Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Streets of Dakar: Generation Bool Falé [Sterns, 1999]
Under the rubric of a new piece of slang whose meaning is surrounded by "carefree," "fed up," and "whatever," young singers in a land where horns are no longer cost-effective make do with synthesizers. Though they use them well, there's a loss not just in color but in punch and ruckus, and though there are plenty of guitars and enough guitar hooks, the few solos never bust out. Leaving us with tama drums that don't-stop-and-they-don't-stop and a profusion of voices, tremendously varied within their penetrating West African attack-girl group and rap crew share space with blues growlers, trumpetless Gabriels, and other secular muezzins. These voices convey resoluteness, spirituality, spunk, moralism, humor--personality. They also convey good-to-great melodies. So, whatever. A-