Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Arrested Development

  • 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of . . . [Chrysalis, 1992] Choice Cuts
  • Unplugged [Chrysalis, 1993] C
  • Zingalamaduni [Chrysalis/ERG, 1994] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of . . . [Chrysalis, 1992]
"Tennessee" Choice Cuts

Unplugged [Chrysalis, 1993]
Let the record show that they loved the people so much that with all deliberate greed they "rearranged" half of their biggest and only album for quick resale. Let the record show that to stretch the material to full-price length they basted on a fashion sermon and seven as-I-would-say "versions." And let the record show that the people understood their spiritual needs so poorly that the resulting live and MTV-approved product lingered a mere 12 weeks on the charts, never rising above 60. The revolution will be hard, brothers and sisters. C

Zingalamaduni [Chrysalis/ERG, 1994]
Will someone in the chart department tell us the last time the follow-up to a number-one album endured only eight weeks on the Billboard 200, topping out at 55? Although it's still alive on the r&b list, which they can claim proves a racial militance that was never in doubt or the point, this looks like a stiff of historical proportions, more evidence that their short-term commercial success was a long-term musical fraud--limp, sententious rap feel-goodism quickly forgotten once it failed to drive the scary stuff away. Maybe in another three years, five months, and two days they'll come up with another slice of life like "Tennessee"--or another guilt trip like "Mr. Wendal." But they don't have that long. C+