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After The Fall

After The Fall

THERE’S A CERTAIN doggedness required to play the bass: a sonic obligation to carry the weight of others while keeping things together. It’s no surprise, then, that the recent biography from Steve...

How I Got Over: The Soul of Aretha Franklin

How I Got Over: The Soul of Aretha Franklin

DAVID RITZ’S new biography of Aretha Franklin, Respect, is not the book Franklin wanted written. The Queen of Soul already published the book she wanted, From These Roots, which Ritz himself ghostwr...

The Escapes and Escapades of Rick James

The Escapes and Escapades of Rick James

THERE’S NO LOGICAL REASON Rick James should have lived as long as he did. That he didn’t die in prison, overdose on crack, commit suicide, or get shot by a jealous husband or lover is a secular ki...

Work It on Out

Work It on Out

IN THE SUMMER of 2003, you couldn’t miss “Crazy in Love.” The Beyoncé single with a horn hook from the Chi-Lites and a rap from the singer’s future husband Jay-Z was everywhere. I heard it o...

Paul McCartney: The Wilderness Years

Paul McCartney: The Wilderness Years

IF HE WASN’T a Beatle, then who was he? What was he? These were questions Paul McCartney had never had to ask himself, but he was asking them now. It was 1969, the year he’d made the legal moves t...

Dancing with Dictators

Dancing with Dictators

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG GIRL in Leyte, I danced for Imelda Marcos. The effect of that on my psyche, an obeisance innocent and obscene, came back to me in the nightclub setting of David Byrne’s oddly cath...

Photographer Spotlight: Guy Webster

Photographer Spotlight: Guy Webster

Photo Credit: © GizaraArts.com The career of many a photographer is as much a matter of serendipity, the good fortune of a timely and privileged vantage point, as artistic virtue. Guy Webster was...

Three the Hard Way: The Return of Sleater-Kinney

Three the Hard Way: The Return of Sleater-Kinney

WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT of Start Together, the limited edition vinyl box set of the seven albums Sleater-Kinney had released since 1995, a few months back, probably most of the critics planning to cover...

The Sob in the Spine

The Sob in the Spine

I. That Guy IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that young male writers, in a shadowed corner of their dream selves, would much rather be rock stars. And not (just) for the girls, fame, and money....

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

YET ANOTHER WHITE pop star has wandered into the thorny world of racial drag. Taylor Swift, in case you missed her, is an American musician who began her career in a calculated blend of country crosso...