Nothing is Forever: Twenty Years of BRINGING DOWN THE HORSE

On May 21st, my favorite Nineties album turns twenty years old.

Much like Jakob Dylan’s wearily melodic lyrics and vocals, revisiting Bringing Down The Horse makes me feel nostalgically weathered and youthfully empowered.

While The Wallflowers critically and commercially successful sophomore effort isn’t as highly regarded or widely remembered as some of its Grammy nominee company (including Crash, OK Computer, Yourself Or Someone Like You, Tragic Kingdom, or its closest genetic competition – Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind), the 11-track T Bone Burnett production is a musical time capsule and one of my formative decade’s greatest records.

With logical composition and palpable tonal chemistry, Bringing Down The Horse flows like the beautifully devastating Golden State Warriors offense. “One Headlight” is the flashy, yet fundamentally flawless standout opener with a once-in-a-generation chorus. Like Stephen Curry, it embodies an era that it helped mirror and shape. “6th Avenue Heartache” isn’t as recognizable, but it’s the glue that elevates everything (including former tourmate Adam Duritz’s haunting harmonies) that follows its emotional lead. It’s Young Dylan’s “Draymond Green.”



“The Difference,” “Laughing Out Loud,” and “God Don’t Make Lonely Girls” couldn’t sound more different than “Invisible City,” “Josephine,” and “I Wish I Felt Nothing,” but they somehow complement and enrich each other. It’s a collection better suited for vinyl than Spotify.

After releasing three solid, underappreciated follow-ups (Breach, Red Letter Days, and Rebel, Sweetheart) The Wallflowers took a 7-year hiatus before returning with 2012’s underwhelming Glad All Over. With only two shows planned in 2016, it doesn’t seem like Dylan, keyboardist/Foo Fighter Rami Jaffee, current drummer/founding Red Hot Chili Pepper Jack Irons, and their fellow touring members will formally commemorate Bringing Down The Horse‘s anniversary by bringing it back on the road.

Their lack of sentimentality feels somewhat fitting. Nothing is forever.


The Fisher Fling

Last night, Peyton Manning delivered Denver a championship and essentially completed his improbable transformation into Tim Tebow.

While his big brother Sheriff was busy not losing Super Bowl 50, New York “Deputy” Eli Manning was weirdly foreshadowing my immediate response to Monday’s Derek Fisher firing.


As many local Orange and Blue junkies (including the other 4/5ths of my inglorious Knicks texting group “Janis Porzingis“) rejoiced, I involuntarily projected genuine surprise sans shock.

The Knicks have now fired their head coach in four consecutive presidential election years (Fisher follows Don Chaney – 2004, Isiah Thomas – 2008, and Mike D’Antoni – 2012). This is an especially incredible streak considering they also don’t discriminate from seat changes during midterm election cycles (Larry Brown – 2006, Mike Woodson – 2014).

The Knicks may be the only organization more volatile than 2016’s GOP (though Vivek’s royal shitshow certainly gives them a run for their millions), but this sudden move feels more pragmatically proactive than pridefully impulsive.

In his second Sports Illustrated column, former Grantland scribe Andrew Sharp asserts “This could definitely be James Dolan watching the past two weeks and deciding to blow his kazoo. But if you’ve been paying close attention to the Knicks, it’s more likely that Phil Jackson is worried about the next two years. He saw something he didn’t like, and he realized that the only move crazier than firing Derek Fisher now was hiring him in the first place.”

My fellow Knicks apologists need to passionately cling to this belief as warmly as Peyton embraced Papa John before going to Disneyland.

After all, who will remember John Fox?






THE REVENANT & Leo’s Celebrity

Really enjoyed my friend Evan Klonsky’s REVENANT review. Some (brief) follow-up commentary:



“Mr. DiCaprio” is so special because he’s always occupied unique territory in the dead center of a “method vs. personality star” Venn diagram.

His (Hugh Glass-esque) relentless commitment to roles never comes at the expense of a “Leoness” that isn’t clearly definable. Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks are also method/personality hybrids, but their distinguishing traits are significantly easier to distinguish.

Leo’s public persona/mystique is performance art that continues to evolve with/throughout his career. THE REVENANT is no less about celebrity than Iñárritu’s BIRDMAN.


Soul Loves

It’s been a soul-crushing week.

After weirdly eulogizing David Bowie on ★’s release date (just three days prior to his passing), Ziggy Stardust’s *first* No. 1 US album now feels Warren Zevon’s “The Wind”-esque. “I Can’t Give Everything Away” is Bowie’s “Keep Me in Your Heart.

Visiting an appropriately vibrant tribute outside The Thin White Duke’s New York apartment was a touching affirmation of the unprecedented mark he’s left personally, locally, globally, and intergalactically.


Glenn Frey was my favorite member of a uniquely talented and accomplished rock institution that has always been greater than the sum of its parts (and not solely for their unrivaled harmonies).

Don Henley’s vocals are more conventionally beautiful, but Glenn Frey may have possessed the most purely American voice I’ve ever heard. And he was good in JERRY MAGUIRE!

I last saw The Eagles back in 2014 and thought they’d soar forever. I was right.

While he wasn’t a rock star (he could certainly sing, though), losing Alan Rickman also struck a chord. Many will remember Rickman as Hans Gruber and/or Severus Snape, but I’ll always think most fondly of him as Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest. 

This role really encompasses what made Rickman special. In this (ahead of its time) source material for a future Amazon original series, he radiates accessible and lighthearted humanity within a curmudgeonly thespian shell.

Rickman never wanted you to take him any more seriously than he didn’t take himself. By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, he shall be remembered.

Bowie, Frey, and Rickman each seemed conscious and proud of their respective show business legacies and longevity.

Their mortality reminds us of our own, but their lives illuminate the beautiful ways shared creativity can connect strangers via shared pop cultural experience.

A soul-crushing week can really make the heart expand.

FIRST IMPRESSION PROSE (Season 20, Episode 2)

*ICYMI: FIRST IMPRESSION PROSE (Season 20, Episode 1)*

A few scorching observations from this week’s “Ride Along” to Malebolge and back:

1. Still not an occupation.


2. Chemistry as a metaphor is just a lame simile.

3. Shouts to all of Ben’s former teachers who were most definitely watching their newly famous former student call them hags (paraphrasing) on one of network TV’s most enduring programs (while “running through the halls of high school” faster than John Mayer runs from the fact he once penned this euphorically nostalgic song). 

4. Ben blaming that Ricky Rubio-esque jumper on his button-down may have murdered fellow Hoosier Jimmy Chitwood.

5. I’m making eye contact with you too, Lace!


6. “Hi kids. Are you having fun during your reality television-induced abandonment?”

7. Poor Man’s Noah Emmerich SLAYS as dystopian Dr. Love.

8. Shushanna speaks English?!


9. On a scale of 1-Carrie’s Mom:

Abandoning your two little girls for a dating show = Carrie’s Mom

Only acknowledging their existence out of pure desperation = 7.5

Comparing them to other contestants’ dogs = 7.0


10. “If it was never new, and it never gets old, it’s a song from Amos Lee’s bizarro private concert during The Bachelor’s 20th season’s second episode.” – Llewyn Davis

11. I obviously chose “LB” in my first ever suicide pool. Blessing in disguise. My fickle heart wasn’t built for this show.

12. See y’all next week?