appreciate Power (7)
Anderson .Paak ft. Kendrick Lamar – Tints (6)
Meek Mill ft. Drake – Going Bad (6)
Red Velvet – RBB (Really Bad Boy) (6)
Rosalía – Bagdad (5)
Octavian – Move Faster (4)
Thomas Rhett – Sixteen (3)
Dermot Kennedy – Power Over Me (3)
Grace Carter – Why Her Not Me (3)
Post Malone – Wow (3)
Kodak Black – Calling My Spirit (2)
Twice – The Best Thing I Ever Did (2)
Sea Girls – All I Want to Hear You Say (1)

The best B-side and rarities compilations

Having covered compilations and B-sides already, I wanted to cover B-side and rarity coms, omitting things like Wingspan and Substance for collecting A-sides. I couldn’t omit Louder Than Bombs, though — the proportion of released versus unreleased matter swung me. I rated those collections whose sequencing, gestalt, and range of material expanded my comprehension of an act’s range. Frequency of play mattered too: I had no wish in including museum pieces regarded once.

Note too the Anglophilia with which this list is afflicted. American acts offer their singles benign neglect.

1. Suede – Sci-Fi Lullabies (1997)
2. The Clash – Super Black Market Clash (1992)
3. The Velvet Underground – VU (1985)
4. Dionne Warwick – Hidden Gems: The Best of Dionne Warwick, Vol. 2 (2005)
5. Pet Shop Boys – Alternative (1995)
6. Morrissey – Bona Drag (1990)
7. Ghostface – More Fish (2006)
8. Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (1991)
9. XTC – Rag and Bone Buffet: Rare Cuts and Leftovers (1990)
10. Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Taking Liberties (1980)
11. Nirvana – Incesticide (1992)
12. The Cure – Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities, 1978–2001 (2004)
13. The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs (1987)
14. PJ Harvey – 4-Track Demos (1993)
15. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Barbed Wire Kisses (1988)
16. Pearl Jam – Lost Dogs (2003)
17. Talk Talk – Asides Besides (1998)
18. The Replacements – All for Nothing / Nothing for All (1998)

The history of the world: the best Pet Shop Boys B-sides

“We’ve always used the B-side as a way of learning to produce,” Chris Lowe said in the liner notes to the smashing compilation Alternative. “When we started the B-side was where we learned to do things ourselves. So it wasn’t a throwaway, ever. It’s been fundamental to how we progress.” Besides alluding to a future album title, these remarks elucidate how he and Neil Tennant might have created a complementary timeline to Pet Shop Boys’ development: ever dafter English synth pop duo, no doubt, Edith Sitwells on Emulators. The B-sides below are a barmy lot, mixing literary and historical references as a way of clouding indeterminate lusts. I could have easily tripled this list, but let’s stop at sixteen.

1. Paninaro (b/w Suburbia)
2. That’s My Impression (b/w Love Comes Quickly)
3. Decadence (b/w Liberation)
4. A Man Could Get Arrested (7″ remix; West End Girls)
5. The Truck Driver and His Mate (b/w Before)
6. Some Speculation (b/w Yesterday, When I Was Mad)
7. Do I Have To? (b/w Rent)
8. Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend [b/w Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)]
9. You Know Where You Went Wrong (b/w It’s a Sin)
10. The Ghost of Myself (b/w New York City Boy)
11. Sexy Northerner (b/w Home and Dry)
12. Jack the Lad (b/w Suburbia)
13. The Resurrectionist (b/w I’m With Stupid)
14. I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too) (b/w Heart)
15. The Sound of the Atom Splitting (b/w Left to My Own Devices)
16. In the Night (b/w Opportunities)

On the luridness of gay conservatives

The New York Times‘ Sunday magazine has run a story about the frustrations of gay conservatives. One Ben Holden, a Suffolk University student, explains himself:

Though he said he is liberal on most social issues and wishes the Republican Party would take climate change seriously, Holden aligns himself with conservatives and libertarians in many other ways — he’s anti-abortion, free-market-oriented and skeptical of big government. But perhaps above all else, Holden rejects what he considers a bedrock of contemporary liberalism: that, as he put it, your “immutable characteristics” — race, ethnicity, sexual orientation — “should determine what your position is on every political issue, or what you’re allowed to express an opinion about.” He added that he feels alienated from progressives on his campus and across the country, many of whom he believes are unwilling to debate issues “without resorting to shaming or name-calling.”

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