James Bond theme songs ranked best to worst

James Bond actorsJames Bond has been a cinematic icon for almost 60 years. No other film subject has had such an enduring presence, yielding new movies every few years. And what makes a successful James Bond theme song? The music should convey a touch of mystery, seduction, excitement, danger. There’s also room for a touch of humor. While the Bond films have tried on a variety of styles over the years—cabaret, R&B, rock, pop, adult contemporary—the most successful have felt integrated with the movie, stimulating the imagination. Here’s my take on ranking the 25 theme songs to date. Continue reading →

The complete list of witch songs – with the top 13

Witch songs imageThis is a list of witch songs. That is, songs about witches. You’ll find these songs in just about every genre from jazz to rock to soul to Broadway to rap, decade after decade, proving the enduring power of the imagery. Especially as a metaphor for the enchantment of love. Often the lure is tinged with danger. Or at least mystery. I’ve selected thirteen of the best, most enchanting tunes for the first part of the list. In the second part you’ll find a compilation of additional songs. While many more songs reference witches in passing (like “Sister Janet” by Tori Amos), this list focuses on witches as the main subject of the song. And for the most part, these are the original recordings, not covers. Continue reading →

Top 13 best horror movies of all time

Top 13 horror moviesI admire horror movies that create a sense of horror with subtlety and artistry. Ten years have passed since I created my “Top 13 Horror Movies for Halloween” list. For that list, I included whimsical and comedic movies to offer a range of moods. This time, I want to focus on truly unsettling movies. I’ve also had second thoughts about one film on the list (which I’ll go into below). And some excellent movies have come out in the intervening years. So it’s time to offer a new list based on updated impressions. We can debate what qualifies as a “horror” movie, but each of those in this list thematically deals with horror. Continue reading →

Top 10 Best Dance Songs of All Time

DJ mixing dance musicSuch a tough choice. Looking back over half a century of dance music, how do you choose only ten songs? I settled on these particular tracks because they represent a range of influences, and stand out for their lyrics, subject matter, musicianship, and power. They are not necessarily the most popular tunes of their time (although some became huge pop hits), or even the most influential. For that you can consult other top 10 lists. These tracks touch that universal human impulse to move your limbs to the rhythm, but have something more to say than just “Let’s dance.” Continue reading →