Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lucinda Williams: World Without Tears [Lost Highway, 2003]
Like Dylan before her, she discovers how hard it is to write the simple ones. She also discovers how hard it is to turn out an album every two years. So she stops at pretty good songs instead of worrying them toward great, and just in time. Concrete nouns are her passion, but here sometimes they break the mood, and when she pulls out her place-name trick she goes nowhere. To compensate, she sidles up to her beau ideal--a band record, a groove record, a riff record; something lowdown, dirty, smoky. Why not? Sue Foley has never recorded a lyric as strong as "Those Three Days" or "Sweet Side" in her life. And a strong Sue Foley album can hold up the sweet old world for a spell. A-