Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Playboy Music

Run-D.M.C. consists of two middle-class young men from the outskirts of New York City who admire Aerosmith and Harriet Tubman. They bill themselves kings of rock, they're certainly kings of rap, and their third album is where you may as well catch on, because they're not going away. Neither a collection of street hits such their debut nor an attempt to flatter white radio such as its follow-up, Raising Hell (Profile) has the single-minded musical movement of a true album; and while the heavy, staccato percussion and proud disdain for melody may prove too avant-garde for some, the style has been in the air for so long now that you understand it even if you don't know it yet. Do you have zero tolerance for namby-pamby bullshit? Do you believe in yourself above all? Then chances are you share Run-D.M.C.'s values.

Pet Shop Boys are two middle-class young men from the outskirts of London who admire David Bowie and Christopher Isherwood. Dominating the duo is Neil Tennant, who got his pop start puffing pretty boys for the British teen mag Smash Hits and soon realized he had the stuff of a pretty boy himself. Pet Shop Boys' debut album, Please (EMI America), sounds on the surface like the usual British pap, maybe a little catchier, but Tennant's not a writer for nothing. The yearning cynicism of his lyrics captures something sharp about the ambivalent romanticism of the people who create such product, and maybe consume it, too--before the rot sets in, that is. Do you want a lover for however long it lasts? Do you want to spend more money than you have? Then chances are you share the Pet Shop Boys' values.

Playboy, Oct. 1986


Sept. 1986 Nov. 1986