Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Baseball Project: Volume 2: High and Inside [Yep Roc, 2011]
These 13 excellent songs are sufficiently specialized to make you realize how classic Volume 1 was--and what a theme statement "Past Time" was. Here the lead "1976" mourns Mark Fidrych, and though those who don't remember how rock and roll the kid was should look it up, that choice signals a smaller compass and a focus on frailty and death. "Chin Music" cheers on bad-asses who throw up and in, but later beanballs have tragic consequences for Tony Conigliaro's career and then Ray Chapman's very life--in a closer narrated by Carl Mays, the submariner who delivered the fatal pitch. Just as sad and strong is "Twilight of My Career," narrated by a Roger Clemens they'll almost convince you is a tragic figure. Yet the new season always brings new hope--Panda and the Freak will win the Series, and Ichiro will go to the moon. A-