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Robert Christgau


  • Shine

    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 environmental ills with the privileged pique of someone who considers the world's failure to resemble the one she […]

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  • Strawberry Jam

    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 energetic "Chores"? and the elated "Cuckoo Cuckoo"? might get a young leisure consumer to risk conversion at one […]

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  • Kala

    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 are also musical similarities: Both albums challenge sophomore slump by risking pretension. But where West hired classically trained […]

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  • The Con

    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 so short on drama — a riddle worth pondering, because their keyboard-heavy, New Waveish music is also uncommonly […]

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  • Daydream Nation

    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 Ramones' — a standard they've matched ever since, but never again with quite so much anthemic consistency. The […]

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  • Icky Thump

    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 — crucially — tunes catchy often. Plus the color-coded packaging and knack for self-mythification. Still, what do the […]

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  • Memory Almost Full

    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 in every Starbucks in the world, in ten of which caffeinated fans will send birthday greetings to the […]

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  • Double Up

    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" with a little "I Believe I Can Fly," but now he's added a new trick — not confessions, […]

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  • It Won't Be Soon Before Long

    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, private investors and then Clive Davis worked it till it gushed oil. So the only surprising thing about […]

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  • Twelve

    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 album showcasing her interpretive gifts is a questionable vehicle. And like most such albums — there are dozens […]

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