Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Shamir: Ratchet [XL, 2015]
Shamir Bailey sings his sweet tunes in a mellow high tenor devoid of falsetto striving or pretensions to femininity. Yet he's not exactly boyish--just a gentle-sounding man flaunting and/or enjoying the irony of his intelligent club-kid anomie, with Nick Sylvester's electro matching him soft edge for soft edge. What sharpens the album is club-kid beats that are always understated and sometimes forsworn altogether but also sometimes irresistible--contextualized by intelligent lyrics that critique club-kid escapism more than they celebrate it. Overarching theme: "Girls are sad all of the time cuz/Good guys are so hard to find/So why not go out and make a scene?" A-