Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Daniel Lanois

  • Acadie [Opal/Warner Bros., 1989] B-
  • Shine [Anti-, 2003] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Acadie [Opal/Warner Bros., 1989]
In which Lanois adapts the all-embracing New Orleans groove to new age--not soft or lite or adult contemporary--rock. It has that intellectual aura, you know? Contemplating the human condition in sound as well as folkish words and melody, the mild-voiced Eno crony pieces together compositions that are half song, half "atmosphere" (as in "The atmosphere for this goes back a few years"). And tops them off with just you guess--"Amazing Grace," dummy. B-

Shine [Anti-, 2003]
Born September 19, 1951, Lanois has mortality on his mind, and "I Love You" nails it: "Come sure, come soon, come leave just one song/One song, one beat, one dust, one end, one for all/One stone for the marking for the dream when it falls." But this isn't literature, and since true fatalism requires a steely resolve that the failed humility and fake passivity of Lanois's gauzy sound don't comprehend, I pray somebody makes those lines worth hearing. Or no, not pray--there's enough of that in "Shine," a hymn to Sol, and "Falling at Your Feet," a hymn to God. C+