Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Khaled [Virgin, 1992] ***
  • N'ssi N'ssi [Mango, 1994] A
  • Sahra [Polygram, 1996] **
  • Ya Taleb [Mondo Melodia, 2002] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Khaled [Virgin, 1992]
sounds more Arab with Michael Brook Frenching him than with Don Was funking him ("El Ghatli," "Wahrane") ***

N'ssi N'ssi [Mango, 1994]
The temptation once again is to attribute the straight-ahead passion of the big cheb's return bid to neotraditionalist Don Was, who adds funk bass, steel guitar, Was (Not Was) sax, and other unidiomatically consonant Americanisms to the already elaborate (and funky) production strategies the artist learned from the brothers Ahmed. But once again the alternate producer's Gallicisms--this time, Philippe Eidel's musette accordion, music-hall piano, and imported rafts of Cairo violins--fill out his songs less obtrusively if less strikingly. Hey, there's a thought--songs. Most of these were hits where and when it counted even if we've never heard them before. Can't hurt, can it? A

Sahra [Polygram, 1996]
panpop move ("Lillah," "Detni Essekra") **

Ya Taleb [Mondo Melodia, 2002]
these daftly annotated old odds and sods could so easily be Les Meilleurs, and ain't ("Ya El Mima," "Ana Bia Taxi") **