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Just Like a Muse to Me

A Monday-morning five-star review from the Rolling Stone “Hall of Fame.” Madonna, Like a Prayer (1989) When people talk about Madonna exposing herself, they normally mean her tendency to drop her knickers. But her fourth proper album, 1989’s Like a Prayer, is filled with nakedly emotional songs such as “Promise to Try,” (about her mother, […]

posted 9 May 2011 in Reviews. 4 comments

Remixed But Still Jingling

Another five-star review from the Rolling Stone “Hall of Fame”: L.L. Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out (1990) “Don’t call it a comeback!” L.L. Cool J shouted at the start of “Mama Said Knock You Out.” By 1990, for all his bravado, L.L. was sorely in need of a career boost. As he rapped […]

posted 22 March 2011 in Reviews. no comments yet

Used to Sing on the Mountains But the Mountains Washed Away

Monday morning seems like a good time for Zeppelin appreciation. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy (1973) When George Harrison met John Bonham, the Beatle told Led Zeppelin’s drummer, “The problem with your band is you don’t do any ballads.” Singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page could have taken umbrage–they had written the gorgeous […]

posted 31 January 2011 in Reviews. 7 comments


With Prince William announcing his engagement and people simulating interest in the British royal family, it seemed like a good time to roll out another of my “Rolling Stone Hall of Fame” entries, this one a four-star review for the Kinks’ Arthur (not to be confused with Christopher Cross’s tribute to getting caught between the […]

posted 16 November 2010 in Reviews. 4 comments

Nashville Skyline

For your consideration, another five-star review from the “Rolling Stone Hall of Fame.” This time around, an often-ignored Dylan classic: Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline (1969) When Nashville Skyline, the last of Dylan’s brilliant ’60s albums, was released, fans examined every one of its twenty-seven minutes for portents of musical revolution like fortune-tellers poring over the […]

posted 1 November 2010 in Reviews. 1 comment

Darkness on the Edge of Town

I finally watched The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town on HBO, and was reminded anew how much I love Bruce Springsteen’s fourth album. This is a discovery I seem to make periodically: the last time was in 2003, when I reviewed the record in Rolling Stone (as part of the […]

posted 20 October 2010 in Reviews. 8 comments