I don’t know how that stacks up against other artists. I’ve long regretted that I never kept detailed stats of Random Weekends so I could do exactly the kind of analysis I’m wondering about now. But my gut tells me Smith is better represented than most.
‘Babies Makin’ Babies’ is a cut from Lambert’s 2014 album Platinum, one of her most successful critically and commercially. The album ranked #12 on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll and topped the Billboard 200 album chart. Esteemed critic Robert Christgau praised it as “apolitical de facto feminism at its countriest” (I love that line).
2016’s double album The Weight of These Wings was her best work yet, and that’s saying something given that her previous two records showed up in my top five albums of the first half of the 2010s.
Lana Del Rey is sticking to her pace of a new album every other year, with her next release (amusingly titled Norman Fucking Rockwell) due in early 2019. As a preview, she recently dropped a couple of new tracks on an EP.
‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ and ‘Venice Bitch’ are both vintage Lana Del Rey, though the latter goes in some trippy new directions, including a meandering space-synth solo that stretches the track’s running time to more than 10 minutes. That sounds horrible on paper but the song is hypnotizing and beautiful, like everything Del Rey touches.
This will go down as the year NetFlix jumped fully into the major motion picture game, releasing films by top-tier directors Alfonso Cuaron and the Coen Brothers. A Martin Scorsese film is due in early 2019.
A lesser-known but very promising talent, Jeremy Saulnier, has also released his latest film on the streaming network. Saulnier, whose Blue Ruin and Green Room were exhilarating, harrowing revenge thrillers, is back with Hold the Dark, a film that is dark and chilling both metaphorically and literally.
‘Maybe It’s Time’ was written by Jason Isbell, a singer-songwriter I discovered earlier this year who has quickly become a favorite of mine. Do yourself a favor and listen to his albums Here We Rest, Southeastern and The Nashville Sound. If you like today’s SOTD at all, you’ll find a lot more just as good and even better on those records.
Writer/director/star Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born is one of the most buzzed-about movies of this year’s award season, and now it has a hefty box office take to match. The only thing keeping it from Oscar glory at this point is the risk of peaking too soon.
I liked the film quite a bit, though I didn’t share the rapturous reception of many critics and fans. I loved the languid first half, which depicts Cooper’s Jackson and Lady Gaga’s Ally falling in love. It’s all warm, syrupy hues and hushed conversations.