Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Big Star: Third [PVC, 1978]
In late 1974, Alex Chilton--already the inventor of self-conscious power pop--transmogrified himself into some hybrid of Lou Reed (circa The Velvet Underground and/or Berlin) and Michael Brown (circa "Walk Away, Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina"). This is the album that resulted--fourteen songs in all, only two or three of which wander off into the psycho ward. Halting, depressive, eccentrically shaped, it will seem completely beyond the pale to those who already find his regular stuff weird. I think it's prophetically idiosyncratic and breathtakingly lyrical. A-