Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Langley Schools Music Project

  • Innocence and Despair [Bar/None, 2001] C-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Innocence and Despair [Bar/None, 2001]
Hans Fenger was a gifted teacher on a mission. Cutting keepsake vinyl for his kiddie choir was a great way for him to reward past involvement while inspiring more. Irwin Chusid is a tedious ideologue with a hustle. Turning that vinyl into a collectible CD is the latest way for him to remind the converted that artistic intention is reserved for the beholder in these postmodern times--especially if the beholder has a hustle. A few of these songs were great, a few of them sucked, and every one was more innocent and/or desperate in its original version except Barry Manilow's (but not the Bay City Rollers'). A special annoyance is the reportedly tear-jerking "Desperado" by a 10-year-old who doesn't seem to have any idea what the song means, which is to her credit as a human being but not as a singer. The sole revelation is Brian Wilson, whose six songs still sound like themselves. C-