Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Frank Ocean: Nostalgia, Ultra [free download, 2011]
A high point many admirers never mention sets the tone--the lead "Strawberry Swing," where the alienated young r&b pro rewrites the sappy Coldplay single without underplaying its lyricism or, as promised, its nostalgia. "I've loved the good times here" is a sendoff worthy of the "dying world" Ocean calls home. His romantic laments are models of texture, respect, and profound loss, their beats subtle, seductive, weird, and seized like time whether he's deploying "songs for women" that are soon trumped by Drake's, not feeling a porn-moonlighting dental student and her "novacaine," or annulling a courthouse wedding solemnized just before his bride turned in her term paper on hijab. Swagga his Odd Future crew: "It's Smooth Ass Music About Bitches, Relationships And Being A Rich Young Nigga . . . But In A Swagged Out Way." Lord he's so over their heads. A