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Showing posts from December, 2007

The Best Music Of 2007

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I had a lot of time to listen to music this year, and with the help of NPR’s wonderful All Songs Considered podcast and certain websites, I managed to keep up with what was going on in pop music in 2007, even in France (where the majority of pop music is English-language anyway). Here’s an opportunity to spread the joy—my ten favorite albums of the year.

This list represents the music that appealed to me most and stayed in constant play on my iPod and stereo while I cooked, exercised, or just shuffled around the apartment. This is the soundtrack of my French year.

Armchair Apocrypha by Andrew Bird

No record got more spin than this one. Andrew Bird manages to be progressive without losing his humanism, staying bound within a soft-rock/singer-songwriter classification, but stretching it as far as it can go. Bird expands his rock trio by looping pizzicato violin riffs and ghostly whistles over his rock guitar, and never lets things get stale. Melodies build and shift and the action stops an…

Sleeping Beauty

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A funny thing happened on the way to adulthood: all my sisters turned into women. It’s something you don’t expect, that day you look at your kid sister, the one who used to dominate your home and life with her toys and songs and absurd fascinations (the Olsen twins), and see instead a Jane Austen heroine, someone emerged from that long, unambiguous, and unambitious childhood and adolescence into astonishing womanhood, and all in that single day.

Today is not that day for Coleen, my sister of twenty-one years, though it is her birthday. Her maturity came earlier, a year or so ago; hard to say, as I was not always here. But that did make it easier to spot it, Coleen’s blooming: she was here when I arrived.

What a funny, lovely girl! She always was, but now she comes in a more handsome package: student, worker, teacher. I meet her in the hallways and kitchen of our house. She is my next-door neighbor, and I catch her coming up the stairs on her way to her room. Ours is such an easy relatio…

I'm Not There

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I might have forgotten to mention that we would be going on break here at Sancho Panza. A month-long sabbatical in fact, obviously necessary to pressurize ourselves in preparation for a new life, one like the old one, and nothing like the last one, that holy sabbatical, an island out of time that will be forever suspended above everything as an example of life when it was good, or very much near it.

I am back in New York, standing on the cusp of the future, all black. And mostly I mean that as it is unrevealed to me; I have every opportunity open. I might begin again in New York or I might board a train tomorrow for Chicago or Los Angeles or Napa Valley (all places in consideration). These opportunities are there because of that other metaphor, the one that the future is black because it is unhappy.

I have lost my love, my great love, the best I ever had. My sweetheart is gone, my companion, my best friend. We fell apart. We speak still, across a continent, and tell each other of all we…