Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

U2: October [Island, 1981]
As they push past twenty their ambitions are showing, and suddenly the hope-addicts whiff both commerce and pretension. Sure it's still all fresh-faced and puissant in that vaguely political way that so moves the concerned rock journalist (and fan)--just not altogether unspoiled, sniff sniff. Bono Vox gets poetic, Steve Lillywhite gets arty, and those of us who expect more than sonic essence of rock and roll get enough melody and construction to make the first side a bit of all right. What a stupid band to expect purity from. B-