Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Pere Ubu: The Long Goodbye [Cherry Red, 2019]
Except for what might well have passed as a farewell album--namely, 2018's 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo--parsing what one of David Thomas's works of art "means" has long been a superfan's game. This double-CD, two versions of the same music with the live-in-France one superior, is relatively engaging/engaged in its mostly recitative way and seems to be inspired by the Raymond Chandler novel, to what end it's just entertaining enough to inspire superfans to ponder: patriotism as pessimism, nirvana as oblivion, feeling blue. It's also his farewell album until he changes his mind. My favorite track is "Fortunate Son," set in a "Waffle House with a view of Walden Pond," where he cries about America and pays the bill of a man who plays "Fortunate Son" and "Layla" on the jukebox--but declines to tell the guy whether he actually likes Eric Clapton. B+