Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist [self-released, 2012]
The question isn't whether this Seattle alt-rapper is a cornball, it's whether he's so dumb he's a cornball or so brave he's a cornball. The answer is "Same Love," the best gay marriage song to date in any genre and as corny as it damn well oughta be. Sure there's too much "who I really was," too much "a life lived for art is never a life wasted." And though the co-billed Lewis is big and original for an alt-beatmaker, his percussion-oriented version of an E Street Band, strings-swell-to-big-finish aesthetic has its icky moments. But as someone who shares Macklemore's moral views if not his equation of sincerity with soul, I find only the alcoholic's confession "Neon Cathedral" too much, and that one's counteracted by the relapser's confession "Starting Over," just as "Sayin' 'That's poetry, it's so well-spoken,' stop it" counteracts his art talk. He's especially good on old cars and old clothes. B+