Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Big Star: Radio City [Ardent, 1974]
Brilliant, addictive, definitively semipopular, and all Alex Chilton--Chris Bell, his folkie counterpart, just couldn't take it any more. Boosters claim this is just what the AM has been waiting for, but the only pop coup I hear is a reminder of how spare, skew, and sprung the Beatles '65 were, which is a coup because they weren't. The harmonies sound like the lead sheets are upside down and backwards, the guitar solos sound like screwball readymade pastiches, and the lyrics sound like love is strange, though maybe that's just the context. Can an album be catchy and twisted at the same time? A