By Kyle | March 20, 2015
A listicle by me.
By Kyle | July 8, 2013
So Jennifer Lopez performed in Turkmenistan for a ruthless dictator who disappears political opponents and even sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Then she failed to apology or donate her fee to a worthy cause. More in my Sunday column.
By Kyle | February 3, 2013
In my Sunday column, I talk about my abiding love for the musical stylings of Mr. Barry Manilow.
By Kyle | June 25, 2012
George Will has the Beach Boys as avatars of freedom, of a glorious sunshine-y Reagan/Goldwater individualism that could not be farther from today’s California, which is more or less an organized conspiracy of the careless rich and the government-dependent poor, abetted by an influential middle of government workers….Michael Anton of the Claremont Review of Books has a wonderful long-ish essay about Brian Wilson, “Smile” and the politics of the Beach Boys. Says Anton:
Yet despite their incomprehensibility, the lyrics for Smile remain fresh because of the music’s optimism and exuberant innocence. That beneficent Southern California sun shines through in every word. Though penned in the mid ’60s, there is scarcely a trace of the America-bashing then sweeping the intellectual and artistic classes. The Boys—and especially Brian—certainly succumbed to the carnal temptations of the time. But they never bought into the dystopic New Left vision of “AmeriKKKa.” In 1983, President Reagan’s buffoonish Secretary of the Interior James Watt canceled a planned Beach Boys concert in Washington, claiming that the Boys drew “the wrong element.” Both the president and the vice president publicly demurred; Watt was forced to relent. President and Mrs. Reagan warmly received the Boys at the White House. They later performed—gratis—before more than half a million fans on the National Mall. Front man Mike Love described singing on the Fourth of July in the heart of the nation’s capital as the greatest moment of his life.
By Kyle | April 5, 2012
I don’t think it’ll work but someone is giving it a try. By the way: Has anyone ever noticed that despite the raging genius on side one, side two of the album is … not that great?
By Kyle | February 16, 2012
The ceremonies will be live-streamed. EW promises a live blog about it. And the slightly queasy feeling in my stomach grows. Ugh.
I’d be sympathetic to genuine displays of emotion, if there are to be any. The staged, publicity-seeking variety is kind of revolting.
By Kyle | February 13, 2012
The bizarrely festive atmosphere surrounding Whitney Houston’s death on Grammy weekend has me puzzled. This was the most successful female singer of the era, and a frequent presence on the Grammys. Did anyone consider postponing? Nah. Was there soul-searching, reflection on the excesses of the pop-star life, on the damage wrought by global fame at a young age, on the enabling that goes on around someone whose increasingly diva-ish and self-destructive behavior is shrugged off?
Much the opposite. The music industry seemed to revel in the spotlight being cast on it, with Whitney’s death merely the unfortunate inciting mechanism. The party went on in the very hotel where her body lay. Rihanna said, “Make some noise for Whitney!” as though applause and whoops were the appropriate reaction to a decades-premature demise. The Grammy ceremony itself included only perfunctory mentions of Houston. And everyone went on jamming and jiving and preening as usual.
What is wrong with these people?
By Kyle | February 2, 2012
By Kyle | December 15, 2011
It turns out not just anyone can promote a political speech at Zuccotti Park: pro-American rock band “Madison Rising” was denied a permit to perform on the same spot where Jackson Browne and Tom Morello of “Rage Against the Machine” played. Todd Seavey has more about what it’s like to rock hard while leaning right.
By Kyle | December 2, 2011
Amity Shlaes takes a break from her superb financial-historical writing to make an argument for Taylor Swift as the pro-parent, anti-bully (and anti-Miley) role model for young girls. Interesting stuff. It’s touching that her song “Best Day” is about driving around with her mom laughing it off after suffering from Mean Girls at school.