Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
Books:
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
Writings:
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  Contact
  What's New?
    RSS
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Consumer Guide Album

Raphael Saadiq: Jimmy Lee [Columbia, 2019]
Having made his solo name as a reinvigorator of tight, hooky, complexly cheerful Motown retro, the former Tony! Toni! Toné! headman's first album since 2011 reverts to an updated version of T!T!T!'s slick modernist r&b. Musically, the effect is to locate it stylistically in a tragic vision of black life that's devoid of street and hood--of realities turned hip hop commonplaces that too often ignore the complexities Saadiq addresses on this one-of-a-kind album: stress, addiction, AIDS, domestic combat, love that's not enough, money problems that keep on keeping on, and mass incarceration. The only surefire hook is the whole of a gospel march called "My Walk" that's even darker than the climactic "Rikers Island Redux." But Kendrick Lamar will get your attention when he leads a finale that's also a coda: "How can I change the world but can't change myself?/How can I please the world but not God himself?/How can I have the world still need some help?/How can I see the world stuck in this box?" A-