Steve Horowitz: Justin has got him self a nice little pop song here. If one doesn’t listen too carefully, the carefree spirit takes the listener on a joy ride. The narrator wants to be wanted, but then again, he’s not sure. He likes the game of the relationship, the push and pull of attraction. The Brad Furman video nicely captures the ambiguity well and carefully pulls back before ever getting too serious. The roll of cash, the cigarette lighter, the scary masks set the atmosphere without taking things too far. It may be a little dumb, but that fits the lightness of the material. [8/10]
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Adrien Begrand: The UK hip-hop great’s new single is so simple in approach—a murky, nasty dub groove that creeps along menacingly—but it gives Rodney Smith ample room to deliver a pointed diatribe against the allure of money and society’s (music especially) perpetual willingness to bleed people dry. “How could we hate the Queen, when the social bill seems so obscene and it helped to create the scene that put the people where the people be here?” It’s food for thought. [7/10]
Paul Duffus: Only two original members left, but the fire remains undimmed. “Cast the First Stone” is relatively mid-tempo for these heroic warlocks. Over the years they have been up, they have been down, but they have never backed off. And so it continues. This compares favourably with their past. [8/10]
Steve Horowitz: Taylor Swift may not be a Meryl Streep, and the guy many not be Robert Redford, but this meta-version of Out of Africa doesn’t pretend to be more than a travelogue with erotic connotations. Wild animals = wild emotions without having to be any more graphic than a kiss on red lips. The song works more as a soundtrack than a stand alone cut because it functions more as atmosphere than narrative, which makes the whole allusion to the world outside of the movie somewhat syrupy. The framing works to prevent the dream work from being taken too seriously. The romance is only a screen romance, and the performers know it, but still…. For all those who wonder if what they see in the cinema is real, Taylor lets you have it both ways. [8/10]
Steve Pick: I’ve seen that image of Humphrey Bogart towing a boat down a river in Africa, but I had no idea how he got there, or why he was doing it, or what Katharine Hepburn was doing at the time. The African Queen is a film quite unlike other flicks I’ve seen. For 95% of its running time, Bogart and Hepburn are the only two characters on screen, not counting stock footage of hippos, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, and other animals, or some animated mosquitoes. I think we’ll find some interesting things to discuss, from the Christian/Western exploitation of Africa to the most literal representation of marriage as a death sentence ever in fiction. Along the way, well, we can bask in the skills of two magnificent actors making us forget, mostly, all the tics and trademarks that had made them famous in the years before and since this one was made in 1951.