Monthly Archives: November 2014

No More Mr. Neutral: Federer Unleashed in Davis Cup Final

Outside my window in Times Square, a tuxedo-clad Roger Federer waves from the Moet advertisement from New Year’s Eve 2013. Perfectly coiffed, perfectly cool, and perfectly in control, it’s the Roger Federer who seems to have sailed through a record-breaking career without breaking a sweat. That Roger Federer is the perfect embodiment of Swiss precision, restraint, and neutrality.

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Review: Damien Rice at the Apollo Theater

“Thank you for coming back!”

A lone voice called out during a small pause between songs at Damien Rice’s sold out performance at the Apollo Theater Saturday night.  The Irish singer-songwriter paused, and smiled ruefully, and finally responded, “thank you for coming back.”  Rice was right to be grateful for the loyalty of his fans, who have endured an eight year hiatus between Rice’s 2006 album, 9, and My Favourite Faded Fantasy, released this October.  Aside from a few tracks on charity albums, a bizarre appearance at a Haiti benefit in 2012, and an unusually revealing interview concerning the disintegration of his band and his relationship with girlfriend and collaborator Lisa Hannigan, Rice seemed to be destined to become another one’s of rock’s famous recluses.  When asked how he spent the intervening years, Rice admits to doing a bit of sailing off the coast of Ireland, but mostly gives opaque answers about “cleansing” his mind, which might just mean therapy.  From the lyrics of My Favourite Faded Fantasy, it certainly seems that Rice has managed to seek and find forgiveness from those around him, and, perhaps most importantly, from himself.

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World Tour Finals Semifinals Preview

Well, for those of us who have been watching the round robin portion of the singles tournament, there have been a lot more bagels and breadsticks than we anticipated or, in all honesty, wanted. But, after a topsy-turvy year, the four semifinalists advancing to Saturday’s semifinals are excellent ambassadors for the year that’s been. Needless to say, we’re hoping the matches prove to be much more competitive than the thrashings that took place in the round robin portion of the tournament. We’ve had enough breadsticks and bagels to last us a while.

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Internet Time Wasters: November 2014 Edition

A barely curated list of things that have distracted me from doing more important things this month:

1.  Lindsey Buckingham Meets Soul Train

Not unlike that first Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial (see below), the combination of Beach Boys’ acolyte Lindsey Buckingham’s layered California pop and the grooviest studio audience of all time is a strange pairing that kind of works, yet feels so wrong.

Then again, Lindsey always did rock an excellent ‘fro.

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Stop, Drop and Roll: Thoughts from the WTF First Round

If you blinked, you may have missed the first round matches in the ATP’s World Tour Finals in London. While the run-up to London had an exciting race to find out who would qualify, the first two days have reflected the general tale of the ATP these days: predictable wins for the top players. While not competitive, per se, the matches certainly were illustrative of the ATP’s 2014 storylines.

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Why U2’s Fight for Our Attention Matters

It’s hard to imagine that the band that has spent the better part of the last three decades as the “world’s greatest band,” would have trouble getting attention.  Yet, after their critically acclaimed, but relatively modestly selling 2009 release No Line on the Horizon failed to capture the public’s imagination, U2 spent much of the intervening five years trying to figure out how to remain relevant to today’s music audience.  The end result was the fresh-faced collection of musings on their own personal and musical roots in Songs of Innocence, which they boldly gave away for free to nearly 500 million iTunes subscribers.

The question remains, nearly two months later, was it enough?

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