1989, Books, Fiction

And the Ass Saw the Angel (1989) by Nick Cave

Nick Cave is both one of my favourite songwriters and, I think, one of the great songwriters of the era. (He is in my 20th century songwriting canon.) But I don’t think too many would argue that he has greatly improved as a songwriter from when he first started out in the Boys Next Door …

2000, Music

Let’s Get Ready (2000) by Mystikal

When I first started purposely listening to hip hop about 5 years ago, the idea that a rapper had charisma was something I couldn’t really stomach. As a music fan I am primarily a fan of chops and, for me, vocal chops had to do with singing, not rhyming. I didn’t understand flow and I …

2000, Music

Music (2000) by Madonna

For one of the few times in my life, I can actually say I’ve heard the previous Madonna record before listening to this one, so it gives me context that I normally wouldn’t have. (Normally my context would be “I remember the hit singles.” And I do! But I’ve actually listened to Ray of Light.)

2000, Music

Felt Mountain (2000) by Goldfrapp

The British really did like a certain sound circa the turn of the millennium. It was one I was entirely oblivious to, living in rural Quebec, even though I had what was then an incredible internet connection. I suspect some of my radio station friends were into stuff like this, but I was honestly unaware.

2000, Music

The Teaches of Peaches (2000)

Remember electroclash? It felt like such a big deal for a couple of years there, but I must say I tried to pay as little attention as possible. I was super into prog rock, and post rock, and I was getting into jazz and “classical”, and I had no taste for minimalist things. And, also, …

2000, Music

Hearbreaker (2000) by Ryan Adams

Faithless Street (specifically the expanded edition from 3 years later) is one of my favourite albums of the 1990s and easily my favourite alt country album of all time. I went through a phase where I was chasing that dragon a bit, listening to the other Whiskeytown records and some Adams solo stuff, and never …

1995, Music

The Gold Experience (1995) by O(+>

I can’t claim to know Prince’s catalogue that well, especially since the ’80s. So you can’t take what I say as gospel. But, listening to this, I’m inclined to agree with the critical consensus that says it’s his best record of the ’90s (or one of them). There may well be better ones, of course, …

Music

See You on the Other Side (1995) by Mercury Rev

Transition albums often have a bad rap. Of course, we usually only know they are transition records in hindsight so it must be that we retroactively apply the term. That or maybe some critic guesses extremely well at the time. (I really doubt it, though.)

1995, Music

Up (1995) by Great Big Sea

There have been a lot of bands like this over the years. “Celtic rock” has existed since the ’70s and folk punk came not long after that. This particular band might be relatively unique given their focus on Newfoundland but I doubt it. (I have spent very little time in Newfoundland but I suspect there …

2020, TV

Eco-Challenge is Now The World’s Toughest Race

My favourite first wave reality show, Eco-Challenge – the only returned this summer as The World’s Toughest Race now hosted by Bear Grylls. (It’s on Amazon Prime if you’re interested.) I loved this show when it was on and, for years, sort of assumed that nobody else had watched as, when I described it to …

2020, Movies, Sports

4 Issues You Have To Overlook In Sports Films

We all have our favourite sports movies. But it’s fair to say that there’s a lot that Hollywood ultimately gets wrong about our favourite sports. That’s why documentaries like The Last Dance feel like such a breath of fresh air. It provides an honest perspective of the game. So, let’s run down some of the …

2017, Books

Canadian Whisky, Second Edition: The New Portable Expert (2017) by Davin de Kergommeaux

I’m Canadian but I know every little about Canadian whisky. For most of my adult life I’ve definitely conflated “rye” and “Canadian” and only knew that some whiskies were Canadian through osmosis. Aside from a period of drinking “CC & G” as my go-to cocktail and another period of always having Wiser’s at home (usually …

1990, Music

Heaven or Las Vegas (1990) by Cocteau Twins

The Cocteau Twins, arguably the inventors of dream pop, have an inimitable sound. On their early records I find that sound a little too reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees but, at this stage of their career, I find that comparison basically useless. Bands with such distinct sounds, who I don’t love enough to listen …

1990, Music

Mama Said Knock You Out (1990) by LL Cool J

Before he was an actor, LL Cool J always struck me as a rapper with less weight. I don’t really know if I heard much of his music beyond the title track here, but the moment I learned what LL Cool J stood for, I smirked and I couldn’t take him seriously. (Not that this …

1990, Music

Jordan: The Comeback (1990) by Prefab Sprout

Note: This album has nothing to do with Michael Jordan. It’s always weird coming to a critically acclaimed album by a band you’ve basically never heard a note of in your entire life. I was like 6 or 7 when Prefab Sprout had their big hit, and it was a hit in the UK. I …

1990, Music

Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990) by George Michael

More than his debut album, this record strikes me as the work of a singer-songwriter, one who also happens to be an incredibly dynamic performer, and a multi-instrumentalist. I’ve only listened to Faith a couple of times, but this feels more personal. And I must say I like it more. As an aside: the fact …

2020, Politics, Psychology, Society

70 Million Americans Voted to Re-Elect a Con Man to the Presidency

In August of 2016, before his election to President, I wondered whether or not Donald Trump was the Greatest Con Man of All Time. (The GOAT-Con? The Con-GOAT? The GCMOAT?) A year and a half later, still mystified by his support, I wondered how people continue to trust him, as he burns one after the …

1985, Music

Flip Your Wig (1985) by Hüsker Dü

Time can really change perception, especially when it comes to cultural artifacts. I have read online abbout how this is one of Hüsker’s great albums, perhaps even their best. But I don’t hear it. I don’t know if that’s because I haven’t sat down and listened to New Day Rising recently or whether it’s because …

1985, Music

Hounds of Love (1985) by Kate Bush

Though I have yet to listen to every one of her albums, this strikes me as her most ambitious album, at least to date. Recording a side-long suite of songs is borderline prog rock (and would actually be, I guess, if the music was a little more connected).

1980, Music

Kurtis Blow (1980)

My understanding is that this is like the second hip hop LP ever. If that’s true, it’s certainly one of the most important albums of its era. It’s also worth noting that it is way better than the Sugar Hill Gang’s debut LP, just by the simple fact that Kurtis Blow is the actual performer …

1980, Music

Guilty (1980) by Barbra Streisand

I feel like I grew up with people making fun of these two. I was still an impressionable teenager when I first encountered Mecha-Streisand. And, though the only Barry Gibb impersonation I can think of is relatively recent (i.e. I was an adult when I saw it), I feel like I must have been exposed …

1980, Music

Blizzard of Ozz (1980) by Ozzy Osbourne

Metal was evolving in 1980, maybe not as much as it would in, say, 1983-1984, but still it was evolving. But, like his former band, Ozzy doesn’t seem to want to evolve in the way the younger performers were. Rather, on his debut, he’s chosen a different kind of evolution, the kind that I would …

1980, Music

Never for Ever (1980) by Kate Bush

It’s funny, for me, that I cam to Kate Bush, because I seem to love just about everything she does. I find her music so compelling that I sometimes struggle to put it into words. There are things I like and clearly her particular brand of theatrical performance, interesting arrangements distinct songwriting is very much …