Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dancehall Stylee: The Best of Reggae Dancehall Music Vol. 1 [Profile, 1990]
As disco habitués learn to perceive its marginal distinctions, tolerate its generic repetitions, and crave its pulse, the style becomes less accessible to simple curiosity-seekers like yours truly. I'm sure every song on this assiduous compilation was a special favorite in context, and appreciate all the little touches--the late-breaking piano hook on "This Feeling Inside," the lilting Sunday School promise of "Prophecy," the multiple interjections of "Nah Go Switch," the aggressively incredulous "Wha-at"s of "Bun and Cheese" and then "Life," the squeaky echo of "Life." But even at that the closing "Watch a Them" and for that matter "Nah Go Switch" seem too damn marginal in their distinction. But excepting three or four--Tiger's "Ram Dance Hall" (he roars), Gregory Peck's "Oversized Mumpie" (blue patois), and Derrick Parker's "Cool It Off" (sounds like "coup d'etat"), with Shelly Thunder's "Kuff" a dark horse--I still could stand some more big touches. A-