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Musically if you’re into 70’s soul pastiche you could do much, much worse. The last time this much Bruno Mars past through my eardrums he and Mick Ronson were ripping off Prince, The Time and Kool and the Gang to great economic gain. I was not pleased. Anderson.Paak means nothing to me, only a reference to those god-awful Modelo beer commercials, which I lightly despise on political beliefs alone. (If I drank beer any more I sure wouldn’t be drinking Modeleo.) This hyped collaboration between Mars and .Paak is meant to do just, to establish their symmetry, their reverence for “good music” and their dominance. I can’t offer any fair opinion on .Paak, but I have always been ambivalent about Mars. On one hand I have to admit he’s enormously talented, in an “old school” type of way. He can write, sing, play, arrange and has clearly studied the masters, from the aforementioned Prince to Michael Jackson and even The Police. He’s a linkage to the past, and of how the past can re-animate younger generations of performers. But everything he does reeks of pastiche and only pastiche. To call him a “student” is to both praise and damn him. Unlike Quentin Tarantino, who also aggressively mines the past for inspiration, I have no idea what “Bruno Mars” brings to his music. Maybe those in his fan base can, but I can’t. Still, in a world where Drake has dropped another single, I’d rather this go right to the moon.

2.SILK SONIC, “LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN“(the video). It’s infectious, maybe the best of its kind since “Hey Ya,” of which it shares a minimal deceit. It’s too much, too pleased with itself, too derivative, too knowing, and yet I really like it.

3.*BEYONCE’S A CAPELLA TRIBUTE TO THE LATE LYRIC CHANEL. This past Friday a 13-year old girl, vlogger and super BEYONCE fan named Lyric Chanel died of brain cancer after a two year struggle. BEYONCE released a two minute a capella medley of her songs dedicated to the poor girl. BEYONCE is a troubling artist for a lot of reasons, none of which I care to elaborate on at this moment because of the extraordinary circumstances. For whatever her faults this miniature requiem seems heartfelt and an organic response to a tragedy. I don’t have to be cynical and analytical about everything.

4.NO MAS! Who not living on the island of Manhattan is clamoring for a documentary on Woody Allen vs. Mia Farrow at this juncture?!? Who? How many more times does this cottage industry of New Yorkers profiting off a scandal does this nonsense have to continue before its reached the point of oversaturation? Woody Allen’s career is effectively over. So is Mia Farrow’s. Their “alleged” son, the hideous Ronan Farrell would not have a career if not for his moral outrage, ratcheted up to operatic levels every time he needs a paycheck. As with the equally ludicrous media driven obsession with O.J. Simpson–which should have abated by now, 2021, it’s an absolute sham. Dregs in the bottom of a barrel.

5.“JSLOIPNHIE” BY SOPHIE AND JLIN. A posthumously released collaboration between underground stars of electronica. I’m still trying to process Sophie; JLIN I’ve never been that interested in. The needlessly difficult to spell/speak title doesn’t help either cause.


Eyes wide shut: O! It’s a more “adult” take on a classic Disney cartoon character villain. A chance to “redeem” her, to make a “feminist” statement.

Eyes wide open: They keep revealing themselves and whom they worship at every turn. If the Anti-Christ hasn’t arrived, they damn sure are paving the way for him. Each and every day.


I love the generic title. And to think it’s never been used before! And the powers behind it had only a year or so to create something catchy and evocative!  Based upon a novel I have never heard of, it looks like a glossy Lesbian historical drama set before the Nazis come. Two best friends, each married to a rich Jewish husband fall in love and have a fabulous affair before, well, you know. It at least costars Carice Van Houten for your sapphic fantasies. Even on a show brimming over with beautiful women, Van Houten as the Red Priestess Melissandre was so achingly beautiful it hurt to watch her. Melissandre was a Scheherazade, lovely and mysterious enough to inspire her own cult of devotion.  Honestly I have no other hopes for film than the impurient. I doubt very seriously if this will compare to a limited but stunning mini portfolio of WWII films which infused sensuality with palatable, suspenseful drama(The Garden of the Finzi-Contini, The ConformistCabaret and, yes, The Damned). Hell, I doubt very seriously if the Lesbian angle is handled as well as the terrific but little seen German biopic Aimée & Jaguar based upon a true story.


Learn to hate it/consider the ways/now, today, tomorrow and always…Any true fan of The Smiths and Morrissey: watch the trailer and see if your head doesn’t fucking explode. Discuss.

9.DR. SEUSS AND “WOKE AMERICA.”.It’s shameful all around and a pox on everyone’s houses. Why not burn his books while you’re at it? All of them. Feelings, never facts. Feelings, never facts.



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The soul/hip hop pastiche musician, beatmaker (and music business lawyer)’s extremely muddled “take on things.” From its Strange Fruit cover to its extremely overpadded length, The American Negro is as confused and confusing as the subject matter itself. It’s agit-prop, self-obvious proselytizing, cribbing from intellectual sources, cerebrally stunted and, oh, yes, sonically gorgeous.  Younge is no Gil Scott-Heron. And no matter how heartfelt he is, more potent and briefer messages can be found throughout the history of Black American music. There is nothing on The American Negro which touches the existential profundity of Fats Waller’s “Black and Blue” or the lament of John Coltrane’s “Alabama.Sly Stone had a better title with There’s a Riot Goin’ On. Younge remains a talented impresario, and he’s certainly not dumb or unintellectual. Clearly inspired by Heron, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and others, his musical landscapes are often sumptuous. His production and the performing cast are stellar enough. Offensive or not how I would love to hear an instrumental version of the album, stripping it of its endless lectures, dismal spoken word and stunted moralizing! Alas, that’s not here. If you took the typical African American Studies courses at American universities and set them to stirring music, well, it would be this album. And I do not mean that as a compliment.

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