Guest Post by Matthew Horton It’s a big month in the George Michael Expanded Universe, as not only has my 33 1/3 book on Faith been released in the US (it’s coming your way on 8 September, Europe), but 22 June also sees the global theatrical release of George Michael: Freedom Uncut, the George Michael documentary feature that – according to the official press material – ‘serves as his final work’. ‘Final work’ revisited, that is, because it first appeared in 2017. Back then, it was just called George Michael:…
“I’m often amused when people roar about something they don’t like—as if said roaring attests to some value or characteristic they wish to have—when what it is they’re roaring about actually has a lot in common with what they’re more than happy to tell you they’re into.”
A guest post by Colin Fleming.
People who write often think there are rules that you more or less have to follow. Or should follow. I see a lot made of how much time people spent on their book, and their heaps and heaps of research. I guess maybe I should start by saying that the time in which I wrote the book probably didn’t much resemble the time frames of most other writers.
Let’s talk about Sam Cooke and singing and what it means to be a singer-writer. Or a writer-singer.
What does it mean to sing?
I know, I know—you sounded sublime this morning in the shower, when you channeled your inner Robert Plant and delivered a knockout “When the Levee Breaks,” or maybe you were Billie Holiday, with a soul-pasting version of “Lover Man.”
When you talk about drum machines and Paul’s Boutique, there are two things that even casual listeners can probably hear. The first is that you don’t hear a lot of drum machines on the album. A big part of the record’s legacy is its sampled beats, assembled into intricate, polyrhythmic collages by The Dust Brothers and Matt Dike.
But Matt Dike thought it was less a song than an opportunity. “When I heard it,” he told me, back in 2005, “I knew they were in trouble.”
Macbeth, of course, is a literary oldie. It’s an oldie that still informs our world. Vaulting ambition and all. I mention Macbeth and the idea of relevant oldies for a reason. Sam Cooke is often dogged by the oldies label. Oldies are a genre, right? You hear “Wooly Bully” and “At the Hop” and, yes, Cooke’s “You Send Me,” on the oldies station in the car, and all seems right with the world. These songs are where they should be. You’re having a nice Sunday drive with the windows down in early autumn.
Guest post by Colin Fleming Take the Sam Cooke path and be a VL (Voracious Listener)—it will serve you well in every aspect of life. Hello 33 1/3-ians! I’m back for guest blog entry number two, with this dossier of supplementary Sam Cooke materials. Let’s get to it! Do you remember the age you were when you first got into a given artist or work of art that you care about a lot? I bet you probably do. And you can pinpoint what it meant to you at that moment.…
In my previous post I outlined some of the ways food permeates Japanese food and popular culture. In this one, I dig a little deeper into the connections between food and the Japanese language itself. As I mention in my book Shonen Knife’s Happy Hour: Food, Gender, Rock and Roll, rice has historically been considered central to the Japanese diet and as a food it is loaded with cultural meaning. Indeed, the word for cooked rice, gohan (ご飯), is synonymous with meal.
Ayanna Dozier on what The Velvet Rope says about power, sexual fluidity, and respectability politics The Velvet Rope has been with me since its release nearly twenty-three years ago in October of 1997. For most of that time, I had no intention to write about my admiration for the album. It was simply a record that I would fervently remind colleagues and friends of as time passed. But as time passed, I bore witness to the changes in Janet’s career. In the 1990s through the early 2000s, Janet was the…
Manuel Betancourt on why Judy Garland’s concert at Carnegie Hall and the live recording are different animals. “On the evening of April 23, 1961, 3,165 privileged people packed the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York beyond its capacity, and witnessed what was probably the greatest evening in show-business history. Now YOU will join those privileged few and thrill to the very performance which has been captured live and undiluted in this album. Here is the complete concert. These two records contain rare show-business history, recorded permanently with all the…