Friday, July 2, 2010

The end of the Consumer Guide

For my first Sound of Blackbirds (SoB) posting, a news item: Robert Christgau has ended his 41 year old Consumer Guide. I have been reading Christgau since I was in college, when I discovered a collection of his Consumer Guide columns from the 1970s and was drawn to his tight, compressed, witty way of capturing, in a fiercely anti-bullshit way, what it is about a popular music recording that merits someone paying $X for the pleasure of owning it. He writes for music lovers, that's for sure, and he assumes his readers already have a certain knowledge of pop music, not to mention a certain level of intelligence. He and I have different tastes so, of course, we don't always agree, and I wouldn't expect anyone to always agree with him. But I'd never spent much time thinking about the difference between taste and judgment before reading his work, and now it's become something I think about an awful lot. Not to mention the relationship between pop music and political economy....

Here's one my favorite essays of his, written in 1972.

Here's one of my favorite positive record reviews from recent years.

And here's his Consumer Guide column from January 18th, 1994, from his Village Voice years, featuring an excellent "Dud of the Month," which I'll leave to the U2-lovers (I'm not one of them) to suss out.

3 comments:

the sandwich life said...

awwwww....the end of an era...

Matt Winters said...

So taking shots at _Zooropa_ is kind of easy. Christgau does go a step better by saying that he's not taking shots at _Zooropa_ just because it's not _Achtung Baby_.

I think _Zooropa_ has its moments but would probably put it in the bottom three U2 albums with _Pop_ and the latest effort.

Now as for his praise for _The Spaghetti Incident_...

3shells said...

Christgau himself seems surprised at his praise for _The Spaghetti Incident_.