Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Madonna: True Blue [Sire, 1986]
Critics flock to her uneven product the way liberal arts magnas flock to investment banking--so desperate are they to connect to a zeitgeist that has nothing to do with them that they decide a little glamour and the right numbers add up to meaningful work, or at least "fun." I'm not saying her flair is pleasureless--the generosity she demands in the inexhaustible "Open Your Heart" is a two-way street and then some. But she doesn't speak for the ordinary teenaged stiff any more than Reagan speaks for union members (that's called "selling to," folks). And while the antiabortion content of "Papa Don't Preach" isn't unequivocal, and wouldn't make the song bad by definition if it were, the ambiguity is a cop-out rather than an open door (or heart), which is bad. In a time of collective self-deception, we don't need another snow job. B