Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Look Directly Into the Sun: China Pop 2007 [UFO, 2007]
Here be a panoply of DIY styles as imitated or reimagined by 18 young Shanghai bands, about half of whom sing in English-as-a-second-language. I've been enjoying it off and on for pushing six months, and although not a single song sticks in my mind when I go away--if there's a striking lyric here, it hasn't struck me--most return quickly when I come back. More important, that joyful youth-revolt jolt keeps getting stronger. I doubt this means that in another decade all the new bands will be Chinese, although it might. If anything, it's as if these rock 'n' roll outliers who represent a quarter of the planetary population have belatedly discovered what our bands wore out decades ago--a bish-bashing delight that portends eternal life and absolutely nothing at the same time. It will always be a kick to hear that delight again. A-