Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Music in My Head 2 [Sterns Africa, 2002]
Lying in a good cause as usual, Mark Hudson a/k/a Litch claims that, having thought he'd "said it on African music," he's topped himself. The trick, he explains, is a follow-up that honors "the beauty, the humanity, the essential goodness of African music." Of course, what made the original so intense was the chaos, the contingency, the essential madness of Senegalese music, and when that kind of construction coheres, it's untoppable. Venturing over into Mali and Guinea and back before mbalax, this applies standard-grade connoisseurship to 1975-1985 Afropop. It's more soulful, a good deal simpler, and truer to the historical West Africa than its brilliantly tendentious predecessor. I hope it spins off a follow-up in its turn. A-