Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Michael Hall: Adequate Desire [Dejadisc, 1994]
Far be it from me to attribute his edge to the journalism on his boho resume, but he's always been a cut or two above the dozens or hundreds of marginal or semiprofessional singing songwriters who can pull your coat for a cut (or two). In fact, he's got a best-of's worth of tunes behind him: for starters, "Sharlene," "Debi Came Back," "I Work Hard," "I'm Sorry, I Can't Rock You All Night Long," "Don't Love Me Wisely," "Let's Take Some Drugs and Drive Around." But this is the first time he's opened the door to music lovers unequipped with the aesthetic discipline or psychological serendipity cut-above music usually requires. Since cut-above artists evolve just like the ones you keep your ear on, it catches him at an unrepresentative moment--he hasn't always been so reflective, although at this late date he may be stuck with it. He's not just trying to pin the moment when love reveals its mystery--he's trying to make it last as he looks death in the eye. A-