Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dave: We're All Alone in This Together [Dave/Neighbourhood, 2021]
Since music per se isn't what this prize-winning artist is selling or his wide-ranging admirers are buying, let me insist that Dave's quietly grand, steadily melodic keyboard parts and calm, assured percussion figures are crucial in holding his long strings of off-rhymes together: torcher-corner-baller-aura-pauper-daughter-slaughter-borer-flora-stalk us-order-insurer-water-orca, whew. He collaborates all over the map, ranging from big-talking South London rappers who stoke his unfortunate appetite for luxury timepieces to, for instance, James Blake, Jorja Smith, and Dutch singer-songwriter Anouk, and I could go on. But he's also candid about the crippling anxieties that can ensue when your brothers are criminals and your mother nearly died giving you life. And surprised though he is to be shagging Tories and falling in love with an Albanian, cultural breadth is just part of his mission. Of course he's down with his African and West Indian brethren. But he's almost as appalled by how fucked post-Brexit Britannia's Middle Eastern and Eastern European immigrants are. A-