Articles by Philip Eil

May 15, 2015

The Corporate Drug Cartel: On Sam Quinones’s ‘Dreamland’ 4

Quinones adds layers of nauseating detail: the exorbitant bonuses for Purdue salespeople who peddled OxyContin to primary-care docs under-trained in treating chronic pain; the promotional videos that under-reported the pill’s addictive potential; the OxyContin-branded hats, toys, mugs, golf balls, CDs, pads, and pens that rained down on doctors.

April 6, 2012

Becoming James Brown: On RJ Smith’s The One 3

What Brown wanted to do was lay down a strutting, macho anthem marked by explosions of brass and a guitar that sounds like chrome wheels spinning. He hums a melody to the sax player and a bass line to the bassist. He thumps out a beat for the drummer. He watches a trumpet player struggle, fires him, then re-hires him moments later. And when the singer is ready, he screams out a set of lyrics scratched on a sheet of paper. The song is called “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”