Good Old Rock and Roll, 2011 Style
Musically, this is pop without shame‑-her hookiest and most dance-targeted album, decorated with a thoughtful assortment of suitably titillating blats, noodles, dubs, groans, hiccups, boom-booms, cut-ups, speed-ups, xx samples, and spoken-word bits. Lyrically, it celebrates the relationship of sex to love rather than pain, dipping predictably on the heart songs and theme statements that slow down the second half, especially on the standard edition. Associating carnality with love as I do, I prefer it to her earlier albums because I find its many porny moments titillating. Sure Beyoncé is sexier in principle‑-I like smart girls, not bad girls, especially bad girls with a thing for worse men. But I believe in taking my titillation wherever it raises its spongy head. A MINUS
David Guetta: Nothing but the Beat (Astralwerks/Capitol)
In which the Frenchman who inflicted the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" on a hapless America‑-brute! vulgarian! snailsucker! 'ho!‑-bids for chart success as if he needs to be more famous than he already is. All power synths and squirmy earworms, dated beats and neutered Snoop Dogg, it offends club sophisticates no less than living-room discophobes. But with four-on-the-floor dance music the nearest the actually popular pop world came to mindless rocking out in 2011, I only wish it had a few "I Gotta Feeling"s. Still, the two Nicki Minaj features come close, Taio Cruz does what he's sposed to for once, the will.i.am preachment makes its escapist statement, and neutering Snoop is fine with both me and the ASPCA. Front-loaded in this 13-track Americanski version--as a reward for their sophistication, the Europeans get to fatten up on excess instrumentals--it should slim down further by ditching the last two tracks and climaxing with the Jennifer Hudson love anthem "Night of Your Life," where it simulates the soul that elsewhere is so beside the point. B PLUS
But are either of these worse than the review of Hermes' Love Goes to Buildings on Fire from a couple of weeks ago that basically never said if it was well written or actually interesting. All it did was recount the scene the book was about.
It makes you appreciate it when Xgau gets the gig.
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY OTHER CATEGORIES THAT THEY WANT TO SUGGEST????
Ann Powers has a timely piece up at NPR on sexuality in pop music that is an apropos counterpart to Bob's Rihanna review. http://goo.gl/rQexH
A small and relatively irrelevant point to the topic of pop music, but regarding current day relationships and technology, to which Powers' piece is contiguous, my 27 year old daughter and her live-in boy friend enlightened us at Christmas dinner yesterday that a monogamous relationship in their group is now known as an FBO relationship, standing for Facebook Official, signaling that both parties have acknowledged the committed nature of their relationship in their personal Facebook profiles.
What you do about your relationship status if you're not on Facebook was not explained, since it apparently never happens anymore.
Hi Bob, are we getting one last Rock & Roll & before the end of the year? And I assume we can look forward to your year-in-review article in January?
(EDIT: I only ask because it's usually published by now. Is it just me or has Christgau been on fire this year with his long-form work?)
It would be interesting, and probably impossible, to explore the links between the quality of Cee-Lo's music and the amount of energy devoted to non-musical ventures for making money. The way the article portrays it, music is just one part--and a small part--of the capital strategy. I'm not interested in (or compelled by) tired 'selling out' complaints, but rather in how the pursuit of something outside the realm of music-making might distract the artist.
Then again, maybe Cee-Lo is just a mediocre musical talent, and that's all there is to be said on the topic.
On another note-not going to contribute a top ten list to the Best of 2011 for
a logical reason-the great majority of what I listened to this year was not released in 2011.
But one cd besides the obvious Wussy's "Strawberry"that comes to mind is
the bonus material cd released in the same package as the Stones' remastered "Some Girls".
This stuff is damn good. A solid A- in my book. Of couse it was originally recorded in the 70's.
Check it out.
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.