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40 items by Robert Christgau

  • The Lost World of 'Llewyn Davis': Christgau on the Coen Brothers

    The Lost World of 'Llewyn Davis': Christgau on the Coen Brothers | ARTICLE

    "When you read about the scene you see this mania for authenticity," says Joel Coen, describing what enticed him and his brother Ethan into making Inside Llewyn Davis, a film about folksingers in Greenwich Village just before...

    December 4, 2013 4:15 PM ET
  • Growing Pains

    Growing Pains | ALBUM REVIEW

    There's no denying the commercial legs or fan appeal of Mary J. Blige's late-2005 The Breakthrough. In the wake of 2003's Diddy dud Love & Life and the teeth of an industrywide slump, its triple-platinum domestic sales...

    December 13, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • As I Am

    As I Am | ALBUM REVIEW

    You have to admire Alicia Keys' commitment to her street-nice vision. In the year Ciara grew up, Rihanna left the islands and Jill Scott explored the joy of sex, the twenty-six-year-old's third studio album envisions a hip-hop...

    November 15, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Jewels in the Crown: All Star Duets with the Queen

    Jewels in the Crown: All Star Duets with the Queen | ALBUM REVIEW

    The third Aretha catalog exploitation of the fall is the first from Sony/BMG, which has long since deleted the Eighties and Nineties Aretha albums where half of its sixteen tracks first appeared, and it's also the best....

    November 15, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Chrome Dreams II

    Chrome Dreams II | ALBUM REVIEW

    The great lost Chrome Dreams was the original home of "Powderfinger" and "Like a Hurricane." Nothing nearly that major uplifts this slyly titled collection, including its selling point, the Wacky Lost "Ordinary People," an eighteen-minute ramble through...

    November 1, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Moby Grape

    Moby Grape | ALBUM REVIEW

    What a short, strange trip it was. And what a long, strange trip it turned into anyway. Two Seattle bar-band honchos and two aspiring L.A. pros shoring up speedy psychedelic wonder boy Skip Spence, Moby Grape were assembled...

    October 18, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Washington Square Serenade

    Washington Square Serenade | ALBUM REVIEW

    Supposedly, this Steve Earle record is unlike all other Steve Earle records because it was recorded with beats. But production by Dust Brother John King notwithstanding, it impacts just like any other Steve Earle record — lyrics...

    October 4, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Shine

    Shine | ALBUM REVIEW

    Joni Mitchell is the kind of aging egoist who gives ecology a bad name. On her first album in five years and first for Starbucks — a connection some anti-corporatists will foolishly disparage — she rails against...

    September 20, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Strawberry Jam

    Strawberry Jam | ALBUM REVIEW

    The sixth album by this neocommunalist, neopsychedelic quartet improves on 2005's Feels, flashing more shards of tune to lure the coeds with the Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart Lanterns over to their adamantly unkempt campfire. The welcoming "Peacebone,"? the...

    September 4, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Kala

    Kala | ALBUM REVIEW

    Careerwise, the recent album M.I.A.'s Kala recalls is Kanye West's Late Registration — an unexpectedly sure-footed follow-up to a brainy beat-adept's can-you-top-this debut. And though West is the more universal musician, especially as Americans conceivethe universe, there...

    August 23, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • The Con

    The Con | ALBUM REVIEW

    As lesbians who never reference their oppression or even their sexuality, Tegan and Sara don't have men to lash out at, put up with or gripe about. This may be why their uncommonly detailed love songs are...

    July 24, 2007 10:20 AM ET
  • Daydream Nation

    Daydream Nation | ALBUM REVIEW

    Loosed on the world in 1988, Daydream Nation made alt-rock a life force. Over two vinyl discs containing just fourteen titles, it fused Sonic Youth's displaced guitar tunings with tunes as hummable as the Beatles' or the...

    June 13, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Icky Thump

    Icky Thump | ALBUM REVIEW

    So what is it about Jack White? Right, he's very talented. Major guitarist, albeit overrated by those seeking a young titan to prove the guitar retains its glamour. Voice avid and emotional enough, words catchy sometimes and...

    June 11, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Memory Almost Full

    Memory Almost Full | ALBUM REVIEW

    What's most remarkable about Paul McCartney's inaugural album for Starbucks' Hear Music imprint is its cross-promotional hoo-ha. To win it space on his demographic's overloaded cerebral hard drives, Memory Almost Full will play all day June 5th...

    May 30, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Double Up

    Double Up | ALBUM REVIEW

    Pop's longest-running alleged felon has now released more music since being hit with child-pornography charges in 2002 than he did in a decade-plus of untroubled R&B thuggery. Pre-indictment, Kelly's MO was to undercut much "Bump 'n' Grind"...

    May 29, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • It Won't Be Soon Before Long

    It Won't Be Soon Before Long | ALBUM REVIEW

    Released in 2002, Maroon 5's Songs About Jane didn't win its new-artist Grammy until 2005, a lonely twenty-first-century monument of artist development. Descrying bankable hits in Adam Levine's love for the funk and knack for the hook,...

    May 16, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Twelve

    Twelve | ALBUM REVIEW

    Three decades after Smith made the transition from poet to rock & roller, we still don't think of her as a singer, exactly — more a reciter who can carry a tune, kind of. So a covers...

    April 17, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • Cassadaga

    Cassadaga | ALBUM REVIEW

    It doesn't take a soothsayer to predict that in April 2007, American alt-rock fans will learn en masse that the new Bright Eyes album is named after a spiritualist community in Florida — 100 adult residents including...

    April 2, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

    We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank | ALBUM REVIEW

    Wrapping a wordy, darkly whimsical title around a bunch of songs many will find catchy and none will find pretty, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank takes after Modest Mouse's other four albums, even with...

    March 7, 2007 12:00 AM ET
  • West

    West | ALBUM REVIEW

    Lucinda Williams today is a different artist from the one whose disgracefully belatedcommercial breakthrough came with Car Wheels on a Gravel Roadin 1998. That Lucinda had released four albums of her own songs on four labels ineighteen...

    February 6, 2007 12:00 AM ET
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