Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Open Mike Eagle: Anime Trauma Divorce [Auto Reverse, 2020]
For a decade now, Eagle--the surname he was born with 40 years ago on Chicago's South Side--has been an exceptionally logocentric rapper in an alt-rap he's always seemed too alt-rock for and an exceptionally analytic one in a hip-hop that commodifies the personal. As he reports on a traumatic 2019 when his 14-year marriage went the way of his Comedy Central series and also his waistline, he finally turns confessional. But what puts the album across is music: the atmospheric beats of Nedarb, an emo-rap pro unknown to me. Beyond the occasional "What the hell is self-care?" and "I really don't want to log into my bank account," anime fans will understand the lyrical details better than I can. Netflix sci-fi fans, too--"The Black Mirror episode ruined my marriage" is such a striking refrain I'd check out whichever episode it was with my arm around my honey and my fingers crossed. Good thing he can still afford a therapist. Good thing too that he hands the final track over to his son Asa, Lil A$e to you. A-