Song of the Day #3,745: ‘Waterloo’ – Cher

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was one of this summer’s unexpected hits, grossing more than $120 million at the domestic box office and another $270 million overseas.

My own reaction to the film was equally unexpected, and in fact as of this writing it still sits atop my 2018 list as my favorite movie of the year so far. I am counting down the days til the Oct. 8 streaming release like a kid in the walk-up to Christmas.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,744: ‘Stereo’ – John Legend

John Legend might be a recent addition to the EGOT ranks, but I have never found him very engaging. He seems like a lovely man, but his music bores me.

His wife, model Chrissy Teigen, on the other hand, is a goddamn marvel. She is witty as hell, wielding her Twitter feed like a scalpel against the deplorables, and charmingly self-deprecating to boot.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,743: ‘Ghost’ – Awkwafina

I had never heard of Awkwafina before this year’s Ocean’s 8. The 29-year-old New York City-born rapper-actress offered comic relief in a few scenes but didn’t make much of an impression.

She showed up again in Crazy Rich Asians, stealing scenes as Rachel’s best friend, Peik Lin. Her distinctive voice, blunt delivery and sharp one-liners give the film a jolt of left-field humor. As one writer put it, Awkwafina “carries herself as though nobody told her that she’s not the star of the movie.”

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,742: ‘Can’t Run But’ – Paul Simon

Paul Simon sits at or near the top of my list of the greatest musical artists of all time. In fact, I named him as my #1 songwriter on this very blog.

But I must express disappointment with Simon’s last two releases. 2016’s Stranger to Stranger was the most forgettable release of his career. And the just-out In the Blue Light — featuring reimaginings of ten earlier songs — is another let-down.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,741: ‘Deportee’ – Elvis Costello

I recently discovered Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast, in which the brilliant writer dives into episodes from history and draws out lessons that weren’t clear the first time around.

Sometimes Gladwell tackles serious issues such as war or politics; in other episodes it’s basketball or popular music. The stories, and his telling of them, are as fascinating as his essays and books.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,740: ‘Before the Calm’ – Witness

Bow your heads in remembrance of the English band Witness, permanent residents in the wastebin of short-lived bands with tremendous untapped potential.

I’m more familiar with Witness’ sophomore album, Under a Sun, than I am with their debut record Before the Calm. I’ve written about Under a Sun a few times, always bringing up how I discovered it after hearing it playing in a record store.

Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,739: ‘Rare Bird’ – Toad the Wet Sprocket

It’s been five years since the release of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s reunion album New Constellation and I’d say they’re overdue for a follow-up. Sure, fans had to wait 16 years between their pre-breakup album Coil and this one, but we’re not gluttons for punishment.

As I’ve written before, Toad the Wet Sprocket is my favorite 90s band. They released five excellent albums spanning that decade before splitting, including a couple that were the soundtrack to the early years of my relationship with my wife. So I have an emotional tie to their music in addition to really digging their sound.

Continue reading