Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Consumer Guide Album

Alicia Keys: Songs in A Minor [J, 2001]
The minor in question is the keys-sweeping Keys, not yet 21, who earns the musty "classically trained" as if it was bequeathed her by Donny Hathaway. Enough song doctors show up in parentheses to make the realist in me wonder just exactly how finished the material she'd begun at 14 was when she signed her deal. But the same realist notes that Brian McKnight gets sole credit for one of the bores that threaten to sink the project midway through, just as Keys does for one of those that buoy it back up at the end. And the grace and grit with which the first half skirts gentility would merit the musty "auspicious debut" regardless. If only Donny Hathaway had been so unassuming. A-