Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Babyface: A Collection of His Greatest Hits [Epic, 2000]
Forget R. Kelly if you can get him to bug off already--when it all comes down, Kenny Edmonds will be remembered as the most interesting love man of our era. Only females of a certain mindset can be expected to sit still for all his palaver, but he's got a hell of a line. Duplicating but three tracks from his superb worstseller The Day, this is the distillation of woman-friendly romanticism; there's even a song that accurately and effectively deploys the jargon term "abused." The new one he didn't write advances instantly to the head of his repertoire: "Poured one for you but I drank that too," laments the bereaved wino-in-progress. The new one he did write lacks a killer hook. But is it ever outspoken about fortysomething males who leave their wives primping at home. A-