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Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s Paperback – September, 1994

11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Grand Poobah of Rock Criticism and longtime Village Voice contributor rates 3,000 releases in this dandy book, which belongs on the night table of every self-respecting music fan. Robert Christgau's tastes are admirably catholic: refusing to limit himself to solid rock, he takes on rap, hardcore, country, blues, reggae, worldbeat, and everything in between. His vest-pocket pronunciamentos are always fun to read--even when they seem perversely wrongheaded--and who else would zoom in on Ruben Blades's "ability to skip along the shores of schlock without ruining his best pair of shoes," or refer to "Amazing Grace" as "the 'Send in the Clowns' of roots music"? Who else, for that matter, could almost persuade you to run out and pick up The Very Best of Deep Purple?

From School Library Journal

YA-- A companion to Christgau's Rock Albums of the '70s (Ticknor & Fields, 1981), representing all types of music: country, rock, rap, metal, etc. The book is arranged alphabetically by the name of the group or artist, and not by genre. A short paragraph gives Christgau's biased but informative views on each of 3,000 CDs/LPs/tapes, along with his A+ through C ratings. An appendix includes a core list of pre-1980 music and a "Gone But Not Forgotten" list of music that is good but not quite core quality. While similar to The New Rolling Stone Record Guide (Random, 1983), edited by David Marsh, and The New Trouser Press Record Guide (Macmillan, 1988), edited by Ira Robbins, this volume covers only one decade. However, it works well not only by itself, but also as an update of the other two guides.
- John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 525 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Pr (September 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306805820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306805820
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,077,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Ciany (ciany@ids.net) on July 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
In these days of vinyl disposition for replacement CDs, I continually find myself referring to this invaluable resource (as well as its predecessor for the 70's decade) before going to used record stores and garage sales. Chrisgau's insightful record reviews with their effective letter grading system (F through A+) have protected me from those "disaster purchases," while steering me to several bargain used albums that I have spun at home to great satisfaction. He admirably flaunts a highly discriminating musical taste that spans an array of musical genres to expand the horizons of even the most devout enthusiast. But the real beauty of the book is that it also provides for downright fun reading as in "What was I thinking when I bought that record?"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ltripps9@ix.netcom.com on May 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Although somewhat more obtusely written than the '70s volume, Christgau's '80s rock and roll music guide is an excellent way to find the best music of the decade. Notable for what was included as much as what was not: an appendix lists a couple hundred "post new wave" bands that the author felt did not merit more than a mention. While relatively obscure in the '80s, some of these bands demand a more thorough evaluation based upon their achievements and/or influences in the '90s.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric Krupin on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Though ever-so-slightly less enjoyable as a sheer reading experience than his 70s collection, this book is still chock full of phrases so clever/apt/snotty/etc. that they've taken up residence in my mind like classic rock riffs. For example, what more perfect description of Chuck D.'s rapping style could there be than "bully-boy orotundity"?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chet Fakir on January 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
The absolute worst critic in the business today, not just because I disagree with most of his assessments, but because he's consistantly inconsistent in his likes and dislikes and his writing is as clear as a San Francisco sky in summer. The haiku like reviews, which are more about Christgau's clever hipsterism than criticism, often left me asking "Well what did the music sound like?"
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
I return to this book again and again, along with the 70s edition. The author's writing style is very compelling and he has an uncanny ability to "nail" the essence of a record after what must be only a couple of listens; especially impressive for an R.E.M. or Dylan album which tend to take a few listenings. I look forward to a 90's edition as we cross into the next millenium.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Christgau's Record Guide: The 80's offers a nice snapshot into the decades musical styles from Rock to Rap. Each album review has one of Mr. Christgau's biting blurbs about the album as well as a letter grade. Mr. Christgau doesn't suffers fools gladly and he isn't shy about lacing into an artist. These reviews are from the Village Voice and like the paper itself always offers information that make you sit down and think.
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