Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Two new essay collections, published by Duke University Press

Book Reports features reviews of not only the pop-music tomes you'd predict but also literary fiction, Marxist-adjacent cultural commentary, feminist debates over pornography, and even books about the past decade's financial crisis. It follows a collection that Christgau published last year, Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967-2017, which includes Christgau's takes on, among many other things, classic rock, Kanye West, the music of Desert Storm, Lollapalooza, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and so-called guilty pleasures--a category that Christgau rejects, since, for rock critics, as he puts it, "pleasure is where meaning begins." Together, these collections make the sneaky case that Christgau is not just the Dean of American Rock Critics, his self-awarded and perhaps slightly off-putting nickname, but one of America's sharper public intellectuals of the past half century, and certainly one of its most influential--not to mention one of the better stylists in that cohort. Fun is a big part of why.

--David Cantwell, The New Yorker

News

And It Don't Stop

Robert Christgau announced (via Twitter):

ANNOUNCING--you know I care if I stoop to all-caps--And It Don't Stop, iteration who-can-count of my commercial staple, the graded album capsule. It will cost ya or it won't happen, but not quite yet. You know I care if I say retweets appreciated.

In email, Christgau wrote:

I just announced the launch of a Substack blog called And It Don't Stop. There was a glitch with the subscription details at first, but it's been fixed. Basic deal is $5/month for CG capsules, everything else--at the very least a book brief, often other stuff too--free.

Link to And It Don't Stop: Music. Books. Politics. Old Age.

Link to intro: It's a Start.

Robert Christgau also write a book review of Nicholas Lemann's Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream: To Bust You Shall Return.

XgauSez

New batch of XgauSez questions and answers.

The Consumer Guide database has been updated to include the final Expert Witness reviews written for Noisey. The review-by-date list is here. Here's a list of 2019 albums. The current stats show 17271 albums from 7553 artists on 3347 labels, with 15212 reviews.

XgauSez

New article by Robert Christgau:

Also recently added to the website:

XgauSez

New batch of XgauSez questions and answers.

XgauSez

New batch of XgauSez questions and answers.

Expert Witness: Robert Christgau Reviews Nicki Minaj's 'Queen'

New in Expert Witness:

  • Desaparecidos: Payola (Epitaph) A-
  • Nicki Minaj: Queen (Young Money/Cash Money/Republic) A-
  • Mekons: Deserted (Bloodshot) ***
  • Kristi Stassinopoulou & Stathis Kalyviotis: NYN (Riverboat) ***
  • Western Centuries: Songs From the Deluge (Free Dirt) ***
  • Wreckless Eric: Transience (Southern Domestic) ***
  • Better Oblivion Community Center: Better Oblivion Community Center (Dead Oceans) **
  • Robert Cray: Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (Jay-Vee) *

After this column was posted, Christgau tweeted:

I do this for money as well as love. So just in case this is the last Expert Witness not just at Noisey, which I'm sad to announce it is, but anywhere, it sticks to albums I'm way late on and albums I wanted to be sure to weigh in on. Enjoy. Consume, even.

Expert Witness: Robert Christgau Reviews Charly Bliss' 'Young Enough'

New in Expert Witness:

  • Chai: Punk (Burger) A-
  • Charly Bliss: Young Enough (Barsuk) A-
  • Tacocat: This Mess Is a Place (Hardly Art) **
  • Abjects: Never Give Up (Yippee Ki Yay) **
  • Drinking Boys and Girls Choir: Keep Drinking (Damnably) **
  • Pup: Morbid Stuff (Little Dipper) *
XgauSez

New batch of XgauSez questions and answers.

Expert Witness: Lizzo's Casual Confidence

New in Expert Witness:

  • Lewis Capaldi: Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent (Capitol) A-
  • Lizzo: Cuz I Love You (Atlantic/Nice Life) A-
  • Kevin Abstract: Arizona Baby (Question Everything, Inc./RCA) ***
  • Lizzo: Coconut Oil (Atlantic/Nice Life) **
Expert Witness: Robert Christgau on Vampire Weekend's Puzzlers and Big Thief's Minor Miracles

New in Expert Witness:

  • Big Thief: U.F.O.F. (4AD) A-
  • Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride (Columbia) B+
  • Martin Frawley: Undone at 31 (Merge) ***
  • Fred Thomas: Aftering (Polyvinyl) **
  • The Yawpers: Human Question (Bloodshot) *
Expert Witness: Robert Christgau Reviews Dub Master Lee 'Scratch' Perry

New in Expert Witness:

  • Lee "Scratch" Perry: Rainford (On-U Sound) A-
  • Tanya Tagaq: Toothsayer (Six Shooter) A-
  • Sneaks: Highway Hypnosis (Merge) A-

Here's a choice quote from David Cantwell's New Yorker review of Robert Christgau's essay collections, Book Reports and Is It Still Good to Ya?:

Book Reports features reviews of not only the pop-music tomes you'd predict but also literary fiction, Marxist-adjacent cultural commentary, feminist debates over pornography, and even books about the past decade's financial crisis. It follows a collection that Christgau published last year, Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967-2017, which includes Christgau's takes on, among many other things, classic rock, Kanye West, the music of Desert Storm, Lollapalooza, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and so-called guilty pleasures--a category that Christgau rejects, since, for rock critics, as he puts it, "pleasure is where meaning begins." Together, these collections make the sneaky case that Christgau is not just the Dean of American Rock Critics, his self-awarded and perhaps slightly off-putting nickname, (he has insisted that he was a little bit drunk and a little bit joking when he coined it), but one of America's sharper public intellectuals of the past half century, and certainly one of its most influential--not to mention one of the better stylists in that cohort. Fun is a big part of why.

XgauSez

New batch of XgauSez questions and answers.

Here's another excerpt from Robert Christgau's new Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading: My Friend Marshall, on Marshall Berman.

Expert Witness: Robert Christgau Reviews Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba's 'Miri'

New in Expert Witness:

  • Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba: Miri (Out Here) A-
  • Youssou N'Dour: History (Na´ve/Believe) A-
  • Two Niles: To Sing a Melody: The Violins and Synths of Sudan (Ostinato) B+

New review of Robert Christgau's essay collections Book Reports and Is It Still Good to Ya?:

Expert Witness: Robert Christgau Reviews Quelle Chris' Crisis Raps

New in Expert Witness:

  • Quelle Chris: Guns (Mello Music) A-
  • Epic Beard Men: This Was Supposed to Be Fun (Strange Famous) A-
  • Quelle Chris: Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often (Mello Music) **
  • Epic Beard Men: Season 1 (Strange Famous) *

Robert Christgau will be at Word Bookstore, 126 Franklin St., in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Thursday 5/23 at 7:30 PM, for a discussion of his new collection of book reviews and essays, Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading.

Expert Witness: Robert Christgau Reviews Music From Priests and the Coathangers

New in Expert Witness:

  • The Coathangers: The Devil You Know (Suicide Squeeze) A-
  • Priests: The Seduction of Kansas (Sister Polygon) A-
  • Camp Cope: How to Socialise and Make Friends (Run for Cover) **
  • Ex Hex: It's Real (Merge) *

A new batch of XgauSez questions and answers appeared last Tuesday.

Robert Christgau's second Duke University Press collection in six months, Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading, is shipping now. Some shopping options are listed on our book page (although consider your local bookseller). You can read the introduction here.

XgauSez

New batch of questions and answers.

Expert Witness: Robert Christgau Reviews 'Springsteen on Broadway'

New in Expert Witness:

  • Bruce Springsteen: Springsteen on Broadway (Columbia) A
  • Robert Forster: Inferno (Tapete) B+
  • Chris Butler: Got It Together! (Future Fossil) **
  • Peter Stampfel and the Atomic Meta Pagans: The Ordovician Era! (Don Giovanni) **

Rolling Stone has published an excerpt from Robert Christgau's new collection, Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading:

Expert Witness: Billie Eilish's Teen Goth Angst

New in Expert Witness:

  • Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Darkroom/Interscope) A
  • Little Simz: Grey Area (Age 101) A-
  • Billie Eilish: Dont Smile at Me (Darkroom/Interscope) B+
  • Little Simz: Stillness in Wonderland (Age 101) *
  • Little Simz: A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons (Age 101) *

Robert Christgau's second Duke University Press collection, Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading, is now ready to ship. 30% off from here with promo code E19CRGAU. Read an excerpt, including the introduction.

Christgau will appear and read from his book at McNally Jackson Independent Booksellers, 52 Prince Street, New York, NY, on Monday, April 29, at 7:00 pm.

Expert Witness: Khalid's Textured Anxiety

New in Expert Witness:

  • 6lack: East Atlanta Love Letter (LVRN/Interscope) A-
  • Khalid: Free Spirit (RCA) A-
  • Kyle: Light of Mine (Independently Popular/Atlantic) ***
  • Khalid: Suncity (RCA) ***
  • Brockhampton: Iridescence (Everything/RCA) **
  • Fat Tony: 10,000 Hours (Don Giovanni) *

A new batch of XgauSez questions and answers appeared last Tuesday.

Official publication date is May 3, but Robert Christgau's second Duke University Press collection in six months, Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading, is now ready to ship. 30% off from here with promo code E19CRGAU. Read an excerpt, including the introduction.

Christgau will appear and read from his book at McNally Jackson Independent Booksellers, 52 Prince Street, New York, NY, on Monday, April 29, at 7:00 pm.

XgauSez

New batch of questions and answers.

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