Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Psychedelic Furs: Should God Forget: A Retrospective [Columbia, 1997]
Punk engenders postpunk, which incorporates--these guys are English, after all--its essential prepunk Bowie-Ferry axis, but bypasses its equally essential pub, garage, and roots axes. All operative imperatives are purely aesthetic, powered by vagaries of taste, quiddities of form, and oddities of talent; however inevitable the resulting music may have sounded, it was obviously all pose, and just as it had no cultural significance then, it has no historical significance now. All it does is go around on its track and sound good--surprisingly good, considering how meaningless it is, and how inexorably it descends toward sounds-bad. With sincerity off the table, and tune and performance steady as they go, the great puzzle then becomes why the band couldn't keep it up. Because aesthetic imperatives have a moral life just like cultural and historical ones, that's why. A-