Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Best Bootlegs in the World Ever [no label, 2002]
Easily purchased at a St. Marks Place shop that begins with K, the most interesting and enjoyable album so far this year is nothing but music you've heard before, which is not to claim I can effortlessly ID every pop/rap/r&b top or rock/electronica bottom. Most of them, though. Yes, this is that collection of Christina-meets-the-Strokes seizures you've heard tell of, and that one is hardly the big prize, which I would award the Beyoncé-meets-Nirvana "Smells Like Booty" even if the chance to hear "Satisfaction" and "Rockafeller Skank" simultaneously is just as precious. A dubious ethos does prevail, at least on this selection. It's as if the guilty pop pleasure--Eminem, Celine Dion, Salt-n-Pepa, even the rap of "Get Ur Freak On," which once rode the deepest bottom of the millennium--is somehow validated by its juxtaposition to Nirvana, the Clash, the Stones, the Stooges, the fucking Strokes, and for that matter fucking Gary Numan. In theory, I don't approve--how about Iggy on top of RZA or the Bomb Squad? But I also don't believe in feeling guilty about pleasure, and I love this record to pieces. A