Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Reggae Dance Hall Classics [Sleeping Bag, 1987]
Near as I can tell, dance hall represents a hedonistic rebellion against Rasta religiosity not unlike disco's rejection of rock pomposity, and a lot of it is as forgettable outside its context as disco was. What's crucial about these eight tracks is that they all made themselves in Manhattan discos--downtown, natch, but that's the point. All are naggingly uptempo, most one-shots and/or novelties, many hooked with universal melodies that somehow slipped the collective mind--"5000 Miles," "Frere Jacques," "Dem Bones," "For the Love of Money." You can just imagine how weird they must have sounded twixt Madonna and Fad Gadget. Even up against one another they sound pretty weird. A-