Syllabus: Music

9.18.2007

By Smith Galtney

Judy Garland
Live at Carnegie Hall

(1961, Capitol)
Lord knows the woman never recovered from drug abuse, but this milestone recording'billed as 'the greatest night in show business history''surely gave the beleaguered Garland a new lease on life, however temporary. Do yourself a favor: Cue 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' and keep a sizable box of Kleenex handy.

Rufus Wainwright
Want One

(2003, DreamWorks)
If Poses was the sound of plunging headfirst into celebrity and cocktail society, this is what happens when you stop going to parties but don't stop doing drugs. As always, Wainwright's a real drama queen'theatrical melodies, operatic arrangements, even a 'Bol'ro' reference'but it all boils down to one raw hour-long moment of clarity.

Marianne Faithfull
Broken English

(1979, Island)
By the late '70s Faithfull was a junkie has-been pop star living in a squat with no electricity or hot water. But then she made this cult masterpiece, which recast her as a worn, tattered, yet far from beaten chanteuse who wasn't afraid to sing lyrics like 'Every time I see your dick / I see her cunt in my bed.' We've bowed in submission ever since.

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