Author: rnhaas

2001, Music

Time (The Revelator) (2001) by Gillian Welch

I was aware of Gillian Welch, and I think I’ve heard her sing backing vocals on other artists’ work, but I didn’t really know much about her before this. I have some vague memory I might have listened to another one of her albums once and then dropped it, simply because the reviews weren’t quite …

2001, Music

Celebrity (2001) by *NSYNC

Like, what the hell happened? This album is a quantum leap in quality from No Strings Attached. It’s not even remotely close. Some of this is actually…good. And it really makes a case that, at least sometimes, it’s good that the talent take over from the handlers in the manufactured pop music space. Because, well, …

2011, Music

Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman

S0, I made the mistake of reading The Enigma or Reason before I read this much more famous book. That’s a mistake because the central argument of The Enigma of Reason is that the dichotomy (or tichotomy) of the brain is an illusion, that it doesn’t fit evolution. Whether it was philosophers or current psychologists, …

2001, Music

Rings Around the World (2001) by Super Furry Animals

One of these bands that I’ve heard the name of many times but never really heard. Or maybe it’s just that the name sticks in your head. Either way, I’ve heard of them without ever hearing them, until now.

2001, Music

Hot Shots II (2001) by The Beta Band

Their debut was a surprising delight. I’ve since read that they may have disowned it but I really enjoyed it so I find that a little weird. (It’s been long enough that I don’t remember well enough if it was just too long or if it was too ambitious or too silly. Regardless, despite its …

1996, Music

Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996) by a Tribe Called Quest

I have only ever heard their debut (but I’ve seen the movie!) so I cannot really comment on how this is “darker” than their previous albums. (Though it certainly seems darker and angrier than their first.) It does seem like opinion is split between those who think it’s another fine album and those who think …

1985, Movies

Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (1985, Héctor Olivera, Alan Holleb)

This is a terrible fantasy film with slight more of a budget than you might expect and some credible costuming for a terrible film. It’s basically a fully ’80s fantasy film, with way less of a budget, and where a ton of the cast are dubbed because I guess they were speaking Spanish?

1991, Music

We Can’t Be Stopped (1991) by Get Boys

So, for reasons I will never understand, YouTube Music – where I do most of my listening to new music – only has the “screwed” version of this album. I didn’t know that meant something and so I listened to it. And I was extremely confused as you might imagine. I knew I had at …

1991, Music

Trisha Yearwood (1991)

I have no investment in country music, so whether or not a particular album indicates “a star is born” is irrelevant to me. Perhaps if there was something truly distinct, I might notice but I don’t know that Yearwood’s from Georgia and, having heard numerous singers from many different genres, I’m not sure why Yearwood’s …

2019, Movies

El guardián de la memoria [The Guardian of Memory] (2019, Marcela Arteaga)

This is a gorgeous film – seriously it’s beautiful – about an awful subject, Mexicans fleeing Mexico due to persecution from cartels. It’s a little like Taming the Garden in terms of how pretty it is, though the shots are not as impressive as that documentary.

1991, Music

Into the Great Wide Open (1991) by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The Jeff Lynne infestation of Petty’s Full Moon Fever has been allowed to fester and now infects the entire band. I understand this was a big hit, and I grew up with the two biggest songs here too, but this is a particularly polished version of the Heartbreakers, that is relatively unrecognizable to the band …

1991, Music

A Future Without a Past…(1991) by Leaders of the New School

I must admit that I was kind of charmed on the first listen to this album. That charm wore off a bit with repeated listens – why that happened is probably a long story – but that initial positive vibe is pretty rare for me with hip hop, especially hip hop that is this obsessed …

1991, Music

Woodface (1991) by Crowded House

I can’t figure it out, but I know “Chocolate Cake,” “Fall At Your Feet” and “Weather With You.” I’m confused because I was 9 when this album came out and only “Chocolate Cake” reached the Canadian Top 10. Somebody must have had this album, or a greatest hits record or something, right? Anyway, it’s created …

1986, Music

Especially for You (1986) by The Smithereens

Like many people, I’m probably listening to this – and taking it seriously – in part because of Kurt Cobain. I did not enjoy Green Thoughts but it’s been long enough that I forgot about that, so I was able to approach this with fresh ears and be more charitable to it than I would …

1981, Music

Dreamtime (1981) by Tom Verlaine

Marquee Moon is one of my favourite albums of the ’70s so this should be right in my wheelhouse. And it mostly is. Verlaine is a better songwriter than a lot of his contemporaries (with the notable exception of David Byrne), though he’s hardly an all time great. He has a good sense of melody, …

1981, Music

Beauty and the Beat (1981) by Go-Go’s

This is undoubtedly an important record. It is possibly the most successful debut album by an all-female band, at least to this point and history and it might have also been the first all-female band album to hit US#1 (though I’m not 100% sure where I read that and can’t find it now). It’s trailblazing …

1971, Music

The Silver Tongued Devil and I (1971) by Kris Kristofferson

There are people who will tell you that Kris Kristofferson is the Greatest Songwriter of All Time. (Don’t believe me? Watch Country Music.) This is a preposterous claim on its face for at least two reasons. The first is that there may not be a GOAT songwriter in English or in any language. And second, …

2015, Movies

High-Rise (2015, Ben Wheatley)

I have read only one J.G. Ballard novel though I have seen a couple of films adapted from his books. I thought I had seen more than one of Ben Wheatley’s movies, but it turns out I’ve just seen one. On paper, I think I can probably see the Ballard-Wheatley pairing as a match made …

2019, Movies

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019, David Leitch)

This spinoff is reputed by many to be the worst of the interminable Fast & Furious movies. I must admit I still haven’t seen all of them – though I have seen most by this point – but I’m not sure why exactly. Most of the problems with this movie are typical of the problems …

2012, Movies

Magic Mike (2012, Steven Soderbergh)

This is an entertaining and engaging comedy drama about male strippers during the financial crisis. It’s sort of an oblique comment on the consequences of the financial crisis and it’s fascinating that Channing Tatum wanting to star in a movie about his life as a stripper before he got famous turned into this film.

1959, 1961, Movies

The Human Condition (1959, 1961, Masaki Kobayashi)

This is an epic film, released as a series, that adapts an epic novel. Taken as a whole film, it is one of the longest narrative films ever – by my count the 8th or 9th longest ever, and probably the longest ever made at the time of its release. But it was released as …

2001, Music

Rooty (2001) by Basement Jaxx

When Basement Jazz were at their heyday, I knew basically nothing about European dance music. I’m pretty sure I thought Basement Jaxx and Daft Punk and (I’m sorry to admit) Massive Attack were all the same thing. I did not care an iota about this stuff (and stuff that didn’t sound like it, apparently!), but …