Radio killed the video star (and decent music, too)

October 16, 2004
Over the years, many of my old friends have turned on me. The quality of television programming has plunged considerably with the advent of these horrible reality shows. Even “The Simpsons,” the esteemed bastion of clever animation, has not registered a single laugh in the last six years among the high-school-educated. Movies also have stunk »

Rocking out in rocking chairs

October 8, 2004
This week, two venerated veterans of arty rock and roll, Tom Waits and REM, added to their already impressive discographies with highly anticipated records. Waits’ “Real Gone” is a dark, compelling record that matches the incredibly high level of his recent output. REM’s “Around the Sun” is a different story. The album is mired in »

Beach Boys weren’t just about the fun fun fun

October 1, 2004
Nobody cares if you can sing. Lessons or no lessons, this is the bottom line — whether you sound as weathered as Tom Waits or as pristine as Whitney Houston, the fact remains that you are, in fact, neither of them. And we know who you are, because you insist on broadcasting your ultimately boring »

Does fanaticism have a place in music? Nope

September 24, 2004
I don’t fear God. I suppose I should. I fear innumerable other things, such as shingles, the loss of any appendage, Willow. Who wouldn’t fear that little ankle-biter, especially when he has that menacing wand pointed at you? Still, I’ve never really feared God, which doesn’t mean I haven’t been warned. People frequently tell me »

The personal politics of teeth

September 17, 2004
I’m teething at the ripe age of 22, spitting blood and cursing wisdom. As many of those close to me can attest, the intense amount of pain that my impacted teeth have brought me has put me in perhaps the most irritable mood of my life, which is saying something, as those aforementioned people can »

A white boy explains his hip-hop fetish

September 10, 2004
There is a Yale accent. Of this I am reasonably certain, after several whole minutes of discussion and debate with my friends. My girlfriend described it best as a loud, authoritative tone that is adopted in order to drown out the voices of dissent that do not actually exist. It is the sound that an »

Musing about Wilco brings on unwanted nostalgia

April 23, 2004
So this is it — the last column of the year. Ah, these last four years have been glorious, haven’t they? Remember that time when so and so did this and we all laughed? Me neither, and even if I did, I would most likely have preferred to have forgotten it. Since not one morsel »

Studying to be too cool for school

April 16, 2004
Some people listen to music as if they’re studying for the verbal section of the SATs. Just as college hopefuls painstakingly learn the differences between verisimilitude and authenticity, many people (some of them repeat offenders) spend innumerable hours dissecting the disparities between The Fiery Furnaces and The Burning Brides. Granted, some sociopaths, like that reckless »

Rick confesses to the mistakes he’s made

April 9, 2004
Over the past fifteen years or so, I have purchased an exorbitant number of albums. Although I frequently adopt a supercilious tone that suggests some sort of infallibility, I will be the first to admit that I have bought numerous CDs that are excruciatingly bad. I’ve paid money for some of the most abysmal junk »

Blue is the color of music you should be listening to

April 2, 2004
Every few months or so I get fed up. The prospect of a promising new release just doesn’t entice me in any way. So, inevitably, I have to take a little sabbatical from my beloved rock music and cleanse the palate with the music that refuses to bore me, no matter how many hours I »

A god with ‘Flaming Lips’ came to Chicago and ate Cake

March 5, 2004
Wayne Coyne is a god. It’s just that simple. Christians latch onto a man that has been dead (the resurrection is semantic) for approximately 2,000 years, which is just absurd when, in these modern times, Mr. Coyne resides within the very boundaries of the continental United States in dusty Oklahoma City. I do not mean »

Strange women make it to MTV occasionally

February 27, 2004
It’s official–the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are buzzworthy. The new video for the single “Maps” features that lovely green stamp at the bottom deeming it worthy of consumption. Regardless of how much apprehension you must feel watching a video by a mysterious band led by a singer with a unique sense of style, MTV says it’s »