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

Courtesy of Littlebox

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate