Expert Witness Comment for the Week

On the stereo: Now That’s What I Call 90s Pop 

VERY useful collection, not only because exquisitely entertaining sequence of tunes, but because I can dump at least three CDs I was keeping for only one number (Will Smith, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow).

 

PS: That posted, I have to say the sequence isn’t brilliant enough to make me like Boyz II Men and Ricky Martin and … well, I donno how often I will throw this on. But the contexting work is a keeper.

Glory Era of Glossy

Good to recall a time when print was the powerhouse it has never been since. I was young and foolish, being shaped into a professional, so I went along with the upbeat mood: print was invincible! tech could makes pages more gorgeous than ever before! ultimately, big follies like: we don’t need no steenking subscriptions, ad revenue will never go down! online publications and social media are mere fads!

I resemble the remark that Vanity Fair was improperly revived. however — they hired me as a freelancer to do short reviews that paid the most serious scratch I had received until then. I managed a couple and a kill fee for a third when the shakeup came and the new brass shoved us out the windows. I never accepted Tina Brown’s “famous for being famous is as good as famous for accomplishments,” but I will admit that a lot of those first features in the Vanity Fair before her were a boring mess.

Couple Quick Music Points …

… as I struggle to find something I like today.

I am a tough sell for pure voices-and-percussion albums. And I don’t think it’s a “just me” kinda taste quirk. I know voice-and-percussion can be captivating, gripping, on stage, but the format is too hard to follow all the way though a whole album.

Next, it’s hard, lotta work, to redeem corny tunes though improvisation. If you roll out one lame-o, half-gimmick tune after another, I come to suspect you may like corny tunes. Because, I mean, there’s no question there’s an audience for them.

Dem Old Debble Critics

Very odd article. I would have guessed Hollywood had wretched attendance this past summer, for the reason that everybody knows: addiction to exhausted franchises and remakes. The spread of Rotten Tomatoes is nothing to cheer but I can’t get worked up about it one way or the other: nothing is forcing anyone to pay any attention to the ratings. And I agree with commenters who said some sort of comparison with Metacritic would have been a useful addition to the discussion.

R.I.P.: Walter Becker/Steely Dan

Steeky

Becker and Fagen would be first to say Steely Dan were a rock and roll future that never came to pass. The saddest aspect of their shortfall is that the more you had listened to, the more you appreciated what Steely Dan was on about. One of my greatest frustrations as a popular music critic is that I’m not happy with anything I wrote about the Dan. The only outright botch was my misguided rave for Fagen’s Kamakiriad (though it does still have its believers). And I did get it more or less right that Two Against Nature was quite an accomplishment after such a hiatus and was artistic justice. But probably the best I ever did for the band was during my first record-store job in Boston, where I convinced the owners that Aja was not just for hipsters but would be a hit and sure as hell would be more fun to play than the millionth repetition of Saturday Night Fever or (shudder) Dark Side of the Moon.

Anyway, I think this is as good as possible to do with Steely Dan and that, yeah, it does help to be from NY.