Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Elizabeth Cook: Aftermath [Agent Love/Thirty Tigers, 2020]
Having exhausted celebrity rehab last album out, Cook homes in on her home subject: women in the less pious precincts of the sub-middle class South, many of whom frequent the country music buckets of blood her daddy played as well as working that farm. Their belle ideal inspires the classic-in-waiting "Thick Georgia Woman," with her "hair that reaches for the sky" in the humid air without distracting from that "basket of peaches under her clothes." And closing it all out is the John Prine tribute "Mary, the Submissing Years," in which a 12-year-old Jesus disappears one Sunday after church, leaving his mom to relocate to Chattanooga, watch Steel Magnolias, drink rosť, take a few classes, and go on Instagram until she chops off her hair so as to pose as a man and save him from the fraternity hazing--"the worst kind"--she knows he has in store. A-