Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Amadou & Mariam: Je Pense à Toi: The Best of Amadou et Mariam [Circular Moves/Universal Music Jazz, 2005]
Although their French hits-plus are solider than the songs on their new Manu Chao album, on both records these Malians' pop ambition trumps their soul training, pop-by-ambition trumps soulful-by-training. Here their European label performs the old trick of stitching a pretty good CD out of three lesser ones. Translations would probably be beside the point, though I'm intrigued by one snippet quoted in the liner notes: "The world is no eternal dwelling place, it's a parlor for chatting." A-