Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-01-04


Robyn: Body Talk (Konichiwa/Cherrytree/Interscope, 2010) I don't hold it against her--in this musical economy, a Swedish disco dolly's gotta do what a Swedish disco dolly's gotta do. Nevertheless, the old codger in me is maddened by the sales strategy in which budget-priced half-hour June and September CDs are not quite subsumed by a full-priced December CD. Problem is, not counting remixes like the radio version of "Dancing With Myself," only one of the six new songs--namely, "Call Your Girlfriend," almost as discerning in its romantic decency as "Cry When You Get Older" on Pt. 1--matches up to anything on the first two, including "Cry When You Get Older," which it omits, as it does Pt. 2's "Criminal Intent" and "Include Me Out." Beyond milking obsessive fans, the idea of rounding her out commercially with a few more love songs is fine in principle. But it doesn't play to her strength, which is mindful defiance--club escapism that knows where it's coming from both personally and politically, and that feels the humanity of normals and freaks alike. From "Don't F***ing Tell Me What to Do" to "We Dance to the Beat," her songwriting in that vein is as strong as anybody's. Scattered across her three 2010 CDs is one great album. How I wish this was it. A-

The Corin Tucker Band: 1,000 Years (Kill Rock Stars, 2010) A deep, pained, sober, subtle album about a marriage in the throes of geographical separation--and then families out of money, lives out of gas, pasts out of reach. Throughout, guitarist-etc. Seth Lorinczi provides the right shades of darkness--sometimes enticing, sometimes engulfing--as Sleater-Kinney fans long for a bright and cleansing breakout. They get one as "Handed Love" goes out, when Corin shouts her desperation and rips off a riff, then tops the outburst with the even more rousing "Doubt." That's where first-timers will enter the record. Only later will they ask themselves just how rousing doubt can or should be--or so I hope, as does Tucker. A

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