Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jesus H. Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse

  • Jesus H. Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse [, 2006] A-
  • Happier Than You [, 2008] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Jesus H. Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse [, 2006]
Risa Mickenberg writes and sings satirical theater songs accompanied by g-b-d-and-sometimes-k, two trumpets, and two trombones. All assume the p.o.v. of a neurotic young professional woman--loan officer, publicist, social planner, perhaps even actress--who may be Risa Mickenberg. Some of these songs are funny, the rest very funny. "Connecticut's for F*cking" seems self-explanatory, "Ellen's Bicoastal" cl*se enough; "Happy Me" is about falling in love on meds, "Vampire Girls" about sucking knowledge from your boyfriends. The jewel is the jealous fit "Obviously"--"I don't care. I mean I think she's a skank, but whatever, I don't care. I just don't see why you're denying it when it's obvious you two slept together . . . " You'll like it or you won't. In the latter case, don't send me your jokes. A-

Happier Than You [, 2008]
Remember Lina Lamont in "Singin' in the Rain"? Imagine a woman who sings the way she talks--only she can carry a tune and use her brain. Most guys consider her affected, but therapy has taught her that that voice is just part of who she is, like her insecurities, and she copes with both. Mostly in the first person, she explores characters like the compulsively obliging half-Broadway chameleon she is, even a guy once. She's manipulative in "Back Burner Guy," desperate in "I'm Around," over it in "I Miss Your Arm," not actually over it in "I Hope You're Happy" post-celibate in "Dry Spell": "Suddenly she feels pretty/Suddenly she feels young/Suddenly her neighbor on the co-op board is not wrong." If you have a heart, you'll wish her the best. But if you're a guy, you may be a little chary of taking her on yourself. A-

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