Shut Up, Already. Damn!

As ubiquitous as Prince was in the 1980s (you could not escape the reach of his brilliant songs if you tried) I’ve always been a little behind the rest of the crowd when it comes to fully appreciating much of his work. I had 1999 on cassette back in 1984, I thought it was pretty […]

Read More Shut Up, Already. Damn!

“They Gotta Catch Me if They Want Me to Hang”: Back in Black Turns 40

“I’m a rolling thunder, pouring rain / I’m coming on like a hurricane / My lightning’s flashing across the sky / You’re only young, but you’re gonna die…” It’s fitting that AC/DC’s magnum opus begins with an apocalyptic line that echoes the self-mythologizing blues lyrics of Robert Johnson and Howlin’ Wolf. After all, the Australian […]

Read More “They Gotta Catch Me if They Want Me to Hang”: Back in Black Turns 40

50 Years of Heavy Metal

The sound of a torrential downpour. The slow tolling of a church bell. The unsettling, three-note tritone riff sequence that embodied the mythical diabolus in musica: G, G, C#. “What is this that stands before me? Figure in black which points at me. Turn ’round quick and start to run. Find out I’m the chosen […]

Read More 50 Years of Heavy Metal

The 2019 Album of the Year

Lana Del Rey, Norman Fucking Rockwell! (Polydor/Interscope) Back in the mid-2010s I attended a panel discussion whose topic was something to the effect of, “Why are there no classic albums anymore, and what makes a true classic album?” There was a lot of good discussion, but the conversation kept drifting away from the crux of […]

Read More The 2019 Album of the Year

The 2019 Track of the Year

Charly Bliss, “Chatroom” Like so many great rock and pop songs, Charly Bliss’s gloriously hooky “Chatroom” is rooted in dark subject matter. According to singer/guitarist Eva Hendricks, the song was written in the wake of being sexually assaulted, in which blinding rage steadily morphs into empowering joy. Featuring verses that seethe with anger (“Everybody knows […]

Read More The 2019 Track of the Year

The Best Albums of 2019, #4

4. Tool, Fear Inoculum (Tool Dissectional) Back in 2006, a veritable lifetime ago, I reviewed Tool’s sixth album. I wasn’t overly fond of, if I can recall. Coming five years after the triumphant Lateralus, 10,000 Days had its great moments but I found it far too drawn out, too meandering to warrant a full recommendation, […]

Read More The Best Albums of 2019, #4