The best songs about fashion

Among the horrors of the ’90s was listening rock star interviews in which they professed to admit they didn’t care for fashion. Even acknowledging that every generation reacts against its predecessors, this seemed like an unnecessary self-immolation, for the era’s long-sleeved flannel shirt and the stone-washed jeans signified all their own, yet these dumb clucksContinue reading “The best songs about fashion”

The best stretch of good albums

I suppose after a few days of idleness I needed a spur, and I thought about the artists whom I loved and their streaks. Loath as I am to give a shit about Perfect Albums, I asked, “How many of my favorites recorded albums with uninterrupted streaks of listenability and versatility for several years?” And:Continue reading “The best stretch of good albums”

They say you’ve got a broken heart: The best kiss-off tunes

I could triple this list, but I must deal with the rigors of a playlist, i.e. what the human ear can stand. Ornery, cute, a product of the American demotic, “Fist City” is what I want from a diss track. Almost as wonderful is Bananarama’s third and last American top ten: “I Heard a Rumour,”Continue reading “They say you’ve got a broken heart: The best kiss-off tunes”

The best title tracks pt II

I wanted no artists who appeared on my last list, but luckily the rock/R&B tradition provides many examples of albums named after title tracks. An R&B chart #1 in early ’87, “Give Me the Reason” shows Luther Vandross’ strengths: expressing himself within technological limits, in this case MIDI programming. Sinead O’Connor and Loretta Lynn triumphedContinue reading “The best title tracks pt II”

Songs about groupies

As long as rock ‘n’ roll has existed, sexual imbalance has defined the star and the fans. When rock was here to stay in the sixties, what we call the groupie became institutionalized, for better or worse — and often, invariably, worse. A gruesome subject regardless, rife with exploitation: an example of dark and goldenContinue reading “Songs about groupies”

Ranking #42 singles, US edition: 1980-1989

“A Kind of Magic” is my favorite Queen song. Contemptuous at the sub-literate writing and cocker spaniel acting in the American Queer as Folk, I collapsed like a fool long ago when Brian, the sybarite with the beestung mouth of a closeted Reagan-era henchman, and the young Justin, who has always loved him, dance atContinue reading “Ranking #42 singles, US edition: 1980-1989”

Ranking #45 singles, US edition: 1980-1989

To realize that perennials like “Juicy Fruit” and “I Want to Break Free” got no access to the American top 40 is to endure brain death thinking about which songs did get in. Former Miles Davis keyboardist James Mtume’s squiggly, squishy, sticky wormhole went #1 R&B and hung around in the ether long enough forContinue reading “Ranking #45 singles, US edition: 1980-1989”

Songs about hangovers

No surer sign of approaching enfeeblement exists than the human body’s ability to defend itself against rapacious fucks like me who like mixing drinks. Contrary to my popular image, I did not develop a taste for cocktails beyond the gin and tonic and the occasional martini until my thirties, after which I had limited timeContinue reading “Songs about hangovers”