Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dan Bern: The Swastika E.P. [Messenger EP, 2002]
In 2001 Bern wrote an endlessly corny nine-minute 9/11 elegy that I liked that way. Then he mourned securities traders and lusted for revenge. Now the meanness of "Talkin' Al Kida Blues" is just as apt--in two lines the WTC is down, an atrocity that quickly pales against slavery and the Indians, and we're off to a John Ashcroft theme park as per Dylan-does-Woody. Elsewhere Bern writes a NORML ad in jail, waxes warm about wayward friends and Jewish forebears, and reclaims a symbol from Nazis, punks, everybody. Protest music--we need it bad. A-