Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Loudon Wainwright III: Unrequited [Columbia, 1975]
Since most people can't absorb the head-on impact of Wainwright's conjugal details--how do you confront an accusation like "You told me that I came too soon but it was you who came too late"?--the second side of this album, recorded live, tends to sound a little yockier than it should. On side one, however, the mockery has just the right edge of self-flagellation and is balanced off by a gentleness without which he might seem a little spoiled. In other words, the balance of pleasure and pain he's been seeking for five years. A-