It’s a celebration: El Debarge’s Second Chance.

El Debarge and Liliput have one thing in common: I would never have listened to them without the nudging of critics. Because I grew up with “Rhythm of the Night,” “Who’s Johnny,” and “Who’s Holding Donna Now,” these songs are beyond criticism — and beyond praise. As my teen years fade in closeness but notContinue reading “It’s a celebration: El Debarge’s Second Chance.”

Pazz and Jop singles chart: Abandon hope all ye who enter

Al Shipley examines the Pazz and Jop’s singles chart with a cold eye and finds a disturbing development: “Today’s Pazz & Jop electorate has a much harder time engaging with the charts,” as in, the pop charts: Granted, you may think that pop music is at a nadir right now, and critics are right toContinue reading “Pazz and Jop singles chart: Abandon hope all ye who enter”

Fingertips hurt puttin that work in: Ghostface Killah’s Apollo Kids

I knew something was awry when Black Thought whipped Ghost on the latter’s own track. Named after one of his classic singles (albeit one released more than ten years ago), the brief Apollo Kids shows a rapper whose dense, rapidfire delivery remains as compelling as ever, but trapped in songs filled to bursting with guestsContinue reading “Fingertips hurt puttin that work in: Ghostface Killah’s Apollo Kids”

A Second Thought: 2010

The relatively sane people who don’t dedicate themselves to criticism must assume we’re born having listened to, watched, and read everything. The reality is more banal: we’re constantly playing catch-up. I don’t think we do a good enough job reminding our readers about discovering older stuff that we overlooked or for which we once hadContinue reading “A Second Thought: 2010”

#4. The-Dream – Love King In retrospect I overrated last year’s Love vs. Money, a electro-stutter-plagued trudge through Terius Nash’ boring love life, for which he employed colorless Mariah and Kanye cameos.  Love King is yet another electro-stutter-plagued trudge through Terius Nash’ boring love life, with a crucial difference: he’s imbibed enough of his idolsContinue reading