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 rehearsed in three years came on cue. The crowd loved it, I must admit. IContinue reading “Look but don’t touch in paradise”

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 Simple Dreams, bits of Hasten Down The Wind, and a few singles that aren’t studiedContinue reading “Linda Ronstadt forced from singing by Parkinson’s: a couple thoughts”

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 You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh) 7. 50 Cent – P.I.M.P. 8. Black-Eyed Peas – WhereContinue reading “Hot 100 Top Ten Singles 8/9/2003”

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 Be (500 Miles) 5. Onyx – Slam 6. Jodeci – Lately 7. Tony Toni ToneContinue reading “Twenty years ago today: Top ten 8/14/93”

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 giggle at Palmer squeezing “You’re obliged to conform” into the bridge of “Simply Irresistible”), andContinue reading “Robert Palmer: a chameleon’s chameleon”

Fans are gonna pay for your crashed car: the glitz of U2’s “Zooropa”

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 America: number one on career momentum, sure, but one top ten single that tumbled outContinue reading “Fans are gonna pay for your crashed car: the glitz of U2’s “Zooropa””

I’m a lengthy monologue: Iggy Pop’s New Values

Phil Freeman, one of my favorite rock critics, reexamines Iggy Pop’s New Values, released in 1979 after Ig’s Bowie collaborations and on which he writes almost every song himself as if to prove he can do things himself. I bought it recently. The surprise was seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sideman Scott Thurston playingContinue reading “I’m a lengthy monologue: Iggy Pop’s New Values”

Yoko’s approximately infinite world of sound

Skeptics of Yoko Ono’s power to hold musical interest — quite a few remain, alas — are directed to Approximately Infinite Universe. This 1973 album, boasting John Lennon on guitar, is the closest Ono, well, approximated studio rock verities until Double Fantasy, 1980’s collaboration with John. 

Break, break, break away those ties: Savage

Gleeful, acerbic, at times leaden, Savage is Eurythmics’ best record after 1983’s Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). What support I hope to rally will probably number in the half dozen; outside the ghetto of eighties radio the duo just aren’t popular these days (inspect the devastating comments on Tom Ewing’s Freaky Trigger entry forContinue reading “Break, break, break away those ties: Savage”

I’ll write for you: Bryan Adams

Tom has a go at Bryan Adams’ laboriously titled (Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” which spent sixteen weeks at Number One in England — an unsurpassed record. Adducing his good sportsmanship and dedication, he listens to it sixteen times and posts his reactions. His conclusions? “I still find it quite hard toContinue reading “I’ll write for you: Bryan Adams”

Patrick Bateman, step away from my laptop.

I would not have thought it possible that No Jacket Required would sound like a sparkling pop album in 2010. The paradigm for the Sparkling Pop Album has shifted in favor of youth. Part of NJR’s charm is listening to a dorky never-been having fun with sampling keyboards, a mixing board, effects pedals, and aContinue reading “Patrick Bateman, step away from my laptop.”