Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bring in 'Da Noize, Bring in 'Da Funk [RCA Victor, 1996]
No matter how many of the owners have been in bands, the voices of Rent epitomize that anonymous synthesis of "talk `street'" and "project, my dear, e-nun-ci-ate" with which Broadway has fended off "rock" since Hair. But the second time I braved the two-CD original-cast monster, I noticed something strange--not only did I remember half the songs a month later, some of them made me feel something. That the singing is better on its African American counterpart is no surprise, but the catch sure is: for all practical purposes, there is none. This is an album of people banging their feet on the floor while a PBS narrator talks about oppression. No noize, no funk, OK--what do you expect of the musical theayter? But no songs? Call 'da po-lice. D+