Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rave On Buddy Holly [Fantasy, 2011]
High-profile film-music supervisor Randall Poster assembled quite the high-profile cast to revive these 19 ancient titles. The Black Keys! Cee-Lo Green! Florence + the Machine! My Morning Jacket! She & Him! A whole bunch of rather dull yet commercially viable succès d'estimes! But lo, handed the gift of Buddy's simple tunes and simpler lyrics, they joyfully escape the craft-by-numbers of their own compositions, leaving it to father figures Paul McCartney and Lou Reed to disrespect Holly's classics and to materfamilias Patti Smith to solemnize Holly's fluff--which they can, because they're Holly's coequals. The way his heedless old songs liberate cautious young professionals lays to rest any doubts as to whether he belongs in the same pantheon as George M. Cohan and Irving Berlin. He just bequeathed us a smaller book. A-