Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  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
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Playboy Music

When you're selling exotic rhythms in a foreign language, the compilation--a natural enough way to package any dance-oriented singles music, most often seems the only way to go: You can really pick your spots. So I'm not sure how representative Earthworks/Virgin's Heartbeat Soukous and Hurricane Zouk are. All I know is that I'm sold.

The language is French and the rhythms are Afro-Caribbean--soukous is the guitar-based Zairean-Cuban rumba that has been evolving since the Fifties, and zouk is what happened to Antillean cadence when it bumped into rumba in Paris circa 1980. The soukous collection goes down easily, like classic disco without artificial ingredients. I dare you to resist the guitar hook on "Zouke-Zouke." The zouk approach is more kitchen sink: synth parts, funny fiddle furbelows and personable lingers, including Francky Vincent, a.k.a. Doctor Porn, who'll have you pulling down the Larousse you bought in high school. African music with a Parisian provenance Sometimes seems suspiciously schlocky This shit is just slick, Jack.

Playboy, Aug. 1988

July 1988 Sept. 1988