Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Artists United Against Apartheid

  • Sun City [Manhattan, 1985] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Sun City [Manhattan, 1985]
Each side closes with a well-meaning failure: "Revolutionary Situation"'s collage of indistinct South African voices over Keith LeBlanc humdrum is an object lesson in political correctness that might have made a collectible B, and Bono's country blues is simply ignorant. And now, with my sorehead credentials in order, I'll add that Gil Scott-Heron's superrap is as astute and moving rhythmically as it is ideologically and that Peter Gabriel's largely instrumental "No More Apartheid" is a worthy successor to "Biko." What's more, each side begins with the title tune, which can grow on you in a big way, although I don't think its failure to break pop is cause for special indignation--had the programmers cooperated, it would have been a case of politics (and hype) overcoming musical taste as much as the opposite. So it goes. As a cultural materialist, I admire Little Steven's strategy anyway--with his medium-saturation outreach, he's preaching to potential faithful, which is always the idea. Sometimes raising consciousness does as much good as raising money. Which can be forwarded to the Africa Fund, 198 Broadway, NYC 10038. A-