Tag Archives: Lists

But not for me: the best of Devo

As subcultural phenoms, nourished by a cult whose fervor wasn’t quite enough to get them any substantial airplay after 1984, Devo never went away. Like “Don’t You Want Me,” “Whip It” survives beyond the memories of pop radio listeners and … Continue reading

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The best heist films

A heist film involves a crime, dastardly characters, some of whom with hearts of gold, and an often comic/violent resolution. In the nineties, thanks to Quentin Tarantino, Hollywood inundated audiences with terrible imitations. As usual I wasn’t looking for a … Continue reading

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The best of Jean-Luc Godard

Michael Gebert’s “He made sense when you or the whole world was twenty-one,” is the best line of criticism I’ve read about the restless innovator, still making movies that defy categorization and narrative. He’s the benign ghost in Agnes Varda’s … Continue reading

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Okay, so you’re Brad Pitt: the best of Shania Twain!

I swear, I broke the 1 key on my phone punching these exclamation points! When Shania Twain released her first album in 1993, no one expected the Ontario native to become a gazillion-selling avatar for G-rated feminine self-reliance! The Woman … Continue reading

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The sad, sad truth the dirty lowdown: the best of Boz Scaggs

A smooth motherfucker, Boz Scaggs took the eighties off as Silk Degrees kept selling, eventually settling on a quintuple platinum cert. The thick froggy catch in his voice compensates for an anonymous but considerable guitar prowess and a recessive personality … Continue reading

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Some things will never change: the best of the Meat Puppets

These unwashed burnouts produced a methamphetamined acoustic punk in the eighties for which I can only think of The Feelies circa The Good Earth as an analogue (these days I hear the influence in The Men and not much else). … Continue reading

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She showed me a beach, gave me a peach: the best of LL Cool J

For a full decade, James Todd Smith followed a pattern: chastened by the commercial performance of his last album (Walking Like a Panther, 14 Shots to the Dome, Phenomenon), he’d recalibrate and try something else: more ballads if necessary, more … Continue reading

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I had a crap gin and tonic, it wounded me: the best of Stephen Malkmus

Carrying himself as an elegant bachelor wounded by crap gin and tonics, Stephen Malkmus was the ideal rock aesthete. A Stockton prince damaged by John Ashbery’s The Double Dream of Spring. A Fall fan who loved soloing like Jerry Garcia. … Continue reading

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I’m not done looking yet: the best of Ani DiFranco 1993-2001 (more or less)

You think I’ve listened to every note? Neither have you. No other great singer-songwriter in the last twenty years requires un-judicious pruning (Conor Oberst, meh). Her headline-grabbing politics, right-on explorations of sexual tactics, excellent acoustic guitar strumming and picking will … Continue reading

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Just fuck me, kitten: Automatic for the People ranked

Happy twenty-fifth birthday to Automatic for the People, the album on which R.E.M.’s surging popularity peaked around a minor key, death-drenched song suite. But a deeply strange song suite, let’s get that straight, haunted by Montgomery Clift and Dr. Seuss, … Continue reading

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Best boomer New Wave

The death of Tom Petty, marketed as New Wave because record companies had no idea what to do with fast tempos in a rock context during the Carter era, made me think about the best songs by men and women … Continue reading

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Everything will fall right into place: the best of Modest Mouse

Besides “Waiting for Mary,” Pere Ubu never came within a hair of grazing the American charts until Modest Mouse watched as “Float On,” buoyed by a classic pop hook, dominated the early spring and summer of 1990. Then We Were … Continue reading

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