Tipping Point: Our picks and pans
All 229 of Taylor Swift’s Songs, Ranked
Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone
I have been obsessive about many musical artists and have often ranked my favorite albums by some of these artists. At no time, however, did it occur to me — even for money — to rank an entire catalog of songs by a prolific band or solo writer. Why would I? Why did Rob Sheffield? Hell if I know. If each Swift song is three minutes long — a conservative estimate — it would take Rob about 12 hours to listen to them all. ONCE. To hear them enough to seriously attempt to rank 229 of them with some reasonable authority and comprehensive knowledge? Hmm. Listen to each song 25 times? Thirty? A hundred? And what was Mrs. Sheffield doing while Rob was working on his list? “Rob, are you STILL in there listening to Taylor Swift? You know she’s a LOT younger than you, right? Rob?! ROB! Take off those freakin’ headphones!” Anyway, yes: Rob offers a concise bit of commentary plus a “best lyric” for each tune. Oh, and I think he should switch #127 with #139.
— Rick Koster
Ticket to Paradise
Take this “Ticket to Paradise” to bask in the superstar glow of Julia Roberts and George Clooney. Their chemistry still crackles, and you can tell they really enjoy each other. As for the rest of this romantic comedy — like the script and the other actors — well, it’s all rather mediocre, but did I mention that George and Julia are, you know, George and Julia? They play bickering exes who team up to keep their daughter from jumping into an impulsive marriage. The daughter’s intended lives in Bali, so the scenery — with Australia standing in for Bali — is just to die for. Kaitlyn Dever is uncharacteristically bland as the daughter. Billie Lourd doesn’t get enough screen time to make a bigger impression as the daughter’s wild-child best bud. But, hey, there’s Julia and George!
— Kristina Dorsey
Come with Me
From the admittedly substantial pile of thrillers based around the idea of “you only THOUGHT you knew your spouse” comes this hell-kicker by noted horror writer Malfi. There are indeed a few touches of supernatural in the story, but these might be explained by the excessively raw emotions of grieving widower Aaron Decker after his wife Allison, a newspaper writer, is killed in a mass shooting. The true tension in the novel builds through a runaway series of reveals that occur when Aaron discovers his wife had for years secretly investigated the murders of young women throughout the Mid-Atlantic region where they lived. The more Aaron learns, the more freaked he becomes — and Malfi artfully fits the reader’s head in a noose and s-l-o-w-l-y begins to take out the slack. Take a deep breath. You’ll need the oxygen.
— Rick Koster