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Kit Rachlis


  • Plastic Letters

    If Plastic Letters were a movie, it would be an American International production. Grade B all the way, its effect is blatant and immediate. For Blondie, garishness is next to godliness — and, if the impact doesn't last, it's partly because listening to most of these songs is about as predictably provocative as turning the […]

    • Music
  • Hold Out

    Everything that's right and everything that's wrong about Hold Out, Jackson Browne's first studio album since The Pretender (1976), can be found in its climax: the spoken confession at the end of the last cut, "Hold On Hold Out." Eight minutes long, "Hold On Hold Out" is the LP's anthem, its farewell address and would-be […]

    • Music
  • This Year's Model

    Listening to Elvis Costello is like walking down a dark, empty street and hearing another set of heels. His music doesn't make you dance, it makes you jump. It doesn't matter that he's stalking his obsessions and not you, because nobody ought to be this sure of his obsessions. But Costello appears determined never to […]

    • Music
  • Small Change

    The people who populate Tom Waits' songs are deeply rooted in 20th-century American mythology. They come from tough-guy novels, pulp magazines, radio serials and film noir. Waits isn't interested in the heroes of this fiction, but with the people who exist on its fringes: cabbies, newsstand dealers, shoeshine boys and all-night waitresses. In the perverted […]

    • Music
  • Hard Rain

    Like all public figures, Bob Dylan is as much prisoner as master of his own persona. What distinguishes Dylan is that he has recognized that paradox with more probity than anybody else in rock. It's been central to his work since the day he arrived in Greenwich Village imitating Woody Guthrie and emulating Elvis Presley. […]

    • Music
  • In The Pocket

    In the Pocket is a cool, impersonal, slick piece of work. For the man who almost single-handedly popularized the role of the "sensitive" singer/songwriter — the performer who bared his soul for all to see — this record represents a curious retreat behind the barriers of pop convention. If Taylor intended In the Pocket to […]

    • Music
  • Lucille Talks Back

    B.B. King has built a whole career on the art of ellipsis. To his best work he has always brought an unerring sense of grace, elegance and, above all, economy. Beneath the carefully worked out horn arrangements, the clearly enunciated vocals, the eloquently crafted, always brief, single-string guitar lines, lies an internal tension — a […]

    • Music