Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Consumer Guide Album

Bunny Wailer: Blackheart Man [Island, 1976]
This isn't what they mean when they say protest music is boring, it's what they mean when they say protest music is subtle--only they don't, which is what's wrong with protest music. The content of the lyrics is as straightforward as Rastafarian thought can be (not very), but the spirit reveals itself slowly--"Fig Tree" is Jamaican Blake, "Oppressed Song" Jamaican Brecht, and "Fighting Against Convictions" simply Jamaican English, the autodidactic patois of a "common" criminal. And the music--well. We've come a long way from reggae's "primitive" days, haven't we? The interweave of mixed-back horns and multiple percussion is as gratifying and elusive rhythmically as it is harmonically, Bunny's singing is endlessly sinuous, and if you think you never want to hear another version of "This Train," you're just wrong. A-