Comebacks: Big Boi, Ride, and Alison Moyet

Big Boi – Boomiverse

When Antwan André Patton released his last good album, Barack Obama was in the White House and the Democrats still controlled both chambers. This native Georgian can’t be too happy about the results in the Sixth Congressional District, although not as much, I expect, as buddy Killer Mike, who joins Jeezy and Hatsune Miku on “Kill Jill” for a dizzying tour through an ethnic/aural multiverse approximating the music on Boi’s audience’s smartphones. On this forty-five-minutes divertissement, Boi makes no statements and records no tour de force – how can he when Adam Levine won’t stop yapping and Boi wimps out on a taking a moral position in a throwaway line about the Cosby trial? (I’m not fond of another line about Sodom and Gomorrah “deplorables” either). Instead, he’s reminding us of the range of his taste, of the pure pleasure his bodacious timbre once provided. Highlights are many, as rooted in Georgia as peach trees: “Follow Deez” marries a throbbing Mannie Fresh-produced electrohook to Curren$y’s languid evocation of a “a land where Impalas squat,” to which Boi answers with “Gladiators with radiators that run hot/Impalas with ‘draulics parked at the gun spot”; the even better electrothrob of “Chocolate”; and “In the South,” where Boi hangs with Gucci Mane and Pimp C and, I can imagine, the B-52’s who wrote “Dry Country.” It’s good to have him back remembering how to record solid albums. Boomiverse is the sort of album I’ll forget to replay until list-making season in early December when its existence will wreak havoc on my top twenty.

Alison Moyet – Other

After years of adult contemporary albums with the occasional burst of guitar anarchy against which her persona was ill-suited anyway, Alison Moyet returned to electropop in 2013. Other goes further. If you keep track of such things, it’s the former Yazoo singer’s best album since 1991’s Hoodoo. Guy Sigworth composes electronic tracks with grand orchestral passages; in places, such as “The Rarest Birds,” the results suggest what “Venus as a Boy”-era Bjork would sound like in the new millennium. What Moyet has also lost in elasticity she has gained in expressiveness. “The Lover, You” and the fabulously titled “Reassuring Pinches,” which has a synth organ break that Vince Clarke would go human for, are peak Moyet. Recommended to admirers of Róisín Murphy’s latest efforts.

Ride – Weather Diaries

My first college friend said his favorite album was Ride’s Going Blank Again, whose title nailed my expression on learning this news. I didn’t suspect the extent of Mike’s enthusiasm for shoegaze. Over the years I’ve listened to Ride’s excellent 1992 album and 1990’s Nowhere when I remember I own them. The mediocrity of Weather Diaries came as a shock, though. As one of the commenters in my SPIN review pointed out, Ride have recorded a rock album: lumbering, pompous, in places rather charmless. I’m in the minority.

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The changing face of libraries

Readers know I revere libraries. My mother got my first library card when I turned six. I’d routinely break the six-item checkout limit with dinosaur books in second grade and Judy Blume in sixth. But although I mourn the deathly quiet in reference sections as patrons thumbed through editions of World Book and Who’s Who, I feel no nostalgia. When my university opened its eight-story library in 1997, it was supposed to be the largest structure of its kind in the southeastern United States. This was the same year when I started seeing Yahoo and Netscape popping up in campus computer labs and at our own newspaper. In other words, the university opened this structure at the point when libraries filled with bound volumes were starting their slide into obsolescence.

Millennials treat public libraries like Starbucks: a communal space in which to use the internet, whether on their phones or checked out laptops – “learning communities,” to use the university jargon. Their parents and grandparents, retired or unemployed, read the newspaper, Danielle Steele, or use the free computers to upload photos to Facebook and Instagram. The library also doubles as town center; my county commissioner holds meetings at mine every other Thursday.

I find this data fascinating:

A new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from fall 2016 finds that 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) say they used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation. (It is worth noting that the question wording specifically focused on use of public libraries, not on-campus academic libraries.)

All told, 46% of adults ages 18 and older say they used a public library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months – a share that is broadly consistent with Pew Research Center findings in recent years.

Visiting my public library on Saturday mornings, I see reference librarians performing duties that wouldn’t have surprised their predecessors in 1987: helping school kids find books for reports. It’s different in library science circles, where discussion in the last decade has centered on use: what are university libraries for? At state universities where interdepartmental fights for space are routine as financial allocations dwindle, those ill-used floors with bound volumes must look tempting. I often joke with the uni librarians about being their most regular – their only – customer. Accustomed to free WiFi and air conditioning, students may overlook their surroundings: lots of books. I don’t think it occurs to them that buying a math textbook or A Midsummer Night’s Dream isn’t required. In other words, if the material isn’t found on Google Books, people under thirty expect to pay for services my generation took for granted.

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Too hot to handle, too cold to hold: the best of New Edition, Inc.

In the late spring and early summer of 1990, a few months after the Don’t Be Cruel tide rolled back to sea, Bobby Brown’s ambitious former bandmates participated in an unoffficial blitzkrieg of the pop and R&B charts. Emboldened by New Jack, members of New Edition hooked up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and fellow travelers (e.g. Dr. Freez) to make beats that make us go boom: clattering, industrial-hard beats. Hence “Rub You the Right Way” topping this list. I find Gill colorless, less so on slow material (“It’s Your Body” over “My, My, My,” though), but his baritone in “Rub You the Right Way” is the anchor in a hurricane; only one New Edition-associated song ranked above it when I ranked Jam-Lewis tracks a few months ago. But this list has competition.

I know I’ll get protests for ranking “Poison” so low. A touchstone of adult R&B stations, blessed with one of the most enduring percussion breaks in modern music, “Poison” is also indelible misogyny, with Ricky Bell’s yearning vocal the palliative that eases upset stomachs. Even at fourteen the song made no sense. If sane humans don’t spray a can of Raid on their salads, why would you kiss a girl who’s poison? The rediscoveries: Ralph Tresvant’s Mo’ Money hit and Gill’s Karyn White duet.

I’ve also included writing and production credits for other acts.

1. Johnny Gill – Rub You the Right Way
2. New Edition – If It Isn’t Love
3. Bobby Brown – On Our Own
4. Ralph Tresvant – Sensitivity
5. New Edition – Cool It Now
6. Bell Biv Devoe – Do Me!
7. Bobby Brown – My Prerogative
8. Boyz II Men – Motownphilly
9. New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man
10. Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson feat. Bell Biv DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant – The Best Things in Life Are Free
11. New Edition – Can You Stand the Rain
12. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
13. Ralph Tresvant – Money Can’t Buy You Love
14. Johnny Gill ft. Karyn White – Wrap My Body Tight (12″ Remake Version)
15. Bobby Brown – Every Little Step
16. Bell Biv Devoe – Poison
17. Johnny Gill ft. Roger Troutman – It’s Your Body
18. Ralph Tresvant -Stone Cold Gentleman
19. New Edition – Hit Me Off
20. New Edition – Popcorn Love
21. Another Bad Creation – Iesha

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Overreacting to loss aka the Democratic way

Take care, Jon Ossoff! Patrick Murphy, Jason Carter, and Michelle Nunn are waiting in the bar.

When I posted about the Georgia Sixth race yesterday morning, I didn’t make a call — whatever for? For Ossoff to win a district in which Tom Price and Newt Gingrich had comfortably ruled since the disco era would have converted several Commie lib atheists. Ossoff’s eventual loss sucks. Losing sucks. But I’m not devastated: as weary as GA 6 might have been of Donald Trump, voters weren’t weary of being Republicans. “What motivated them, they said, were traditional Republican issues: taxes, government spending, and illegal immigration,” John Cassidy writes after studying exit polls. Scott Brown wasn’t elected to his special election until January 2010, months after that horrendous Tea Party summer. I’d forgotten that Dems won seven straight special elections in 2009-10 until Scott Brown’s victory. The South Carolina race results was even more interesting – the Goldman Sachs dude lost by a couple thousand votes! Meanwhile Ossoff ran on far left issues like debt relief, improving technology, and infrastructure repair — you can find those on pg. 456 of Das Kapital. So much for the barking of Blue Dogs. Yet Harold Ford, Jr., one of the few incumbent Democrats to lose a seat in 2006 because he was too obtuse to change his mind about gay marriage, still yammered about supporting the Iraq War, and supported intervention in the Terri Schiavo case — this man a few hours was on Morning Joe lamenting Democratic fealty to the abortion lobby. Finally, when presidents choose legislators for their Cabinet, they go to safe seats. I can’t stress this point enough. For all his imbecility, Donald Trump understood at least this.

We got work to do, and the Democratic National Committee needs to  reconsider shoveling millions at hopeless races when, again, the Goldman Sachs nominee exceeded expectations in the underfunded South Carolina race, but I’m optimistic about 2018. As Dave Wassermann notes, Democrats have cleared forty-six percent of the two-party vote in the last four special elections. Leave moderate Republicans alone. So-called moderate Republicans are polite because they have the patience to wait and name their price.

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Best new songs recorded for a compilation

Contractual obligations notwithstanding, The throwaway origin of songs recorded for greatest hits collections coaxes honesty out of performers; they don’t have time to fuss over strategies. From Saint Etienne’s total acquiescence to Europop conventions and Neil Tennant’s to his sexual impulses to Janet Jackson’s valentine to her fans set seemingly to the melodies of music boxes and 2Pac’s prophetic and bitter farewell to the world.

Their songs are essential to the artist’s catalogs. Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” is essential to life. Stevie Wonder’s two hits written expressly for Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I are a hair’s breath less amazing (and If I’d listened to quiet storm earlier in my life “Ribbon in the Sky” might elbow into this list too!).

1. Earth Wind & Fire – September
2. Stevie Wonder – Do I Do
3. Psychedelic Furs – All That Money Wants
4. New Order – True Faith
5. Kate Bush – Experiment IV
6. Bob Dylan – Watching the River Flow
7. 2Pac – Changes
8. Depeche Mode – Shake The Disease
9. ABBA – The Day Before You Came
10. Outkast – The Whole World
11. Paul Simon – Slip Slidin’ Away
12. Janet Jackson – Runaway
13. Saint Etienne – He’s on the Phone
14. Daryl Hall and John Oates – Say It Isn’t So
15. The Cars – Tonight She Comes
16. Stevie Wonder – That Girl
17. Talking Heads – Lifetime Piling Up
18. Prince – Pink Cashmere
19. Morrissey – Piccadilly Palare
20. Donna Summer – On the Radio
21. Prefab Sprout – The Sound Of Crying
22. Sly and the Family Stone – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
23. Pet Shop Boys – Was It Worth It
24. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Mary Jane’s Last Dance
25. Echo & the Bunnymen – Bring on the Dancing Horses

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Lorde’s melodramatic flair

The grisly state of American chart pop is good news for Lorde, who introduced herself almost four years ago with a song in which she reveled in being out of place and time. Keeping its title promise, Melodrama arrives as a self-contained song suite about the kind of love that makes you, according to one early track, blow up like homemade d-d-d-dynamite. As a critic ambivalent about “Royals” who warmed up to her starting with a Hunger Games soundtrack she oversaw, I want to be careful weighing Melodrama‘s merits. With music and arrangements co-created by Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift’s collaborator on 1989, Melodrama has a tentative, ungainly thump, a combination for which I’ll give Lorde the credit. The template is Swift’s “Blank Space” – the rapped verses, the tick-tock inevitability of its chorus – but the surface sheen wiped with a muddy rag. The tracks are heard as if through mist. Its fragments of big balladry, squelched climaxes, and muttered maxims, familiar to fans of Pure Heroine, get foregrounded. Lorde’s decision to act as the irritant on her own tracks prevents Melodrama from being the top-grade pop album that perhaps Antonoff and definitely her record company want. If she’s going to be a royal, it’s on her terms; listeners have to approach her. Although I wrote “decision,” I don’t know to what extent what I hear is the result of a talented singer-songwriter and hot producer papering over a series of aesthetic shortcomings.

Attitudinally, Melodrama still works as a Pure Heroine sequel: it presents a young woman recognizable from undergrad college courses, perhaps away from home for the first time, discovering cigarettes and the extent of her sexual curiosity. Life changes fast when you’re on the edge of twenty-one. A slow one called “Liability,” indebted to “All the Young Dudes,” delineates a familiar kind of self-loathing – the kind she will renounce four tracks later. It’s all there in “The Louvre.” “I overthink your punctuation use,” she admits shortly after noting half her wardrobe lying on his bedroom floor. She calls herself a sweetheart psychopathic crush. Anchored to one of those rumbling electronic beats co-helmed by Flume and American producer Malay, “The Louvre” would have been a cherry bomb of a single for Demi Lovato a couple years ago or Halsey now, but, again, Lorde steps away from the brink. She’s conscious of her presentation; if she calls herself a sweetheart psychopathic crush, she doesn’t sing like one, even when she tugs at syllables as if they were toffee, a favorite mannerism put to excellently discordant effect throughout. An incongruous guitar, like a wasp on a birthday cake, wails over the outro; Max Martin must be watching his ears. On “Writer in the Dark” she addresses obtuse listeners, of whom there are more than ever in this “narrative”-besotted social media climate, who won’t acknowledge an artist’s liberty to re-imagine biographical detritus; well, Lorde rubs their faces in the bullshit (I hope Swift is listening). “Bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark,” she promises. Then she pulls off a couple of tonal U-turns: voice cracking, she delivers a devastated valentine before signing it, “in our darkest hours, I stumbled on a secret power/I’ll find a way to be without you, babe.” Even sung in Lorde’s thickest warble, the peak of her vocalizing, it’s powerful stuff. If high schoolers still signed yearbooks, those are the lines I hope to see scrawled with bubbled dots for the i’s and exclamation points – a declaration of artistic independence whose consequences Lorde will realize as she gets older.

I still remain ambivalent about “Royals,” and because there’s no reason why a good song couldn’t survive – couldn’t thrive on – an ambivalent response, I’m sure I’ll keep Melodrama around in November. I like her album but she’s still got traveling to do. Having worked Pure Heroine into an old-fashioned sleeper hit just before the era of album-equivalent units, she caught so many of us off guard a redress is inevitable. I think she will record better albums. But she’s so young that I worry she won’t survive another hype cycle. In a way Lorde reminds me of semipopular  figures like Chris Isaak or a Suzanne Vega: artists who got lucky once and settled a couple albums later into quieter career patterns sustained by an immoveable fan base. We don’t live in that era any more, alas; artists can’t live on streams alone. I hope she savors the euphoria of discovery animating “Green Light,” savors the kind of love celebrated in “Supercut” that songwriting turns wild and fluorescent, savors owning this pop moment. The contours of melodrama require vacillations.

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Ossoff v. Handel

Although a local poll shows a tied race between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handle in the Georgia Sixth election, a win for the Republican Handel wouldn’t surprise me. If Ossoff loses, I hope its effect is exfoliating: it should demoralize consultants who still think centrism wins. I suppose I understand the argument that in a GOP-dominated district a Dem candidate has to be wussier, but we should stop wooing Republican voters with diluted Republicanism and offer them liberalism. If the candidate loses anyway, at least we’ll know the half life of liberalism in GOP districts. The following reminds me of last November:

Superficially, Ossoff is going out of his way to avoid alienating such voters, stressing his economic moderation, distancing himself from Nancy Pelosi, and rejecting core lefty policy demands like single-payer health care out of hand.

But his path to Congress remains essentially similar to Clinton’s presumed path to the presidency — relying on the same “new majority” voters that put Obama in the White House. (Clinton only lost the Georgia Sixth by 1 point, which is one reason it has become such a nationally-watched race.) One strategy may wind up working better than the other, but the actual demographic composition of who turns out for Democrats is basically the same for Ossoff as it was for Clinton.

The national Democrats whom Ossoff hopes to join are belatedly awakening to the horrifying nature of what Mitch McConnell is doing with the Senate version of the House’s plan to kill poor people and the old.

At this point in the race, Ossoff’s $50 million haul is best on gas to drive voters to polling stations.

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A point is all that you can score: the best of Trevor Horn

So much of how listeners define the eighties Trevor Horn shaped: orchestras, sampled and live, treated as punctuative noise; the manipulation of artificial sound for rhythmic or melodic ends; understanding the Bowie/Ferry legacy of bombast as expression of genuine emotion. From Grace Jones to Rod Stewart, Horn has done favors for stars in need, and with ZZT Records and the help of NME journalist Paul Morley creating his own stars. In the case of prog stalwarts Yes, Horn recreated them like Unicron did the corpses of dead Decepticons; however, “Leave It” made the final cut, not “Owner of a Lonely Heart” — did Lindsey Buckingham listen to its Muppets vocals when recording “Caroline” and “Tango in the Night”? Also, he understood a particular kind of gay sleaze, an unusual virtue in a putatively straight producer.

1. ABC – Valentine’s Day
2. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes (Hibakusha)
3. Art of Noise – Moments in Love
4. Seal – Crazy
5. t.A.T.u. – All the Things You Said
6. Pet Shop Boys – Left to My Own Devices
7. Godley & Creme – Cry
8. Grace Jones – Slave to the Rhythm
9. Yes – Leave It
10. Dollar – Give Me Back My Heart
11. Rod Stewart -Rhythm of My Heart
12. Belle & Sebastien – Step into My Office, Baby
13. Paul McCartney – Figure of Eight
14. Spandau Ballet – Instinction
15. LeAnn Rimes – Can’t Fight the Moonlight

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Expect no help from the health insurance industry

If Senate Democrats are waking up the imminent reality of the Affordable Care Act’s repeal, they may not find allies in the health industry, Dylan Scott reports:

It’s a deliberate strategy, interviews with nearly 20 lobbyists and other experts suggest. Health industry groups generally don’t love Obamacare enough to jeopardize their ability to shape the rest of the Republican agenda — including big corporate tax cuts. They also fear incurring White House retaliation….

….Further complicating matters, different sectors within the industry have very different stakes in repealing Obamacare and replacing it with the GOP’s plan. Many health insurers are already ambivalent about Obamacare and could see significant tax cuts if the law is rolled back. Doctors and hospitals, on the other hand, could face a surge in uninsured patients if millions fewer Americans have health coverage.

Also known as “Money talks.”

For starters, the House health care bill repeals Obamacare’s various taxes on the industry, totaling nearly $200 billion in tax cuts over 10 years for drug companies, health insurers, and medical device companies.

And what happens if a tax overhaul is scuttled? Some rough back-of-the-napkin math, based on figures from the IRS, suggests the health care industry could see its collective taxes lowered by $2 billion a year if Trump gets his 15 percent corporate tax rate, though there are plenty of caveats until we see a detailed plan. Other parts of a reform plan, such as reducing or eliminating taxes on income earned abroad by American companies, could carry enormous benefits for, say, pharmaceutical companies.

“Pharma is hugely interested in tax reform,” Monk said. “That’s way more impactful to them than whatever happens with AHCA.”

Shoud Mitch McConnell use reconciliation to pass the bill, as seems likely, this bill can’t increase the deficit; that’s the rule. Therefore, the Senate bill will keel the proposed tax cuts in the House bill. That’s McConnell and his side’s MO.

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We are about to attempt a crash landing: the best of Laurie Anderson

I was too young for Laurie Anderson — my college station played “Beautiful Red Dress,” then like a shaft of sunlight in June she vanished, obscured by the storm clouds of bands that sounded like Seattle rock. Honestly, I’m still not a “O Superman” fan, but the single is such a startling assemblage of electronic manipulations and vocal inflection that I hear what listeners in 1981 heard.

Before she even took singing lessons for 1989’s Strange Angels, Anderson had proven herself a master vocalist; I wasn’t sure how to represent United States Live on this list, so I’ll just say the collection needs to be appreciated as a comedy record: she does delight, affected wonder, and, best, coming dread like no one else (I understand why Lou Reed may have adored her). I have more to say about her approach in my review of 2015’s wondrous Heart of a Dog.

1. From the Air
2. Strange Angels
3. Language is a Virus
4. O Superman
5. Only an Expert
6. Sharkey’s Day
7. This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
8. Let X=X/It Tango
9. My Eyes
10. In Our Sleep
11. Beautiful Red Dress
12. Thinking of You
13. Speak My Language
14. Big Science
15. Gravity’s Angels
16. The Lake
17. How to Feel Sad Without Being Sad
18. Langue d’Amour
19. Coolsville
20. Love Among the Sailors

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Movie Love #4

FIRST VIEWING

It Comes At Night, dir. Trey Edward Shults (2017).

Staying Vertical, dir. Alain Guiraudie (2017).

Afterimage, dir. Andrzej Wadja (2016)

Tout Va Bien, dir. Jean-Luc Godard (1972).

By shooting the factory as if it were a set (a nod to Tati’s late films?), Godard underscores the artificiality of management-worker relations in the years after les soixante-huitards ground France to a halt. Jane Fonda (speaking excellent French) and Yves Montand play the couple. One of his least appreciated films, one of his most compelling.

GRADE: A-

Death in Venice, dir. Luchino Visconti ((1971).

First seen in high school when I read Thomas Mann’s short novel, Death in Venice was practically new to me a couple weeks ago; all I remembered were reaction shots of Dirk Bogarde, pout disfigured by powder, watching his beloved Tadzio frolic on the shoreline with companions. I had an idea Visconti wasn’t worth watching after The Stranger either. But his use of Mahler and the languorous tracking shot are imaginative correlatives for Mann’s prose, compensating for the awful flashbacks in which Bogarde’s Aschenbach listens to accusations of coldness from a pompous friend. The hotel lobby and restaurant scenes conjure a diseased subsection of high society; they play like sequels to similar scenes in The Leopard.

GRADE: B+

REWATCHED

John Wick: Chapter 2, dir. Chad Stahelski (2017)

Just when he thought he was out…the Italian mafia wants him back in. Keanu Reeves, in his best role since Speed, fights featureless Euroscum and his inability to squeeze consonants from his throat. Did he Botox his pharynx?

GRADE: B+

Kagemusha, dir. Akira Kurosawa (1980).

A first draft for what he’d realized in Ran: an idea of splendor, a sense that power is ceremonial and thus ephemeral.

GRADE: B

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A doorway to a thousand churches: The best of Peter Gabriel

People aren’t born with good taste; it’s a phenomenon you edge into if you’re lucky. Plenty of kids grew up with KISS and Save Ferris records. Peter Gabriel was my first Serious Crush, and with all due respect to Gene, Paul, Ace, and Peter, I still love the old frog. In the summer of my sophomore year in high school, which coincided with one of those century-long breaks between albums that older Gabriel fans had learned to expect, I checked what was then called Security out of the public library. Tribal drums. Oblique references to Jung. A song called “San Jacinto” boasting i in its last forty-five seconds the creepiest Fairlight sample — some kind of manipulated basso whistle — in recorded music (fans know the one I mean). A song about shocking the monkey that might’ve been about shocking the monkey whose video creeped the fuck out of me as much as the Fairlight sample in “San Jacinto.”

As correctly as carpers have dismissed the eighties as a time of rapine and greed, it was also a period when musicians enjoyed the largess of label recording budgets; if you were a Peter Gabriel, this meant a last shot attempt to exploit growing stardom to make an album that honored his influences. So was a perfect gateway. Fairlights, sure. Also: hi-hats, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, Youssou N’Dour, the poetry of Anne Sexton. In “Sledgehammer” Gabriel wrote and sang the only convincing Otis Redding homage by an English public school graduate. With “In Your Eyes” he created John Cusack and Ione Skye for the purpose of watching them fall in love to a song about the kind of desire from which doorways to a thousand churches, light, and heat spring. In some ways “In Your Eyes” is one of the subtlest of Bowie tributes. Think about it: the church of man-love is such a holy place to be.

Three years passed before he released a lumbering, sincere record About Relationships. Anticipation led to a high chart placement for US — it’s hart to remember that Peter Gabriel was a genuine star in 1992 — before the mass audience he’d gained in 1986 realized “Steam” wasn’t another “Sledgehammer,” although, boy, did it try. As my interest in most of his records waned, I still listened to Passion. This ostensible soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ celebrates relationships too: Gabriel’s to music from many lands. Unlike his forebears he respects distance; he’s an art school rocker who used to dress as a flower, after all. Turns out this distance gives him the proper respect for the sounds of Zaire, Sudan, Morocco, and Ethiopia. Passion contains the most committed music of Gabriel’s career. Even when the arrangements get bombastic, he’s generous enough to allow the players to do it on their own terms. Often the synthesis of Gabriel’s keyboard and percussion effects and these native players is breathtaking. Check it out.

1. Shock the Monkey
2. Mercy Street
3. Solsbury Hill
4. Here Comes the Flood
5. A Different Drum
6. No Self-Control
7. Not One of Us
8. Red Rain
9. I Don’t Remember
10. Zaar
11. Sledgehammer
12. Games Without Frontiers
13. Don’t Give Up
14. Washing of the Water
15. Of These, Hope
16. Blood of Eden
17. In Your Eyes
18. San Jacinto
19. And Through the Wire
20. This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)
21. D.I.Y.
22. Digging in the Dirt
23. Moribund the Burgermeister
24. Wall of Breath
25. I Have the Touch
26. Kiss of Life
27. Secret World
28. On the Air
29. Walk Through the Fire
30. Wallflower

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