Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Hakim: Talakik [Mondo Melodia, 2002]
Mixing producers from Natacha Atlas svengalis Trans-Global Underground to jazz-funk hack Narada Michael Walden to several actual Egyptians, risking a Moorish duet with Puerto Rican merengue diva Olga Tan and countenancing the cornball soul shouts of an unidentified co-conspirator I fear is Walden himself, Hakim could have come up with crossover crap, and without crossing over. Instead he provides an object lesson in world fusion--even when it doesn't translate all the way, Hakim's barely contained enthusiasm and pervasive musical intelligence give you something to take home to mama. Figure that when producers outdo themselves this much, it's probably the singer's fault. A-