Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Earth, Wind & Fire: Touch the World [Columbia, 1987]
Though supposedly they've reconstituted as a lean quintet, the credits credit Maurice White and hired guns, notably Philip Bailey who sings lead on two cuts, shares lead on three, and backs up wherever. White gets only two compositions, which may explain why such a fabrication seems more in touch with the world than his solo album, where he made the mistake of expressing himself. Canceling out El Lay buy-a-song like "Every Now and Then" are the side-openers, the strongest protests this seminal pop transcendentalist has ever gotten down. Both focus on money, something he obviously has a feel for. B+