Blurbs About everything and anything, one a day, sometimes. Probably not when I’m sick or I forget. No worries. Want to get these ARTS & FARTS blurbs sent to your email? Follow the world’s greatest newsletter here. Go back to Brady’s reading list here. To find a review, click “command” and then “f” and type in something that I may have blurbed. All opinions are my own and do not reflect my employers. Duh.
3.31 Pet Sounds The Beatles were a better band, but they never made an album for adults as good as Pet Sounds.
3.30 Wings of Desire At my funeral, I want to give everyone a copy of this film; a painfully sad viewing (two angels wander through Berlin right before the wall came down) that, I think, I hope, made a better person.
3.17 Gorillaz – “Hong Kong” This gorgeous and evergreen-sounding B-side (melancholy tends to use the same few chords) turns dirty once you read the lyrics – a trick The Beatles pulled off several times.
3.16 Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots After not listening for many years, “You And Me” sounds like a revelation. The rest of the album is more surprising than underrated.
3.13 The Beatles – The White Album The only Beatles album that reminds me that they’re good musicians.
3.11 The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour When people say that Oasis ripped off The Beatles, they’re talking about this record. Also a rare example of Side B (“Hello Goodbye,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” “Baby You’re A Rich Man,” and “All You Need Is Love”) absolutely destroying Side A (“I Am The Walrus” and a bunch of noodles).
3.10 The Radio Dept. – Clinging to a Scheme Not a perfect album, but perfect at what it’s trying to do.
3.9 U2 – Achtung Baby U2’s best collection of songs, though it’s not their best album (War) or my favorite (Zooropa).
3.2 Phil Ochs – “Love Me I’m a Liberal” We could all use another listen of this good ‘ole tune about hypocrisy and hipster racism, regardless of your political mind.
2.28 Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride Bonus Tracks They’re bonus tracks for a reason, though it reconfirms how strong the album’s songwriting is.
2.18 Modest Mouse – This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About Other bands have done it better, but no one has made a more memorable indie-guitar tone.
2.16 Portrait of a Lady on Fire This good movie becomes great at its halfway point, but once it gets there, oh boy.
2.11 Luke Sullivan – “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This” A Guide to Creating Great Ads Very bro, very ’90s, still very worth reading if you’re interested in learning about making good (or better) copy.
2.11 Destroyer – Have We Met For people who like to talk about pretending to do cocaine more than people who actually do cocaine.
2.10 Ford v Ferrari Dad Rock: A Love Story
2.10 Marriage Story I, too, had to use my Genius Grant to pay for my divorce because my partner wanted to move from New York to Los Angeles, the only other American city.
2.10 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood A thoughtful, reflective Tarantino film … is still a Tarantino film.
2.10 Joker This prequel to Her sure was surreal.
2.10 Parasite A flashy “lol late-capitalism amirite” romp that told me exactly what I wanted to hear. And then the second half happens.
2.6 The Radio Dept. – Pet Grief A terrific album that would sound better if they didn’t follow it with the best album of the 2010s.
2.3 Gorillaz – Humanz What was limp and thin at the time now has aged well. This is probably by accident; Listeners are more comfortable listening to a 20+ track pop album now than they were back in 2017.
1.31 Jarvis Cocker – “Black Magic” My favorite pastime: Listening to rock stars too “good” for classic rock becoming washed and literally rewriting classic rock songs.
1.27 Tyler, The Creator – IGOR As soon as Tyler sounds vaguely like Frank Ocean, he’s rewarded as a rapper. Which is a shame.
1.27 Lizzo – Cuz I Love You Uplifting pop that’s a nice tonic to last decade’s depression pop. A singles album, but a very good singles album.
1.27 Billie Eilish – WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? “bad guy” deserves all its praise, yet trying to remake it 13 more times makes the album feel one-note. “xanny” is the highlight for sounding like a song Frank Sinatra would try to write.
1.27 The 2020 GRAMMYs As always, the real winners of the night are the pre-telecast GRAMMY winners, who are a million times more grateful than anyone during the primetime show.
1.24 Vampire Weekend – The Father of the Bride When Ezra Koenig finally wrote songs as well as Paul Simon.
1.24 Flu shots Not overrated.
1.24 Pearl Jam – “Dance of the Clairvoyants” When your dad listens to Black Midi for the first time and breaks out the good ‘ole six-string.
1.24 Arcade Fire – Everything Now Despite its own best efforts, 20 years from now this album will grow into a cult classic.
1.21 T. Rex – “Children Of The Revolution” The lyric “I drive a Rolls Royce, ’cause it’s good for my voice” alone deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1.21 HAIM – “Hallelujah” The song that, for me, finally moved this group from good to great.
1.18 Travis – The Man Who It’s crazy how “Why Does It Always Rain on Me” is one of twelve objectively good works of music in the history of music. The rest of the album is not bad, either.
1.16 The 1975 – “Me & You Together Song” The 1975 are back on their Goo Goo Dolls/Travis bullshit and it’s wonderful.
1.16 Weathering with You Climate Change: A Love Story
1.15 David Bowie – Let’s Dance An album that sounds better, and darker, as I get older. Potentially The Father of the Bride of Bowie albums. Washed and jammy on top of a lot of tension and uncertainty; intentional happiness in the face of the unknown.
1.14 Mura Masa – “Teenage Headache Dreams (with Ellie Rowsell)” The best song ever written for an iPhone commercial.
1.13 William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White – The Elements of Style Reading (and rereading) this book is like getting a yearly physical; you’ll be glad you did it.
1.13 The Great Recession Not a fan.
1.13 Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell! The best thinkpiece of 2019. I just wish the actual music was more memorable.
1.8 Sunday Service Choir – Jesus Is Born Releasing a good gospel collection right after the underwhelming yet interesting Jesus Is King is the smartest thing Kanye has done in years.
1.6 The 2020 Golden Globes And the award for most cringing goes to …
1.3 Justin Bieber – “Yummy” Refreshingly low-stakes for something we’re about to hear nonstop for the next 14 months; I welcome the era of washed Bieber.
12.30 The Bible The dad mellows out in part II.
12.29 Little Women The best Gilmore Girls holiday special yet. (This sounds more like an insult than it actually is.)
12.29 Uncut Gems I never thought a fistfight between Billy Madison and The Weeknd would be this enthralling and stressful.
12.27 Duster – ‘Duster’ I’m too much of a Virgo to enjoy this.
12.25 Nicholas Buccola – ‘The Fire is Upon Us’ A solid, sometimes winding introduction to Buckley, Baldwin, and the battle of “Known Goods” vs. “Unknown Betters.”
12.25 ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ The first Star Wars that feels like a Disney movie. Thank goodness for Adam Driver, and this is Daisy Ridley’s best performance yet.
12.17 ‘Watchmen’ (2019) Just good enough to justify its existence without overstaying its welcome. Sometimes (episode six, that Bowie cover), it’s great.
12.17 ‘Watchmen’ (1986) Apparently, you had to be there. I was not there. 3.5 stars. John Higgins is still a hero.
12.17 Camila Cabello – ‘Romance’ Real romance is wonderful, and it makes us boring.
12.17 Kaytranada – ‘Bubba’ It’s thrilling to hear a musician who actually knows how to use drums.
12.17 Coldplay – ‘Everyday Life’ Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness Lite
12.16 Harry Styles – ‘Fine Line’ Does shrooms once.
Arts & Farts, Est. 2019