Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Aretha Franklin: Love All the Hurt Away [Arista, 1981]
This is her best pop album since Young, Gifted and Black because it's her best groove album since Spirit in the Dark. The swinging, streaming, Quincy Jonesish dance pulse of (no getting around it) Toto (though Arif Mardin did have the smarts to add Jacksons vet Greg Philinganes) even helps her through jivy remakes of "Hold On I'm Coming" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on side one. But side two is, as Aretha puts it in her candid "Whole Lot of Me," the "cream de la cream": for once her voice is as rich and confident as it always has every right to be, and Aretha asserts her needs and prerogatives as if they go with the flow. Which they do. A-