Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music

January 22, 2010

The Music in My Head 12

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A while ago I began wondering if I might use music to my advantage somehow. Because if music exerts the sway over us that I think it does, I might use it to help me ignore the distractions of the outside world.

December 15, 2009

All The Single Ladies: The Problem with Feminist Anthems 17

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Perhaps “Single Ladies” can’t be a feminist anthem because, to reduce it to a rallying cry, a slogan, does not acknowledge it for the complex song that it is.

November 23, 2009

Phil Spector: Guilty of Creating the Greatest Christmas Album Ever 6

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Released on the day JFK was assassinated, Spector’s album ended up being a much-needed dose of joy in a dark and confusing time.

November 6, 2009

This Is Michael Jackson 12

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What could be more compelling than film footage of the King of Pop so clearly not meant for our eyes?

August 31, 2009

Matt & Kim, Beat & Beckett 3

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Matt and Kim’s “5K” video speaks much more intelligently of our culture’s resurgent love of vampires than does the idiotic and thieving Twilight series.

July 24, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #4: Serenaded by Jonathan Richman 2

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Jonathan Richman, along with his long-time drummer Tommy Larkins, took the stage, strummed his acoustic guitar and began to sing. Nothing. The mikes weren’t working. Where other performers, and indeed lesser legends, might have turned diva, Jonathan simply announced – loudly, to make up for the microphone – that he and the techies would confer […]

July 23, 2009

What’s Not to Like? The Pains of Being Pure at Heart 2

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Oh, to be so winsome as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart! All aspects of the unwieldily named indie pop quartet are uniformly captivating – their music, their lyrics, their persons, their demeanor on stage and in interviews – and newspapers and blogs from their home city (New York) to LA and San Fran […]

July 10, 2009

From Wilco, With Love 11

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For this latest record, Tweedy seems ready to accentuate the positive, even if that old bleak outlook does occasionally cloud over the proceedings.

April 27, 2009

Musical Exercise: Creating Literary Soundtracks 5

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Some books just demand a soundtrack – they either are about music and musicians or music is threaded through the book like a character. Pandora, one of several sites where you can create your own radio stations, has long been a daily musical companion of mine, but recently I’ve been thinking of it as a […]

April 6, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #3: Sidelined By Pete Doherty 1

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This isn’t the music post I’d planned on writing today. I was going to tell you all about the time a certain British guitar legend from the 60s shouted at me and a friend (yes, at us – specifically at us) across a packed hall in Greenwich Village eleven years ago. I was all set […]