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In Memoriam

Worthy of Mention

  • Spoon -

    Spoon: Girls Can Tell
    This is a great, understated album that merits repeated plays. Spoon have made a literate, rocking, breakthrough record that occupies a funny place--the songs are not unconventional, per se, yet they're somehow really special. Girls Can Tell displays the emotional resonance and big rock power of, say, Thin Lizzy and Mott the Hoople; the sonically referential, indie-rock smarts of a band like Versus; and amazing hooks that recall Colin Blunstone of the Zombies. Like Jennyanykind, Moviola, and the Lilys, this Austin, Texas, trio has chosen to work on perfecting their craft without paying much heed to mainstream or trends. In spite of (but mostly because of) wrenching breakup-centered lyrical material delivered in a very real, matter-of-fact way, Girls Can Tell is one of those life-affirming pop albums you know you'll return to in years to come. --Mike McGonigal (*****)

Books

  • Michael Hardt: Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire

    Michael Hardt: Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire
    Empire (2000)—the surprise hit that made its term for U.S global hegemony stick and presciently set the agenda for post–9/11 political theory on the left—was written by this same somewhat unlikely duo: Hardt, an American political scientist at Duke University, and Negri, a former Italian parliament member and political exile, trained political scientist and sometime inmate of Rome's Rebibbia prison. This book follows up on Empire's promise of imagining a full-blown global democracy. Though the authors admit that they can't provide the final means for bringing that entity about (or the forms for maintaining it), the book is rich in ideas and agitational ends. The "multitude" is Hardt and Negri's term for the earth's six billion increasingly networked citizens, an enormous potential force for "the destruction of sovereignty in favor of democracy." The middle section on the nature of that multitude is bookended by two others. The first describes the situation in which the multitude finds itself: "permanent war." The last grounds demands for and historical precursors of global democracy. Written for activists to provide a solid goal (with digressions into history and theory) toward which protest actions might move, this timely book brings together myriad loose strands of far left thinking with clarity, measured reasoning and humor, major accomplishments in and of themselves. (****)

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Friday, June 29, 2007

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