Tim Riley

NPR CRITIC, EMERSON COLLEGE PROFESSOR and AUTHOR TIM RILEY reviews pop and classical music for NPR’s ON POINT and HERE AND NOW and COPPER ma

Jun 7, 2018
Published on: blog riley
1 min read


THE BRIDGE

Working through the third season of the original (the Swedish) and lordy, what an argument for plot drivers. Both the British version (The Tunnel) and the American swallow that whole first season, and once you get past the dread of the cop losing his eldest son, it’s like the Scandinavians giving a master class on procedurals. Sofie Helin as Saga has a tantalizingly great head of hair she uses to tease the audience as a grumpy, Asperger’s-drenched detective. Great tension spills out between her looks and her personality, stumping and intriguing her colleagues, but she steers more activity through her intelligence than anything else.

SPOTIFY THE STATUS QUO

“…On a fifty-track playlist,” writes Liz Pelley in Baffler, “only one song led by a woman artist appeared.” Not only that: playlists like “‘Discover Weekly’ effectively reproduces gender bias. And the numbers show a slight intensification of said bias, too.”

And she’s not just riffing:

In his 2017 paper “The Spotify Effect: Digital Distribution and Financial Growth,” Patrick Vonderau of Stockholm University analyzes Spotify’s automated advertising technology and concludes that the platform is “not merely a music streaming service, but a media company operating at the intersection of advertising, technology, music–and most importantly—finance.

NOBODY EXPECTS THE BAROQUE PARTITA
“Baroque music seems to make the most potent repellant,” says Theodore Gioia in Bach at the Burger King (Los Angeles Review of Books)

ASTERISKS, UNITE!

The best Beatles books addendum, good company.

THE FIRE THIS TIME

Ta Nahisi-Coates’s muscular takedown of an easy target leans pretty hard on Michael Jackson’s self-destructive plastic surgery without mentioning his skin disease, his Dad, or Margo Jefferson’s essential On Michael Jackson. Only a victim of child abuse, both private and public, can being to explain MJ’s psychosis, and even that’s inseparable from his genius.