Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Loudon Wainwright III: So Damn Happy [Sanctuary, 2003]
His 1993 Career Moves did the live folkie best-of as right as it's ever been done. A decade on he's more half-assed--men's-lib lite from History, redundant third "Westchester County," nothing off 2001's Last Man on Earth because his label changed (again). But with a couple of exceptions the songs were strong to start and improve in context, and there are five (out of 17) new ones--every one a winner, three played for laughs if you count "Something for Nothing," which is about file-sharing. Know what? The old fart's against it, although he's too sarcastic to come out and say so straight. Know what else? He may convince you. This is a man who's been making mincemeat out of hippie muscleheads since Timothy Leary was a visionary. B+