Sasha Frere-Jones




1. Right to sit. "Women on the subway who drop the full-on "Excuse me" and make a dude doing The Spread Legs get civilized and free up some bench. When men do it to other men, there is possible static. A friend once got cold-clocked for asserting his right to have thighs. (They aren't very big or assertive thighs.)"

2. Fire and rain. "I like it when natural forces go wild. Steam is hot. Rain and wind are loud and proud. (I regret any death and injury caused by these forces, and do not make light of anyone's suffering.) I like my city a little ragged. Some tumult makes us stop and talk to each other: The social resurfaces. More than a decade ago, Giuliani busted his champagne bottle on the Money Train (not a real train) and any time it gets stuck in the mud and the city gets to walk its walk (not the real walking), I rejoice."

3. Luc Sante's "Kill All Your Darlings". "Like me, Luc was young in this city when it was broken and spidered. This collection of essays is a parade for the dirt and impurity of the early '80s. It is also a big fat reminder to writers and readers. Web, print, whatever: Stuff your qualifiers. There is no excuse for bad prose. Sante couldn't write an infelicitous sentence, not even for $10 a word."

4. Priestbird, "In Your Time." "Priestbird used to be Tarantula A.D. I couldn't have cared less about Tarantula A.D. Now they are a Black Sabbath folk band with a doubleneck guitar and a cello. Pretty and spooky and ridiculous and shredding."

5. Lil Wayne. "Believe the hype and then multiply it by ten. You are going to feel dumb if you realize in five years that you were too cool to enjoy the dataflow."

6. Datpiff.com. "Mixtapes are free. Don't let anyone make you buy one."

7. "Vie Française" by Jean Dubois. "Bildungsroman of a man who comes of age during May 1968. The novel doesn't place its chips too clearly on any one number. To Dubois, the upheaveal of May '68 was powerful, but Gallic smugness was just as durable. Many beautiful sentences are pressed into the service of a satisfyingly tangential story that is much reporting as it is heartspeak."

8. Souen. "Old-school New York vegetarian spot that serves cheap, tasty, healthy food to a combination of new yogettes and old city freaks who carry their lives in Strand bags."

9. Today's 1 train. "A young Asian man using a cassette player for his personal listening. A woman reading a novel, her white hair dotted with patches of purple and blue, which matched her patent-pleather East European sneakers. A beautiful young woman with purple tights, a pink umbrella, and big Diane Keaton glasses, reading a subway map very slowly and looking entirely at peace."

Sasha Frere-Jones writes about music for The New Yorker.


1. Right to sit. "Women on the subway who drop the full-on "Excuse me" and make a dude doing The Spread Legs get civilized and free up some bench. When men do it to other men, there is possible static. A friend once got cold-clocked for asserting his right to have thighs. (They aren't very big or assertive thighs.)"

2. Fire and rain. "I like it when natural forces go wild. Steam is hot. Rain and wind are loud and proud. (I regret any death and injury caused by these forces, and do not make light of anyone's suffering.)…"