Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Jeffrey Lewis: When That Really Old Cat Dies [Spotify/Amazon/Apple, 2022]
Downloadable as I write from Amazon and Apple, Lewis designates these seven songs "a dumping ground for tracks I didn't have any other place to put." He first uploaded them to Spotify because he'd been told "that Spotify has internal automatic compression/volume stuff, to standardize all recordings." Unfortunately, he reports, "it seems not to really work--I think the volumes are inconsistent." No audiophile myself, I'd say that's inconsequential given how much I admire these seven selections, mostly outtakes from 2015's Manhattan and 2019's Bad Wiring. The halting, tender title threnody evokes the eccentricities and need for privacy I've observed as my own cats reached their ends. But that's just a beginning here as the songs proceed immediately to the surprisingly persuasive "What I Love Most in England (Is the Food)" and continues from the last-minute birthday party announcement "You're Invited" to the climactic "Guest List Song." Inspirational Verse: "You bought me a brew once in two thousand and two/You did a favor for me and so I did one for you/Yeah I put you on the guest list and I did it on two other occasions/But when you ask the fourth time maybe that's the statute of limitations." A-