Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Was (Not Was): What Up, Dog? [Chrysalis, 1988]
Smooth has never been their forte--in fact, they've never given a shit about it. So this comes on as scattered as the literary art-funk you dimly remember. It's not, though--they relax a little, write real tunes, groove the overelaborate rhythmic attack, and add lyrical reach and purpose without softpedaling their ruefully cynical leftwing misanthropy. Which is their message to the world whether we (and they) like it or not. Since a little goes a long way, it's encouraging that two of the grotesque one-night stands have happy endings. As for the prodigal malcontent who tells his dad he wants to stay in jail and the good old goon who uses his pit bull as a credit card, they're just misanthropic fun. A-