Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Al Green: I Can't Stop [Blue Note, 2003]
His midrange less creamy, he shouts a lot and relies on falsetto to make a point. Although Smokey Robinson and Seth Swirsky songs perked up his last pop move, he takes composer's credit for every shining star and pledge of love, generally leaving a share for his new old pal Willie Mitchell, who for his part proves all too willing to put subtlety behind him and get bumptious with the horns. So don't believe kneejerks crying comeback. But don't believe regular jerks whining hype either. Material has never been a big deal for a singer whose arrangements always play second fiddle to his inventions, and that singer has retained plenty of voice and the guile to know what to do with it. Give these performances time and they cohere, not as classy modernizations or returns to a form he never lost, but as artistic statements from someone with no history of taking his talent for granted. New classic: "My Problem Is You," all 6:28 of it. A-