Dirty Work: ‘a tattered, embarrassed triumph’

As the online bone structure of Stylus Magazine begins to fray like an undusted dinosaur skeleton in a museum, I’ve taken to scanning, printing, and caching my archives. I’ll post them from time to time. One of my first pieces was this reconsideration of the most reviled Stones album. High on zealotry, I made a… More Dirty Work: ‘a tattered, embarrassed triumph’

Poptometry

Ten days after EMP PopCon kicked off a poptimism discussion that continues unabated, and while any discussion concerns at best a coterie of a coterie, one of the loudest complaints comes from those who think the pop 1 percent get the word count: You won. One Direction pieces get assigned; what’s the problem? Those responses… More Poptometry

On poptimism, ubiquity, and Rod McKuen: EMP Pop Conference 2015

Flying home from another EMP Pop Conference while my seat companion laughs aloud reading David Baldacci provides a good chance to think about the opening keynote panel on Thursday, April 15, often the conference’s intellectual ballast. This year’s opening night subject was the rockism vs poptimism debate. A comment by Joshua Clover two days later… More On poptimism, ubiquity, and Rod McKuen: EMP Pop Conference 2015

The bus rides and the nowhere to go: Sinatra

Shuja Haider’s preface before his ranking of Sinatra’s great albums: Sinatra is the most authentic interpreter of these songs because his voice and personality, iconic as they are, exist only in service to them. He sounds so familiar now it’s hard to hear his innovation, but give some of of the less distinguished pop singers… More The bus rides and the nowhere to go: Sinatra

R.E.M.’s Monster: ‘We were at the absolute peak of our fame.’

I don’t have much time for R.E.M. these days, but Monster is for me one of their records least tainted by historicity. Twenty years later I’m an even bigger appreciator of the filters used to create distance between Michael Stipe and the band in “I Took Your Name” and “Crush With Eyeliner.” Those tunes and… More R.E.M.’s Monster: ‘We were at the absolute peak of our fame.’