Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Best Punk Album in the World . . . Ever! [Virgin, 1995]
I can just see the ad scrolling down the late-night screen: "Anarchy in the U.K."!/"2-4-6-8 Motorway"!/"Alternative Ulster"!/"Teenage Kicks"!/"Psycho Killer"!/"Blank Generation"!/"Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll"!/"Milk and Alcohol"! Images of leather and shirtless Iggy and pogoing and skinny-tied Joe and safety pins and Siouxsie with her tits jutting out (hey, get rid of that swastika fer Chrissake). But even with the Clash MIA, this stupid two-CD hodgepodge is how punk or new wave or whatever the fuck it was hit U.K. rock and rollers--with strong, fast songs by white people with a tendency toward attention deficit disorder. It ignores L.A., which London didn't know existed ("I Hate the Rich"!), and preserves some tracks you can't stand (Tubes, Adam and the Ants) as well as unearthing a few you missed (Skids, Jilted John). Collectors of a certain age don't need it, especially at import prices, and volume two is less surefire. But the title tells it like it is. A