Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rick James: Street Songs [Gordy, 1981]
There's never been any doubt that James was commercial, as they say, but this time that's a plus--when he's not rocking, which is mostly, he even comes up with some dynamite love-man bullshit. And the street simulations are convincing enough. But I still want to know whether "The kind of girl you read about/In new-wave magazines" is "kinky" after the manner of the one in "Ghetto Life" who has "pigtails down to her shoulders." 'Cause with her, it may just be the hair. A-