Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Shawn Mullins

  • Soul's Core [Columbia, 1998] C+
  • 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor [Vanguard, 2006] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Soul's Core [Columbia, 1998]
Sincerity was smug long before irony was, and while Mullins devoted a long, honorable folk-circuit career to reinventing the feeling before he stumbled on his very own "Taxi"--six indie albums in the trunk of his car and he could still muse, "I don't know what I've been lookin' for, maybe me"!--I figure he'd rather be called smug than dumb or, heaven knows, insincere. Pretty good at observing/concocting the kind of composite characters journalists get fired for, he's so wrought up about their humanity that he rarely captures their humor or grace. That would require establishing a distance from them, and while they may live with distance, poor souls, he can't countenance it in himself. He's like a one-night stand who feels constrained to tell you he loves you instead of making clear why he finds you attractive. Feels icky, right? C+

9th Ward Pickin' Parlor [Vanguard, 2006] Dud