Pop Music for Grownups: Sam Phillips’ “Push Any Button”

Courtesy of Littlebox

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Sam Phillips
Push Any Button
Littlebox Recordings

The namesake of the Sun Records visionary and ex-wife of superproducer T-Bone Burnett, Sam Phillips originally recorded Christian pop as Leslie Phillips. Since rebranding herself in the ’80s, she’s released a stunning series of secular (yet still spiritually inclined) albums, as well as writing music for the TV series Gilmore Girls and Bunheads, and (improbably) playing a terrorist in one of the noxious Die Hard films.

Push Any Button compares favorably with such standout ’90s Phillips albums as Omnipop (It’s Only an Flesh Wound Lambchop) and Martinis and Bikinis. Though her lyrics occasionally look heavenward—in “No Time Like Now” she observes, “What comes after living is bigger than we know”—there’s not a drop of treacle in her musings, thanks to twisty melodies and a tart, sardonic voice that recalls John Lennon’s later work.

Phillips delivers a memorable portrayal of a woman at odds with the real world, wandering in a maze of introspection as she scoffs at trend-setters (“Pretty Time Bomb”), dismisses a faithless lover (“When I’m Alone”) and embraces hope (“Can’t See Straight”) without qualification. Regardless of your affiliation (or absence of one), Push Any Button is thoughtful, tuneful and seriously addictive pop for grownups.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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