Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Marshall Crenshaw: Life's Too Short [Paradox/MCA, 1991]
By now there's comfort in his surprising little modulations as well as his plain-spoken prosody, and it's nigh on 10 years since he collected so many strong songs; heard live, "Better Back Off" and "Don't Disappear Now" seem no less inevitable than "Cynical Girl" or "Whenever You're on My Mind." But even if he finally gets his just market share, the new converts won't sing the same praises as the original faithful, because by now his feeling for his craft runs to weary wisdom rather than brimming delight. Marshall's compact solos and Kenny Aronoff's firm beat reinforce his resolve without hinting at his grace. B+