Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s
Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the'90s is a music reference book by American music journalist and essayist Robert Christgau. It was published in October 2000 by St. Martin's Press and collects 3,800 capsule album reviews written by Christgau between 1990 and 2000 for his "Consumer Guide" column in The Village Voice. Text from his other writings for the Voice, Rolling Stone and Playboy during this period was featured; the book is the third in a series of "Consumer Guide" collections, following Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies and Christgau's Record Guide: The'80s. As the music industry and record production expanded during the 1980s, Robert Christgau found himself overwhelmed by records to listen to and review for his "Consumer Guide" column in The Village Voice. In September 1990, he abandoned his original letter-grading scheme on a scale of A-plus to E-minus, which had B-plus records as the most reviewed and grades going lower than C-minus. Instead, he decided to focus on writing reviews for A-minus to A-plus albums, with A-minus becoming the most common and those that would have ranged from B-minus to C-plus ignored.
This change was made because, as Christgau said, "most of my readers—not critics and bizzers, but real-life consumers—used my primary critical outlet for its putative purpose. They wanted to know what to buy."In this new format, B-plus records were only reviewed and most were filed under an "Honorable Mention" section, featuring one short phrasal statement for each album alongside its recommended tracks. Records he considered poor were relegated to a list of ungraded "Duds" or featured in a special November column dedicated to negative reviews, with the highest possible grade a B-minus. Christgau refined his new format further as the 1990s progressed, anticipating the decade's rapid increase in music recording and the diversification of the CD into longer album lengths and archival releases. In 1992, he started a "Neither" category denoting albums unworthy of an "honorable mention" but better than "duds"; the following year, an argument with fellow critic Eric Weisbard persuaded Christgau to review in each column a "Dud of the Month", unlike the "Turkey Shoot", featured "a fair number of dull, disappointing, or overhyped B's".
In the book, Christgau advises consumers to regard anything graded B and lower as a failure. The book explains each grade as follows: A-plus: "a record of sustained beauty, insight, and/or googlefritz that has invited and repaid repeated listenings in the daily life of someone with 500 other CDs to get to."A: "a record that flags for more than two or three tracks. Not every listener will feel what it's trying to do, but anyone with ears will agree that it's doing it."A-minus: "the kind of garden-variety good record, the great luxury of musical micromarketing and overproduction. Anyone open to its aesthetic will enjoy more than half its tracks."B-plus: "remarkable one way or another, yet flirts with the humdrum or the half-assed." Honorable Mention: "an enjoyable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well treasure." Honorable Mention: "an likable effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well enjoy." Honorable Mention: "a worthy effort consumers attuned to its overriding aesthetic or individual vision may well like."
Christgau clarified that the three- and two-star honorable mentions "are B pluses I adjudge unworthy of a full review. Neither: "may impress once or twice with consistent craft or an arresting track or two, it won't." When the "Neither" entries were republished on Christgau's website, they were indicated by a cartoon impassive face. Choice Cut: "a good song on an album that isn't worth your time or money--sometimes a Neither, more a Dud." The "choice cut" entries are indicated by cartoon scissors on Christgau's website. Dud: "a bad record whose details merit further thought. At the upper level it may be overrated, disappointing, or dull. Down below it may be contemptible." Album era 1990s in music Rockism and poptimism Spin Alternative Record Guide Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the'90s. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Christgau, Robert. "Xgau Sez". Robertchristgau.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019. Retrieved January 1, 2019. Murray, Noel. "Inventory: 17 Essential Books About Popular Music".
The A. V. Club. Retrieved August 20, 2018. Reviews and interviews about the book Cartwright, Garth. "Master of the rock review". The Guardian. Dansby, Andrew. "Critic Christgau Wraps the'90s". Rolling Stone. Klein, Joshua. "Robert Christgau: Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums Of The'90s". The A. V. Club. Manzler, Scott. "Christgau's Consumer Guide To Albums Of The'90s". No Depression. Murray, Noel. "A Critical Matter". Nashville Scene. Pick, Steve. "The Pleasure Principle". Riverfront Times. Official website
Special Herbs, Vol. 3
Special Herbs, Vol. 3 is an album of instrumental works released by MF Doom under the Metal Fingers moniker, the third release in his Special Herbs series. Following the pattern set by previous installments of the series, each track is named after a herb or similar flora. Owing to differences in record labels and overlaps in track listings, this album makes up the first part of the next installment in the series, Special Herbs, Vol. 4. "Agrimony" – 2:06 Produced by Metal Fingers "Arabic Gum" – 2:50 Produced by Metal Fingers "Benzoin Gum" – 2:47 Produced by Metal Fingers "Bergamot Wild" – 3:25 Produced by Metal Fingers "Calamus Root" – 3:49 Produced by Metal Fingers "Dragon's Blood Resin" – 3:38 Produced by Metal Fingers "Elder Blossoms" – 2:46 Produced by Metal Fingers "Styrax Gum" – 2:32 Produced by Metal Fingers "Arabic Gum" is an instrumental version of "No Snakes Alive Pt. 3" by MF Grimm, from the collaboration EP with MF DOOM, the MF EP. It is used on an updated version, "No Snakes Alive", by King Geedorah featuring MF Grimm and Rodan, from the album Take Me to Your Leader.
"Bergamot Wild" is an instrumental version of "Rain Blood" by MF Grimm featuring Megalon, from the album The Downfall of Ibliys: A Ghetto Opera. It is used on "Rain Blood Pt. 2" by MF Grimm, from the album Special Herbs and Spices Volume 1. "Blood Root" is an instrumental version of "I Hear Voices" by MF Doom, the bonus track on the album Operation: Doomsday. "Calamus Root" is an instrumental version of "Gas Drawls" from Operation: Doomsday. "Dragon's Blood Resin" is an instrumental version of "Go With The Flow" by MF DOOM, from Operation: Doomsday. "Elder Blossoms" is an instrumental version of "Sumpthin's Gotta Give" by Prophetix, from the album High Risk. "Styrax Gum" is an instrumental version of "That's That" by DOOM, from BORN LIKE THIS
Sadat X is an American rapper, best known as a member of Alternative hip hop group Brand Nubian. Known as Derek X, Sadat takes his name from former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. In 1996, Sadat recorded on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, America is Dying Slowly, alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan, Fat Joe and others; the CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, was called "a masterpiece" by The Source magazine. On December 22, 2005, Sadat was arrested in Harlem and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. On October 3, 2006, Female Fun Music released Sadat's third full-length album Black October. Sadat is involved in teaching children, he has worked as an elementary school teacher in New Rochelle, qualified as a firefighter, coaches children's basketball for the New York City Basketball League. On March 23, 2010, Sadat X released Wild Cowboys II, the sequel to his 1996 solo debut Wild Cowboys, on Fat Beats Records.
The album featured guest appearances from Ill Bill, Kurupt, A. G. Brand Nubian and others, with production from Pete Rock, Diamond D, Sir Jinx, Will Tell and Dub Sonata. On February 23, 2010, he released an EP, containing five songs from the album and complementary instrumentals; the first single from the album was "Turn It Up" which features, is produced by, Pete Rock. In 2015 Sadat appeared in Mya Baker's documentary film Afraid of Dark which examined the experiences of Black men in America. In 2009 Sadat X and music producer, Will Tell developed a wine-tasting web series entitled True Wine Connoisseurs; the wine show with a hip-hop twist is now in its 5th season. 2013: "20 In" Sadat X at AllMusic
Robert Thomas Christgau is an American essayist and music journalist. One of the earliest professional rock critics, he spent 37 years as the chief music critic and senior editor for The Village Voice, during which time he created and oversaw the annual Pazz & Jop poll, he has covered popular music for Esquire, Newsday, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR, MSN Music, was a visiting arts teacher at New York University. Christgau is known for his terse, letter-graded capsule album reviews, first published in his "Consumer Guide" columns during his tenure at The Village Voice from 1969 to 2006, he has authored three books based on those columns, including Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies and Christgau's Record Guide: The'80s, along with two collections of essays. He continued writing reviews in this format for MSN Music and Noisey—Vice's music section—where they are published in his "Expert Witness" column. Christgau was born in Greenwich Village and grew up in Queens, the son of a fireman.
He has said he became a rock and roll fan when disc jockey Alan Freed moved to the city in 1954. After attending a public school in New York City, he left New York for four years to attend Dartmouth College, graduating in 1962 with a B. A. in English. While at college his musical interests turned to jazz, but he returned to rock after moving back to New York. Christgau has said that Miles Davis' 1960 album Sketches of Spain initiated in him "one phase of the disillusionment with jazz that resulted in my return to rock and roll", he was influenced by New Journalism writers such as Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe. "My ambitions when I went into journalism were always, to an extent, literary", Christgau said. Christgau wrote short stories, before giving up fiction in 1964 to become a sportswriter, a police reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger, he became a freelance writer after a story he wrote about the death of a woman in New Jersey was published by New York magazine. Christgau was among the first dedicated rock critics.
He was asked to take over the dormant music column at Esquire, which he began writing in June 1967. After Esquire discontinued the column, Christgau moved to The Village Voice in 1969, he worked as a college professor. From early on in his emergence as a critic, Christgau was conscious of his lack of formal knowledge of music. In a 1968 piece he commented: I don't know anything about music, which ought to be a damaging admission but isn't... The fact is that pop writers in general shy away from such arcana as key signature and beats to the measure... I used to confide my worries about this to friends in the record industry, they didn't know anything about music either. The technical stuff didn't matter, I was told. You just gotta dig it. In early 1972, he accepted a full-time job as music critic for Newsday. Christgau returned to the Village Voice in 1974 as music editor, he remained there until August 2006, when he was fired shortly after the paper's acquisition by New Times Media. Two months Christgau became a contributing editor at Rolling Stone.
Late in 2007, Christgau was fired by Rolling Stone, although he continued to work for the magazine for another three months. Starting with the March 2008 issue, he joined Blender, where he was listed as "senior critic" for three issues and "contributing editor". Christgau had been a regular contributor to Blender, he continued to write for Blender until the magazine ceased publication in March 2009. In 1987, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of "Folklore and Popular Culture" to study the history of popular music. Christgau has written for Playboy and Creem, he appears about the Replacements. He taught during the formative years of the California Institute of the Arts; as of 2007, he was an adjunct professor in the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at New York University. In August 2013, Christgau revealed in an article written for Barnes & Noble's website that he is writing a memoir. On July 15, 2014, Christgau debuted a monthly column on Billboard's website. Christgau is best known for his "Consumer Guide" columns, which have been published more-or-less monthly since July 10, 1969, in the Village Voice, as well as a brief period in Creem.
In its original format, the "Consumer Guide" consisted of 18 to 20 single-paragraph album reviews, each of, given a letter grade ranging from A+ to E−. These reviews were collected and extensively revised in a three-volume book series, the first of, published in 1981 as Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. In his original grading system from 1969 to 1990, albums were given a grade ranging from A+ to E-. Under this system, Christgau considered a B+ or higher to be a personal recommendation, he noted. In 1990, Christgau changed the format of the "Consumer Guide" to focus more on the albums. B+ records that Christgau deemed "unworthy of a full review" were given brief comments and star marks ranging from three down to one, denoting an honorable mention", records which Christgau believed may be of interest to their own target audience. Lesser albums were filed under categories such as "Neither" and "Duds" (which indicated bad records and were listed without fur
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated. Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways; the artistic nature of music means that these classifications are subjective and controversial, some genres may overlap. There are varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between form, he lists madrigal, canzona and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."
Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects". Among the criteria used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art and traditional musics. Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal and depth.
Arousal reflects the energy level of the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres. Musicologists have sometimes classified music according to a trichotomic distinction such as Philip Tagg's "axiomatic triangle consisting of'folk','art' and'popular' musics", he explains that each of these three is distinguishable from the others according to certain criteria. The term art music refers to classical traditions, including both contemporary and historical classical music forms. Art music exists in many parts of the world, it emphasizes formal styles that invite technical and detailed deconstruction and criticism, demand focused attention from the listener. In Western practice, art music is considered a written musical tradition, preserved in some form of music notation rather than being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings, as popular and traditional music are. Most western art music has been written down using the standard forms of music notation that evolved in Europe, beginning well before the Renaissance and reaching its maturity in the Romantic period.
The identity of a "work" or "piece" of art music is defined by the notated version rather than by a particular performance, is associated with the composer rather than the performer. This is so in the case of western classical music. Art music may include certain forms of jazz, though some feel that jazz is a form of popular music. Sacred Christian music forms an important part of the classical music tradition and repertoire, but can be considered to have an identity of its own; the term popular music refers to any musical style accessible to the general public and disseminated by the mass media. Musicologist and popular music specialist Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects: Popular music, unlike art music, is conceived for mass distribution to large and socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners and distributed in non-written form, only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and in capitalist societies, subject to the laws of'free' enterprise... it should ideally sell as much as possible.
Popular music is found on most commercial and public service radio stations, in most commercial music retailers and department stores, in movie and television soundtracks. It is noted on the Billboard charts and, in addition to singer-songwriters and composers, it involves music producers more than other genres do; the distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in marginal areas such as minimalist music and light classics. Background music for films/movies draws on both traditions. In this respect, music is like fiction, which draws a distinction between literary fiction and popular fiction, not always precise. Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s; the polka is a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particular
Daniel Dumile, best known by his stage name MF Doom, is an English-born, US-based rapper and record producer from Long Island, New York. Best known for his "super villain" stage persona and unique lyrics, Dumile has taken on several stage names in his career, he has appeared in several collaborative projects such as Madvillain, Danger Doom, Doomstarks, JJ Doom, NehruvianDoom, Czarface Meets Metal Face. Dumile was born in London, the son of a Trinidadian mother and a Zimbabwean father, his family moved to New York when he was a child. As Zev Love X he formed the group KMD in 1988 with his younger brother DJ Subroc and another MC called Rodan; when Rodan left the group, Zev found Onyx the Birthstone Kid, to replace Rodan. A&R rep Dante Ross learned of KMD through the hip hop group 3rd Bass, signed the group to Elektra Records. Dumile and KMD's recording debut came on 3rd Bass's song "The Gas Face" from The Cactus Album, followed in 1991 with KMD's album Mr. Hood, which became a minor hit through its singles "Peachfuzz", "Who Me?" and heavy video play on cable TV's Yo!
MTV Raps and Rap City. In 1993, just before the release of the second KMD album, Black Bastards, Subroc was struck by a car and killed while attempting to cross the Nassau Expressway; the group was subsequently dropped from Elektra Records that same week. Before the release, the album was shelved due to its controversial cover art, which featured a cartoon of a stereotypical pickaninny or sambo character being hanged from the gallows. After the death of his brother, Dumile retreated from the hip hop scene from 1994 to 1997, living "damn near homeless, walking the streets of Manhattan, sleeping on benches". In the late 1990s, he settled in Atlanta. According to interviews with Dumile, he was "recovering from his wounds" and swearing revenge "against the industry that so badly deformed him". Black Bastards had become bootlegged at the time, leading to Doom's rise in the underground hip hop scene. In 1997, Dumile began freestyling incognito at open-mic events at the Nuyorican Poets Café in Manhattan, obscuring his face by putting a woman's stocking over his head.
He meanwhile had taken on a new identity, MF Doom, patterned after and wearing a mask similar to that of Marvel Comics super-villain Doctor Doom, depicted rapping on the cover of the 1999 album Operation: Doomsday. The album, in an earlier incarnation, would have been called The Super M. F. Villains according to an interview published in 1998 by hip-hop music culture magazine Ego Trip. Versions of the mask would be based on a prop mask obtained from the film Gladiator, he wore this mask while performing and isn't photographed without it, except for short glimpses in videos such as Viktor Vaughn's "Mr. Clean", "?", in earlier photos with KMD. Dumile released three singles on "Bobbito" García's Fondle'Em Records, "Dead Bent", "Greenbacks", "The M. I. C.". In 1999 Fondle'Em released MF Doom's first full-length LP, Operation: Doomsday, which included these singles and their b-sides, additional tracks. Dumile had used the spelling variant "M. F. Doom" for the singles’ releases, but thereafter changed this to MF Doom.
Among the collaborators on these tracks were fellow members of the Monsta Island Czars collective, for which each artist took on the persona of a monster from the Godzilla mythos. Dumile went by the alias King Geedorah, a three-headed golden dragon space monster, modeled after King Ghidorah, the Toho movie monster, a three-headed dragon that battled Godzilla; some of his appearances on the LP are as, are credited to, this persona instead of that of MF Doom. Dumile would revisit this character under various name-spellings. In 2001, he began working with Prince Paul, co-producing MC Paul Barman's "Paullelujah!" with MikeTheMusicGuy and Phofo. In 2002, he appeared on the Sound-Ink's Colapsus collection, on a hard to find track titled "Monday Nite at Fluid", featuring Kurious with production by King Honey, who produced some tracks for Dumile's album Vaudeville Villain. Dumile has produced all the instrumentation tracks for his solo releases, with few exceptions. Beginning in 2001, under the "Metal Fingers" moniker, Dumile began releasing his Special Herbs instrumentals series.
Many of these beats can be heard. A separate website catalogs for which tracks each instrumental has been used. In 2003, Dumile released the King Geedorah album Take Me to Your Leader. Geedorah only appears as an MC on four tracks; the majority of vocal tracks feature guest MCs, the album features several instrumental montages of sampled vocals from old movies and TV shows—a technique employed on most of Dumile's albums. In 2003, Dumile released the LP Vaudeville Villain under the moniker Viktor Vaughn. In 2004 he released a follow-up LP under Venomous Villain. In 2004, the second MF Doom album MM.. Food was released by Minnesota-based label Rhymesayers Entertainment. Doom's first commercial breakthrough came in 2004, with the album Madvillainy, created with producer Madlib under the group name Madvillain. Released by Stones Throw Records, the album was a commercial success. MF Doom was seen by mainstream audiences for the first time as Madvillain received publicity and acclaim in publications such as Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and