Robert Christgau

Robert Christgau contributes regular music reviews to All Things Considered.

Christgau began writing rock criticism for Esquire in 1967 and became a columnist at New York's Village Voice in 1969. He moved to Newsday in 1972, but in 1974 returned to the Voice, where he was the music editor for the next 10 years. From 1985 to 2006, he was a senior editor at the weekly as well as its chief music critic. He is best known for the Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll, for over 30 years the nation's most respected survey of rock-critical opinion, and his Consumer Guide column, where he began to publish letter-graded capsule album reviews in 1969. The Consumer Guide is now published by MSN Networks. Christgau is also a senior critic at Blender.

Christgau has taught at several colleges and universities, most extensively NYU, where after stints with the English and journalism departments, he now teaches music history in the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music. In 1987, he won a Guggenheim fellowship to study the history of popular music. In 2002, he was a senior fellow at the National Arts Journalism Program, where he is now a member of the national board. He was the keynote speaker at the first EMP Pop Conference in 2002, and a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in 2007.

Christgau has published five books: the collections Any Old Way You Choose It (1973) and Grown Up All Wrong (1998), and three record guides based on his Consumer Guide columns. He has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The London Times, Playboy, The New Yorker, Video Review, Blender, Spin, The Nation, Salon, Believer, numerous alt-weeklies and many other publications. Most of his writing can be read on his website, robertchristgau.com. His capsule reviews are also part of the editorial content at the online music service Rhapsody.

Christgau was born in 1942. He attended New York City public schools and got his B.A. from Dartmouth in 1962. He married Carola Dibbell in 1974. In 1985, they became parents of a daughter, Nina.

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1:23pm

Thu August 4, 2011
Music Reviews

Serengeti: Play Your Part

Serengeti, a.k.a. David Cohn, carries on a tradition of story songs on his latest album, Family & Friends.
Jacob Hand Courtesy of the artist

If the voices on Serengeti's songs often sound like they don't they belong to a rapper, that's the idea. More than any MC working, Serengeti (born David Cohn) writes story songs, in which he assumes the identities of the characters he creates. Sometimes these characters recur — like Kenny, the middle-aged sports enthusiast and rabid Brian Dennehy fan, whom Serengeti dreamed up on his 2006 album, Dennehy.

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3:44pm

Mon July 25, 2011
Music Reviews

Teddybears: Enigmatic Troublemakers

Teddybears.
Chrissy Piper Courtesy of the artist

The Stockholm production trio Teddybears aren't really a band as that term is usually employed. They rarely play live and prefer to hire more personable performers to front their tracks. In the past, they've been known for mild, electronically treated vocals on mild, electronically treated dance songs. But on their newly released album, Devil's Music, they like things much livelier.

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2:38pm

Tue May 17, 2011
Music Reviews

Those Darlins: Making Un-Country Noises

Those Darlins' latest album, Screw Gets Loose, finds the group moving toward harder-rocking material.
Veta&Theo Courtesy of the artist

The three women who front Those Darlins are all surnamed Darlin the way The Ramones were all surnamed Ramone. But the acoustic two-steps on their 2008 debut didn't sound very Ramones. True, "Wild One" talked the talk and "DUI or Die" hit pretty hard for a public-service announcement. But it was a relief when the lead and title track of Those Darlins' Screws Get Loose kicked off with some very un-country noises.

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1:51pm

Mon April 25, 2011
Music Reviews

Poly Styrene: Taking Moral Stances Solo

Poly Styrene stood out in British punk. Female in a male world, heavy in a skinny world, half-African in a white world, flaunting braces that looked like they could dent a lorry, she's linked in history to a song as iconic as "Anarchy in the U.K." itself.

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