by Greil Marcus

(1) Kelly Clarkson, “Already Gone” (from All I Ever Wanted, Sony BMG). Sometimes you want singers to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Especially when they sound like Sarah McLachlan.

(2) The Missing Person, written and directed by Noah Buschel (The 7th Floor). Matching its center of gravity—the way that with every scowl directed outward at the world Michael Shannon’s private eye pulls more deeply into himself, as if he can make himself his own black hole—the movie itself is dark and muffled. It’s hard to see and hard to hear. The plot is full of dead ends. But there is one moment of clarity, so full of unguarded warmth it seems to be from another film altogether, or another life: the detective and a woman who’s picked him up in a bar dancing in a crummy Los Angeles hotel room as the radio plays the Jive Five’s 1961 “My True Story.” “But we must cry, cry, cry,” Eugene Pitt sings, going up high, turning the swamp of the past into at least a hint of a future, and you think, yes, tell this story—while at the same time you’re wondering, OK, a thirty-five-year old Jive Five fan, he’s from New York, I can believe that, but how did he find a doo-wop station in California?

(3) Punk shoes from Giovanna Zanella (Castello 5641, Calle Carminati, Venice). Six-inch heels on black pumps with a Doc Martens sole and a red Mohawk that looks more like a weapon than a haircut coming out of the back.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Greil Marcus is the author of Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, and The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice, and other books. His column, Real Life Rock Top Ten, runs monthly in the Believer.

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