James Joyce’s Bloomin’ Valentine

But sometimes you get the real thing, as with James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Like Chinese Democracy and Vineland, Finnegans Wake took 17 years, as everybody wondered how Joyce could follow a masterpiece like Ulysses. The Wake inspired a book of critical essays before it even came out, based on the “Work in Progress” fragments he published in lit mags. But when the Wake arrived, the … Continue reading James Joyce’s Bloomin’ Valentine


Anthony Easton: At first I was sad that the production obscured her voice, but it’s in the same sub-genre as KLF and Tammy or Pet Shop Boys and Dusty, and those are some of my favourite things. It is less isolating than those examples, but incredibly intimate, the same otherness of Scott Walker, and perhaps the same rejection of pop history, but with the artifice stripped instead of … Continue reading Petulia


“‘Who’s Crying Now,’ the hit single off Journey’s hit LP, isn’t super hip, super deep or even real, real hooky. But it does sound good. What I’m talking about is the way the song’s soft, soapy bass redeems its soft, dopey sentiment by diving beneath tiny fillips of acoustic guitar and bubbling up around a dream-sized dollop of fat harmonies. Every shimmery cymbal tick pays … Continue reading Journey

Ewing on Stone Roses

Tom Ewing, refreshingly sane on one of the more puzzling phenomena of Brit-pop: the (cue hushed tones among folks of a certain vintage and haircut) first Stone Roses album. (Weirdly, I probably give more credence to the quiet-pretty-folky parts of the Roses than Ewing does, though I’d still rank the album a 6 instead of a 7.) You know how people always talk about how … Continue reading Ewing on Stone Roses

On Hating the F*&%ing Eagles

Steven Hyden revisits the Eagles greatest hits collection (AV Club): One of the most influential rock critics of the last couple of decades doesn’t write for Rolling Stone, Spin, or Pitchfork; he’s not a writer at all, actually, or even a real person. You could call this figure the man for his time and place. Even if he’s a lazy man — and this person … Continue reading On Hating the F*&%ing Eagles

Roots of Metal

Sandy Pearlman, reviewing the Stones’s Got Live if You Want It! in issue #8 of Crawdaddy! (March 1967): On this album the Stones go metal. Technology is in the saddle — as an ideal and as a method. A mechanically hysterical audience is matched to a mechanically hysterical sound. Side two of the album is a metal side. Most mechanical. It has the historic “Last … Continue reading Roots of Metal