Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Youssou N'Dour & Étoile de Dakar: The Rough Guide to Youssou N'Dour & Étoile de Dakar [World Music Network, 2002]
With Étoile's Stern's Africa CDs gone the way of all licensing deals, how can I say no? Maybe somewhere there was more exciting music circa 1980--punk L.A.? soukous Montreuil? hip-hop South Bronx? But don't bet on it. Exploding out of this one band and the mad rivalries it engendered, early mbalax is the grail, the very essence of musical conflict resolution not least because the groove can't quite resolve the conflict. Great singers jostle for space among spiky tamas. Horns and guitars augment and one-up each other. You never know what'll happen next. But everything they do gonna be funky. A+