Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-01-20

2012-01-20

Adele: 21 (XL/Columbia, 2011) Part of me likes how many albums this proud white-soul normal has sold, but the part that likes fast ones wins ("Rolling in the Deep," "Rumour Has It") **

The Black Keys: El Camino (Thrill Jockey, 2011) With advice from Master of All Soundscapes Danger Mouse, they construct a loud blooze-rawk one, complete with song outlines ("Lonely Boy," "Run Right Back") *

Drake: Take Care (Cash Money/Universal Republic, 2011) Musical docudrama proves conclusively that having too much money is bad for you, so how come no one gets the point? ("Make Me Proud," "Headlines") **

Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop, 2011) Darker and more socially conscious than their escapist admirers or their ideological detractors are equipped to notice ("Helplessness Blues," "Someone You Admire") *

Girls: Record 3: Father, Son, Holy Ghost (True Panther/Fantasy Trashcan, 2011) Phil Spector overstated his feelings too, and look where it got him ("Honey Bunny," "Magic") **

St. Vincent: Strange Mercy (4AD, 2011) Adele and Gaga watch your backs, lest she take art-rock pop ("Cheerleader," "Dilettante," "Cruel") ***

The Weeknd: House of Balloons (NG/Artemis download, 2011) If coming leaves your penis feeling that bad, fella, remember that they're not called narcotics for nothing ("Wicked Games," "House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls") ***

Wye Oak: Civilian (Merge, 2011) Rising into exultation, fading into doubt ("Holy Holy," "Civilian") **

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