We’ll get by, I suppose — a farewell to 2016 and all that

On the last day of 2016, I can’t dispel the mephitic vapors of an autumn that in South Florida never cooled and an election season that didn’t and won’t end. I published some of my finest work. I read, deeply, discovering Lorrie Moore and at last finishing Thomas Mann’s Joseph tetralogy. I’m at the apexContinue reading “We’ll get by, I suppose — a farewell to 2016 and all that”

2016: the year in singles

Every year I announce I’ve reviewed more singles than ever, and I’m not wrong. I’m also doing more sit-ups than ever. Below are the original scores of every tune I’ve reviewed at The Singles Jukebox. I’ve kept the original grades despite the adjustments that radio listening have demanded I make — not that top fortyContinue reading “2016: the year in singles”

Best albums of 2016 — full list

The full list: 1. KING – We are KING 2. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition 3. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service 4. Miranda Lambert – The Weight of These Wings 5. Maxwell – blackSUMMERSNIGHT 6. Britney Spears – Glory 7. Rae Sremmurd – Sremmlife 2 8.Continue reading “Best albums of 2016 — full list”

Best albums of 2016 – Part Five

4. Miranda Lambert – The Weight of These Wings In October I thought the second disc was a disappointment after the masterful second. Now I need it all, even the song about the Tin Man and the dear old sun. Big, beautiful, as responsive to affection as a willing heart, The Weight of These WingsContinue reading “Best albums of 2016 – Part Five”

The best of 2016 — Part four

8. Fantasia –The Definition Of… I understand Idol worship is not the stuff of which “narratives” are made, not when a hep industry cat can admit to a homosexual crush using Notepad; otherwise he sings about love and loss with as much conviction and less skill as anyone in R&B. Would that Fantasia inspire similarContinue reading “The best of 2016 — Part four”

Best albums of 2016 – Part Three

12. Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP A few days ago Blank Face LP sat in the bottom half of my top ten. Replays undermined my case. Its weaknesses are its strengths, though, the sprawl reflecting an imagination struggling over the age-old conundrum: is description criticism? As I wrote in July, It’s hard to figureContinue reading “Best albums of 2016 – Part Three”

Best albums of 2016 – Part Two

16. Brandy Clark – Big Day in a Small Town Her debut an intelligent bore, Brandy Clark’s sophomore album is the equivalent of a defibrillator. She does disco-inflected country (“Girl Next Door”), sarcasm-crazed Loudon Wainwright (“Daughter”), and well-lit melancholy (“Three Kids and No Husband”). Still too infatuated with details, but she’s singing as if sheContinue reading “Best albums of 2016 – Part Two”

Best albums of 2016 – Part One

20. Bonnie Raitt — Dig in Deep “Because [she] has never sounded young or shown much interest in courting the youth market, she has stood in place waiting for us to age into the experiences depicted in her best material,” I wrote earlier this year in a Red Bull Music Academy piece about five goodContinue reading “Best albums of 2016 – Part One”

Best singles of 2016

I’m gonna make it through this year if it kills me. So many friends have muttered John Darnielle’s line since the the death of David Bowie augured an unusually brutal year, culminating, of course, in the debacle on November 8. Up until that point, I must say, 2016 had been excellent for me: professionally, aesthetically,Continue reading “Best singles of 2016”

Best singles of 2016 — first half

When a singer of average voice create or stumbles over a moment that cracks the porcelain of mildness, it can move me more than six Martina McBrides singing “Breakfast in Bed.” I expect few to love Chilean performer Alex Anwandter’s “Siempre es Viernes en Mi Corazon” as much as I; perhaps it takes a lapsedContinue reading “Best singles of 2016 — first half”

Rolling best albums 2016 — first quarter

No metal and not enough country, but when Brandy Clark unleashes Big Day in a Small Town soon none of my readers will be sorry. This post accompanies the singles list I shared a couple weeks ago, in no order. Most of these I’ve reviewed or will be for publications or HTV. KING – TheContinue reading “Rolling best albums 2016 — first quarter”