Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Consumer Guide Album

Sleater-Kinney: The Center Won't Hold [Mom + Pop, 2019]
It took me more than a month and well over a dozen plays to finally hear this album as the extreme break Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker embrace and Janet Weiss wants out of. Misled by my mistrust of producer St. Vincent's polished professionalism and plain old art-rock, I was also put off--yet impressed as well--by the industrial drumbeat/cowbell that announces the title opener and then repeats every two seconds for the first two minutes of its three. But eventually I noticed myself perking up every time the CD began, because this wasn't just a hook but a grabby one--the grabbiest on an album that gives it competition straight through to the end. Though journalistic toilers seeking refuge from pop divadom may resent the album's musical efficiency, I find it meatier than either Charly Bliss or Taylor Swift, and those are records I like a lot. Moreover, it has politics from its Yeatsian opener to a closer that invokes both #MeToo and Hillary '16 if you want it to, plus "Hurry on Home" evokes an abusive husband as well as an abusive system whether Brownstein thinks so or not. Ah the elusive allusiveness of the hooky pop song. A-