1993, Music

The Red Shoes (1993) by Kate Bush

The first time I listened to it I just couldn’t get over the productive, which sounds so ’80s like any number of early ’90s albums, made by artists or producers who hadn’t yet seen the writing on the wall – that the era of gated drums synthesizers approximating any instrument you could think of was …

1988, Music

Bummed (1988) by Happy Mondays

I know of Madchester from 24 Hour Party People and from the unfortunate legacy of its approach to percussion which infiltrated into so much ’90s music. But I don’t really know any of the bands. This is probably my first proper Madchester record though now that I see it’s lumped in with Baggy I’m not …

1978, Music

No New York (1978) by Various Artists

I have heard about this record so much that it was inevitably going to prove difficult to listen to it by the time I got around to it. I first learned about it in The Secret History of Rock close to twenty years ago but I have at least managed to listen to the Contortions …

1978, Music

Outlandos d’Amour (1978) by The Police

The Police’s debut album is a bouncy energetic thing, with way better than you’d expect musicianship for their music scene and the kind of performances you would require from that same scene. Much of what initially captivated people about this band, present on this album, would disappear by the end of their career.

1942, Movies

Cat People (1942, Jacques Tourneur)

Times have changed. And whatever effect this movie had on audiences in 1942 – my dad long insisted it was the scariest movie he had ever seen – has long dissipated. Watching it over 75 years later, it’s really hard to understand what was so unique and terrifying about it.

2018, Movies

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018, David Slade)

When I was in Grade 7 or 8, the math/history teacher at my alternative school brought in a man with a bizarre piece of technology. My math/history teacher and the man insisted this technology would change entertainment forever. There was a regular TV, a regular VCR, and what seemed to me like an absolutely gigantic …

1973, Music

The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle (1973) by Bruce Springsteen

I have never heard a Springsteen record like this one. Maybe that’s because I just haven’t heard that many Springsteen records but I suspect or at least wonder that it’s because, at some point later on, he figured out who he was, and this version wasn’t part of that (or wasn’t normally part of that).

1973, Music

Piano Man (1973) by Billy Joel

I do not like Billy Joel. I recognize he has talent but let’s say I don’t like the way he uses it. I find his melodies too sappy and saccharine but even when I don’t I often don’t find them compelling enough. I regularly do not like his lyrics. But it’s really the arrangements that …

1973, Music

Stranded (1973) by Roxy Music

I must say I was pretty damn worried about the first post-Eno Roxy Music album. I have heard later records and, well, I didn’t love them. I don’t love where Ferry took the band. I figured this was the beginning of the end, with the “end” being Ferry the oh so sophisticated synthpop crooner.

1968, Music

The Marble Index (1968) by Nico

If you only knew Nico from Chelsea Girl (i.e. you had never heard The Velvet Underground & Nico nor were you aware of her subsequent reputation), I have trouble imagining the shock of this record. It’s a little like what later happened with Scott Walker, albeit not nearly as radical, but it took Nico less …

1998, Music

1965 (1998) by The Afghan Whigs

I did not particularly enjoy the critically acclaimed Gentlemen and I think so much of that has to do with when I heard it, in my late 30s. I suspect had I heard it when I was, say, 22, I might have really liked it a lot. It’s still a fine record but, as a …

1998, Music

I’ve Been Expecting You (1998)

I know basically nothing about Robbie Williams because I am Canadian. I read that he was unbelievably successful in the UK during his solo career but, like so many UK artists, he didn’t quite translate to North America. Yes, he’s had the odd hit, but nothing compared to the dominance he’s had in the UK. …

2010, Movies

Catfish (2010, Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman)

Yes, I realize I’m getting to Catfish 8 years too late. In the meantime, there’s a show and the term has entered the lexicon. I.e. I know what this is about. So whatever shock I would have experienced seeing it when it first came out is obviously gone. This is unfortunate but hopefully it doesn’t …

1955, Books, Fiction

The Return of the King (1955) by JRR Tolkien

I don’t remember much about the film of The Return of the King, except for what felt like eternal denouement. I don’t actually remember but, if memory serves, it felt as though the last 45 minutes of that film were devoted to wrapping things up. I was worried that this book would be the same and, …

1988, Music

American Water (1998) by Silver Jews

Pavement were such a big deal – or seemed like they were such a big deal – that I think it’s really easy to understand why they inevitably come up with this band, even though, according to some sources, this band existed prior to Pavement, and certainly in some iteration or other. But even if …

1998, Music

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (1998) by Fatboy Slim

I did not listen to dance music in the 1990s. (I do not listen to it now except for my podcast). But this album was big enough that its three biggest tracks – “Right Here, Right Now,” “The Rockafeller Skank” and “Praise You” – I know really well. I know them better than most of …

1998, Music

Dearest Christian, I’m So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad (1998) by PM Dawn

I have long had a particular impression of 1990s R&B, an impression formed in high school when subjected to Boyz II Men and whatever else. Even with all the listening to ’90s R&B I’ve been doing lately, encountering all sorts of things I never thought I’d listen to, I still haven’t been able to muster …

1993, Music

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993) by Sarah McLachlan

This is the Sarah McLachlan I was too young for; the kids at my school weren’t into this music when it came out and I don’t think she was big enough in the States yet to make it on MTV when I got the chance to watch that at my cousins’. I say this because, …

1993, Music

Chaos A.D. (1993) by Sepultura

I don’t know whether or not it’s because I heard Roots first, a few years ago, or because I have heard so much about this record, but upon first listen to this, I was kind of thinking “What’s the big deal?” Sometimes it’s hard to cast your mind back to another time, especially when I …

1993, Music

Plantation Lullabies (1993) by Me’Shell NdegéOcello

It’s hard not be impressed by the ambition of this debut; NdegéOcello seems to want to do everything within the R&B spectrum and, at times, it feels like she might succeed. She’s like a female Terence Trend D’Arby with more of a jazz and hip hop influence and a better sense of rhythm but with …

2007, Movies

Cassandra’s Dream (2007, Woody Allen)

Obligatory mention: This movie was written and directed by Woody Allen. Woody Allen married his step-daughter (who was adopted by his then wife). Woody Allen has been accused by his adopted daughter of child abuse. For too long fans and critics have ignored or dismissed these aspects of Allen’s life when discussing his films. On …

1993, Music

Angst (1993) by KMFDM

Note: I spend this entire review comparing this record to a Ministry record which came out in 1998, but which I wrongly thought came out two days earlier. So this review can be ignored. I had an acquaintance in high school – a friend of a friend more than a friend – who used to …

1993, Music

Tindersticks (1993)

Throughout the history of pop rock I think it’s safe to say that debut albums have usually been not as good as albums by experienced bands. Don’t mistake the hype – there are certainly numerous debut albums which have been over-hyped over the years but, I think, on balance, most bands and artists do not …

1988, Music

The Land of Rape and Honey (1988) by Ministry

This is my second Ministry album but it’s an earlier one. As with so many other bands that I’ve approached backwards, this one doesn’t quite do it for me in the way that the later one did, but…

1993, Music

Painful (1993) by Yo La Tengo

I have only ever heard one Yo La Tengo album, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, and I suspect it has ruined me for their earlier career (or, perhaps, the entirety of the rest of their career). That record may or may not be their best – I wouldn’t know – but it …

1993, Music

Anodyne (1993) by Uncle Tupelo

I absolutely loved March 16-20, 1992 the first time I heard it. My review of it is pretty damn glowing and I’m kind of unsure I want to revisit formally because I’m pretty sure I won’t like it as much as I did the first time I encountered it. I don’t know what it was …