Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

La Bamba [Slash, 1987]
To cover Ritchie Valens's rebel rock for your cultural heritage is neither sentimental self-deception nor desecration of capitalism. It's an inevitable impulse that exploits defiant gestures--which in this case showed small animus against either sentimentality or capitalism--for their enduring value, for the historical connections and intrinsic beauty sure to inhere in any defiant gesture worth remembering. Face it--at his wildest Valens is no longer much of a threat, even as an example. That Los Lobos didn't attempt to reconstitute that threat is unfortunate and no sin. Take the connections and the beauty for what they're worth. B+