Author: rnhaas

1990, Music

The Good Son (1990) by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

I love Tender Prey. For me, it’s the culmination of the Seeds through their first era, a powerful combination of punk-influenced music and songwriting well beyond the quality of most punk albums.

1990, Music

Hammerheart (1990) by Bathory

I have read that this is perhaps the second “viking metal” album ever. I really can’t confirm that because, well, I’ve never heard of viking metal before. I didn’t know it was a thing. What I do know is that black metal was definitely not this varied in its early years but I don’t know …

1990, Music

Songs for Drella (1990) by Lou Reed and John Cale

I’m not sure why but I find Lou Reed’s memorial lyrics way too explicit for my tastes. He’s so specific that it removes the universal appeal. I don’t normally have a problem with specificity in and of itself, and with Reed’s other lyrics but, for some reason, when it comes to death, that’s how I …

1990, Music

People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) by A Tribe Called Quest

As I have said more times than I now count: I sure don’t know much about the history of hip hop. But, to the extent I know much about hip hop, I’m pretty sure I know that there wasn’t much out there that sounded like A Tribe Called Quest in 1990. Obviously I don’t know …

1990, Music

Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches (1990) by Happy Mondays

I’ve listened to a few madchester/baggy albums at this point and it’s safe to say that I just don’t get the genre. Now, I get very few dance-rock hybrids outside of Talking Heads’ version of that kind of thing, but this one I find particularly perplexing.

1985, Music

Bonded by Blood (1985) by Exodus

This album is supposed to be a great what-if of metal: what if Exodus’ debut album had been released right after it was recorded, just a little bit after Ride the Lightning. Would everyone remember this band differently? As a pioneer, as one of the Big 4 thrash metal bands, rather than a follower?

1985, Music

Around the World in a Day (1985) by Prince and The Revolution

I suspect the degree to which I like this album is heavily influenced by the narrative around it, and my lack of engagement with that narrative. Prince is a known iconoclast when I’m listening to this record for the first time. He’s done things such as change his stage name and fail to release completed …

2017, Movies

I, Tonya (2017, Craig Gillespie)

This is a very funny faux documentary about Tonya Harding’s skating career and her relationship with her ex-husband. The cast is excellent as is the sense of time and place. And though some minor dramatic license is taken this is entirely by design, which is worth thinking about giving the uproar this film caused.

1980, 2012

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So kids Will Talk (1980, 2012)

Full disclosure: I have no children, I am not a teacher and I spent virtually no time around children. So I am not the book’s audience. Why did I read it? Because my father recommended it me for as a good tool for communicating better.

2020, Personal, Society

Journal of the Plague Year: Blood on Their Hands

If you had asked someone in Autumn 2019 which country would be best equipped to handle a pandemic, they might have answered “The United States”. They have the most resources of any country in the world. Of course, given who is in power, they might have expressed doubt. But ask the question in Autumn 2015, …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: Nobody Follows the Rules

“Nobody is following the rules!” That is what literally everyone is saying. So many people are saying it that some of the people who are saying it must also not be following rules. As Jenn put it, each of us thinks we are following the rules better than everyone else. And we want everyone else …

1948, Books, Fiction

The Loved One (1948) by Evelyn Waugh

This is a mildly amusing pitch black comedy about the American funeral industry and the British in Hollywood. (And American advice columnists.) It’s pretty slight and it feels like Waugh didn’t exactly know what kind of story he wanted to tell for this. (There are three or four main topics in a book that is …

1980, Music

Seventeen Seconds (1980) by The Cure

I can’t actually recall if I’ve ever listened to Three Imaginary Boys. I don’t think I have but I can also imagine listening to it once and deciding there was no point to include it, given its reputation. I have listed to Faith on the other hand and I did not enjoy it when I …

1980, Music

Empty Glass (1980) by Pete Townshend

The story goes that Townshend was writing songs for both this album and the subsequent Who album and Daltrey at least feels like Townshend kept most of the good material for himself and gave the band the less good stuff. (I should point out I’ve never bothered with Face Dances because one thing I don’t …

1975, Music

Hokey Pokey (1975) by Richard & Linda Thompson

I fell in love with I Want to see the Bright Lights Tonight years ago and then, for some reason – too much music in the world – I never found my way to other albums. in the last few I finally have and I find myself unsuccessfully chasing the folk rock dragon. Sometimes you …

1975, Music

Let’s Take It to the Stage (1975) by Funkadelic

This is one of those Funkadelic albums where the line between them and Parliament is blurred and that’s not something I can I say I love. Because of its title, I thought it was a live record and almost skipped over it.

1970, Music

12 Songs (1970) by Randy Newman

With virtually every Randy Newman album I’ve yet encountered my problem with him has in part been the aesthetic – a unique and not particularly compelling singer singing acerbic is often backed by extremely slick arrangements. But that’s not the case here as Newman has abandoned the massed arrangements of his debut for members of …

1970, Music

Yeti (1970) by Amon Düül II

The older I get, the lower my tolerance for directionless jamming. If I listened to Yeti when I first listened to Tanz der Lemminge I imagine I would have loved it as much as I love that album. But I’m not a lot older and these endless jams and snippets wear on me in a …

2019, Movies

Hustlers (2019, Lorene Scafaria)

This is a pretty heavily stylized dramatization of a true story of strippers ripping off rich men in post crash New York City. I somehow never read the infamous article – though I’m going to now – so I can’t comment onto how accurate the depiction is. (Though that is not something I usually care …

1970, Music

Elton John (1970)

Elton Johns self-titled second album

Elton John’s second album is an interesting combination of contrasting styles, with some of it sounding like classic Elton John and some of it sounding like he really doesn’t know what he wants to sound like. It sounds a lot like a debut to me in that it feels like he hasn’t quite found his …

1965, Music

Dance Party (1965) by Martha and the Vandellas

Dance Party by Martha and the Vandellas

This album has the reputation as being the group’s best, but I have no idea if that’s true or not, as it’s my first experience of the group in LP form. (I know their hits from oldies radio.) This album contains three of the group’s biggest hits – at least one of which had been …