Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jon Savage's 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded [Ace, 2015]
There's not much flow to this chronologically arranged 48-song soundtrack of the year the '60s became the '60s, which was also the year Sex Pistols' biographer and Teenage theorist Savage turned 13 while glued to pirate radio in London. But there wasn't much flow to turning on the radio anywhere that year--just wonderment, exhilaration, the "Kicks" Paul Revere and the Raiders claimed were "getting harder to find." That may be why they didn't make Savage's cut, but the main reason was the competition--there are only two number ones here, but beyond a few instrumentals most of the 20 or so singles Yank me didn't recall are pretty kicky, including a spooky Seeds B-side, a Kim Fowley freak-out, and an R&B hit joking about the draft. My sole cavil is why in hell opt for the B-side of Joe Tex's magnificent "I Believe I'm Gonna Make It," in which an R&B draftee ain't no joke: "I raised up and got me two more enemies"? Note, however, that my sentimental fave here isn't on the condensed version Ace provided Spotify: Norma Tanega's loopy hippie fable "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog." Find it on YouTube, like, now. Or better still, buy this thing. A-