Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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"She said `You can't repeat the past,' I said, `You can't? What do you mean you can't? Of course you can,'" sputters Bob Dylan in one of the hundreds of wonderful lines strewn through "Love and Theft" (Columbia), his best album since (choose one) Blood on the Tracks / The Basement Tapes / the date of his blessed birth. The album proves this thesis with its reclamation of old musical materials, its rock and roll pace, its heedless wit, and its youthful conviction that life is out there for the taking. Its concern with the passage of time comes naturally from someone whose 60th birthday was preceded a few years before by a near-death experience, and its tone is epitomized by the knock-knock joke that climaxes its greatest song. No one thought this was possible, including Bob Dylan. But it was.


With new r&b popping up faster than teen pap, forgive me for hyping a name brand from the ancient '80s: Babyface, whose Face 2 Face moves him to Arista, now headed by his partner Antonio Reid. Updated beats augment Babyface's famously woman-friendly lyrics on the best male r&b album of 2000--he's even got Snoop Dogg sticking up for babymamas.

Playboy, Sept. 2001


Aug. 2001 Oct. 2001