Tag Archives: Unspooled

On the Communards’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way”

A synth pop act covering a Giorgio Moroder-helmed electronic piece was one thing; keeping the spirit of Thelma Houston’s biggest hit with falsetto was another. It’s to Richard Cole and Jimmy Somerville’s credit that they wanted “Don’t Leave Me This … Continue reading

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I really really really really really zig-a-zig-ahh: Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”

Tom Ewing arrives at Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” a single whose impact in America paled beside what the British experienced. Spicemania wasn’t an American phenomenon; we could barely tell the Spices apart. A couple of facts: we got “Wannabe” almost six … Continue reading

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U2′s War: “It…felt like being hit on the head with a rolled-up copy of the Christian Science Monitor for forty-two minutes.”

I don’t care much for War, and Marcello explains why: So U2 felt moved to prove they were Men. The cover star of War – Peter Rowen, who had also been the cover star of Boy some twenty-nine months earlier … Continue reading

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If a love song could climb over mountains: Bowie’s “Absolute Beginners”

David Bowie essaying a straightforward love song is usually cause to head for the hills (rather like learning that Paul McCartney will record one of those I’m-gonna-play-all-the-instruments-cuz-I’m-a-pop-genius albums he does from time to time). Generally the poseur is most moving … Continue reading

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Look but don’t touch in paradise

I’ve recorded how I came to Ferry/Bowie-inspired British music at the nadir of its popularity: the early nineties. In the summer of 1996, I swallowed a beer and performed ABC’s “The Look of Love” at karaoke. Every mirror move I’d … Continue reading

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Linda Ronstadt forced from singing by Parkinson’s: a couple thoughts

Linda Ronstadt’s seventies output — a series of albums starting with 1974′s Heart Like a Wheel that made her the biggest female rock star in the world — is uneven as hell but over the years I’ve come to love … Continue reading

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Something happens and I’m head over heels: Best of 1985

Often dismissed as the hangover after two years of consecutive partying, 1985 does indeed have explaining to do on both the British and American charts. However, I still had no trouble finding plenty of R&B and dance tracks I adore, … Continue reading

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Best of 1990

A Facebook exercise forced me to cough up the following twelve best albums of 1990, but I had more fun compiling the singles, whose order of consequence I’m not wedded to. Spot the disparities between the lists, the biggest of … Continue reading

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Hot 100 Top Ten Singles 8/9/2003

1. Beyonce ft. Jay-Z – Crazy in Love 2. Chingy – Right There 3. Ashanti – Rock Wit U (Awww Baby) 4. Lil’ Kim ft 50 Cent – Magic Stick 5. Matchbox 20 – Unwell 6. Lumidee – Never Leave … Continue reading

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Twenty years ago today: Top ten 8/14/93

These songs made the Hot 100 top ten twenty years ago: 1. UB40 – Can t Help Falling In Love (From “Sliver”) 2. Tag Team – Whoomp! (There It Is) 3. SWV – Weak 4. The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna … Continue reading

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Robert Palmer: a chameleon’s chameleon

Robert Palmer was one of my first musical crushes. Before Bryan Ferry did in 1993, Palmer fascinated me with the distance between his exquisite surface and the exquisite surfaces he presented as music. He had pipes, looks, smarts (I still … Continue reading

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Fans are gonna pay for your crashed car

Rob’s essay on Zooropa clashes with my understanding of history: Zooropa may have confounded fans, but it was of a piece with Achtung Baby, with which it shares sonic affinities. The outlier is Pop, by any standard a flop in … Continue reading

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