Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Earth, Wind & Fire: Powerlight [Columbia, 1983]
Since classic EW&F succeeds in spite of Maurice White's universalist hoohah, the paucity of inspirational numbers is a blessing. The one that celebrates voting is gratifyingly practical, the one that celebrates children's eyes one too many, and otherwise we're free to gape at this band's spectacular popcraft. Their sonic affluence and showtime groove encompass whispering strings no less perfect than their JB guitar beats, Funkafunnies harmonies no less schmaltzy than their Lionel Richie homages, and when the synthesis is this catchy it's the best argument for universalism they'll ever make. A-