Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past


Monday, December 16 2002

The Clientele

The Clientele are not a Friday night band. Granted, their songs do often live in the weekend, but they don’t belong to the rollicking,

Sunday, December 15 2002

Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life

Songs in the Key of Life is the sprawling vision of a man whose sight has been rendered infinite by the power of love and faith.

The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead

I had no idea what these album-opening lines meant, but I knew, somehow, it would change my life. It was August, 1986. I had just graduated

Don Shirley Trio: Water Boy

“This Columbia high fidelity monaural recording is scientifically designed to play with the highest quality of reproduction on the phonograph of your choice, new or

Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks

In a way, the songs have become part of me, and playing the album more of a rite than a listening experience. I suppose when art reaches the level of Blood on the Tracks, it is religion.

Friday, December 13 2002

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Gospel

Moans out the way first. No dates for any of the tracks, and one CD is a bit of a joke to cover something as

Rockapella: Comfort & Joy

It’s that time again (seems to happen earlier each year) and while many shop until they drop, their ears likely are assailed with holiday

Joan Osborne: How Sweet It Is

James Taylor singing “How Sweet It Is”. Linda Ronstadt doing Smokey’s “Ooh Baby, Baby”. Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall’s reading Gamble and Huff’

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Legend [Original Recording Remastered] [Extra Tracks] (1984)

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a hundred times. You’ve probably heard it so much that you can anticipate the

Jay-Z: Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse

All good things must come to an end. After six years as hip-hop’s most dominant force, Jay-Z has finally fallen off. But like all

George Harrison: Brainwashed

The quiet Beatle sings out one last time and the result is a phenomenal solo album, spiritual and uplifting in a way that serves to

David Gray: A New Day at Midnight

David Gray is making his case for being named official folk singer of the new millennium. Working again with Producers McClune and Polson on his

Dixie Chicks: Home

Home is a definite top pick for 2002, and certainly kicked country music in its ass once again when it needed it the most.

Dropkick Murphys: Live on St. Patrick’s Day

“We know that we’re just a buncha schmucks that can’t play for shit and sure as hell can’t sing, but for some

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

As Nemesis amply demonstrates, the franchise is getting quite long in the tooth.

Maid in Manhattan (2002)

This 'ethnic' modification of 'Pretty Woman'-meets-'Working Girl' uses the 'iconic' Lopez strategically.

Intacto (2001)

Max von Sydow paints an empathetic portrait of the terrible consequences of misused power.

Drumline (2002)

Its enthusiasm is hard to resist.

About Schmidt (2002)

The expression on Schmidt's face every time he encounters another crisis does not convey anger, but befuddlement.

Wednesday, December 11 2002

Victory at Sea: The Good Night

In the mid-‘90s, a group of instrument wielding mathematicians devoted to the sea gathered together to form the influential rock collective June of 44. Like

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