Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Barry White: Barry White's Greatest Hits [20th Century, 1975]
The man's commonness is as monumental as his girth, and that's no insult--Barry White may not be Good Art, but neither is Mount Rushmore. It took real creative will to shape Reader's Digest virtues and that face and body into a sex symbol. On record, the symbol has weight because White manipulates studio technology with as much originality as--no insult once again--Mitch Miller: the strings-versus-rhythm dynamics, as well as his much-maligned baritone, resonate with physical authority. It's a little early for a best-of--he proceeds at a rate of two hits per album. But as someone who considers his raps entertaining one-shots and prefers his songs at top forty length, I'm delighted anyway. And though the token rap isn't his best, it does feature his greatest line: "I don't want to see no panties." A-