Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Now That's What I Call Tailgate Anthems [Sony Music Entertainment, 2017]
This decades-spanning blunt instrument dispenses with the vaguely heart-warming ecumenical mix-and-match the Now cartel usually makes a pass at. It's segregated by what we'll call culture: first six pop-metal warhorses whose Queen-Bon Jovi-Journey-Kiss-Survivor-Europe titles you can fill in yourself, then seven somewhat less reliable dance-rap bangers, after which sole woman Pink's best-in-show "Get the Party Started" transports us into a three-track country finale that left me wondering how I'd missed Sam Hunt's off-concept "House Party" and concluding once and for all that Jason Aldean is a blander, less macho Luke Bryan. Every single track is broad in the beam, "rock" at its most obvious even if the details are hip-hop or country--rock for jocks. But there are times when the Kiss-Lil Jon continuum is just right for clearing the sinuses or getting you to the next rest stop, and this will definitely do that job. A-