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10 Reviews
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2 star:
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable resource for collectors and novices alike.
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...
Published on July 27, 1998 by Chuck Ciany (ciany@ids.net)

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A triumph of witticism over criticism
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...
Published on January 6, 2012 by Chet Fakir


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable resource for collectors and novices alike., July 27, 1998
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A good guide for the best '80s music., May 11, 1998
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bathroom reading, definitely!, April 5, 2001
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Eric Krupin (Salt Lake City, UT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bathroom bible, November 6, 1998
By A Customer
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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A triumph of witticism over criticism, January 6, 2012
By 
Chet Fakir (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Into The 80's, November 29, 2011
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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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More funny than vital, July 13, 2004
This review is from: Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s (Paperback)
Robert Christgau, one of the most famous names in rock criticism here, tackles albums of the 1980s in this guide, his second following the very similar one for the 1970s.
This guide was one of my first readings in the difficult-to-comprehend field of rock criticism, but I nevertheless took what than interested me compeletely to heart (and misread bits of it when I wanted to). As such, it is very important to me.

Nonetheless, there can be no doubt that Robert Christgau scarcely makes an ideal critic for someone trying to get beyond the generally annoying music played on both commercial and noncommercial radio today. he generally fails to give the reader any idea at all as to what is good or bad about an album, with the result that real depth is completely missing from his writing when compared with almost any other critic I have read (Richie Unterberger, Joe S. Harrington, David Fricke etc. etc.). In this book, often also the focus is on the musician rather than the music, as if Christgau merely wishes to publicise music he either loves or hates.

It is fair to say that even back in 1996 I did not agree with most of his judgements, but I was overimpressed by Christgau's actually-not-great ability.

Nonetheless, the humour in this book is unlike any other critic, and will keep you reading long after you realise Christgau's judgements are mediocre at best. His ability to make funny connections or comparisons about every artist he talks about will make you remember him for years and years, as if he were a humorist rather than a well-respected critic.

Interesting more than really truthful to my eyes today, but at least worth a read or two.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reissue this, please!, August 30, 2001
By A Customer
Bah. Why is Christgau's 1970s album guide in print, while the 1980s guide is out of print? I suppose we are going to have to wait for the old nostalgia wheel to make another cycle (or two) before this situation is rectified. If you get one Christgau album guide, you need to get all of them. After all, if you are any kind of a serious record listener/collector you aren't going to write off an entire decade, are you? You don't necessarily have to agree with Christgau all the time (and whatever you do, don't base your buying decisions on his letter-grading system) but he is indispensable for putting a particular artist or album in something like a cultural context. Store it on top of your toilet tank - your guests will thank you!
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Robert's clearly deaf, January 21, 2010
This review is from: Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s (Paperback)
This Robert Christgau schmo is clearly deaf and dumb. This guy has no business reviewing menus let alone albums. And his poor man's unfunny Dennis Miller-wannabe reviews get old after the first page. Bathroom reading? Yes i agree, the pages were a great substitute when i ran out of Charmin....
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Punk Is Good, Metal Is Bad, April 21, 1999
By A Customer
Basically, Cristgau thinks too much and overanalyzes everything. These are just pop records, after all. Though he is very intelligent and often makes good observations, half the time you'll probably wonder what the hell he's talking about. Also, he's too predictable in his musical predjudices: anything that's punk and amateurish is good, all metal is bad, and anything that's even remotely pretentious (his favorite word) is bad. I'm still trying to figure out why it's a bad thing to be a good musician. He does have a good selection of world music for those so inclined, but my taste is considerably different than his. A worthy reference source, but hardly definitive.
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Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s
Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s by Robert Christgau (Paperback - October 17, 1990)
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