Tag Archives: Lists

X-rated music, and adult books too — the best of X

The L.A. equivalent of Fleetwood Mac, X boasted a powerful rhythm section and a bassist and singer who sang to and about each other, even when the scenarios were fiction. Meanwhile a guitarist in Billy Zoom with a bag full … Continue reading

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I’m counting the grains and they’re so sharp: the best of Wire

Well, I figured Graham Lewis and Colin Newman deserved a snotty reappraisal. My piece on Wire’s 154 triggered a a week’s worth of hate (e)mail when such things existed. Intended as provocation, the essay pretends the rest of Wire’s career … Continue reading

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Don’t patronize me: the best of Bonnie Raitt

“Because Raitt 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 in a Red Bull Music … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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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. … Continue reading

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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, … Continue reading

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The way that you flip your hair: the best of One Direction

Although I don’t believe homo sapiens as species has improved, in this century we expect hotels to offer attractive bars serving cocktails with fresh ingredients and restaurants that can properly bake Brussels sprouts. We also expect boy bands to offer … Continue reading

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Pay heed and disbelieve: the best of Willie Nelson

Here’s to a pioneer, an avatar for ambition disguised as languor, a master singer who can teach poets where to stress syllables. I saw him in 2005 and his “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” could have taught headliner Bob … Continue reading

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Hmmmummmmmm: the best of My Bloody Valentine

I have a few comments about shoegaze, but I’ve filed a review of a certain band’s new album that recorded those comments. I’m no aficionado, though, and I didn’t listen to Isn’t Anything until a decade ago; the 2012 remaster … Continue reading

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Best films of the 21st century – so far

Here is my response to A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis’ much-abused list. We’ve got some overlap, although I left documentaries off because they deserve their own ranking; that’s where you’d find In Jackson Heights, The Gleaners, Capturing the Friedmans, Stories … Continue reading

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Happy in happy extremes: the best of Aztec Camera

After 1980 Bowie didn’t produce any albums not made by Iggy Pop, and Roddy Frame was neither a session guitarist nor song doctor — your choices, bros. A performer of enormous talent and charm, Frame released a near-perfect debut and … Continue reading

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