FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

Craig Finn's Best Bunch of Songs This Decade: Expert Witness with Robert Christgau

Let's have a look at some music built by and for the working class.

Welcome to Expert Witness with Robert Christgau, the self-proclaimed "Dean of American Rock Critics." He currently teaches at NYU and published multiple books throughout his life. For nearly four decades, he worked as the music editor for The Village Voice, where he created the annual Pazz & Jop poll. Every Friday, Noisey will happily publish his long-running critical column. To learn more about him and his life, read his welcome post here.

Advertisement

Jinx Lennon: 30 Beacons of Light for a Land Full of Spite, Thugs, Drug Slugs, and Energy Vampires (Septic Tiger)

Goody, a new Jinx album, said I to myself when the Dylan-chord rap-raver from Dundalk, County Louth, handed me one of these at a house party that was the only Gotham stop on a very brief US tour. And it is—copyright 2015. Problem is, the booklet says "Songs written Jinx Lennon copyright 2002." In other words, more Celtic Tiger jeremiads in which Lennon mocks a prosperity that's leaving everyone he knows behind. Maybe he wasn’t yet economist enough to understand how its banking and real estate scams would soon blow up in the nation's face. But he was scold enough to see how fucked up things were anyway. Highlights among these 30 stabs at enlightenment in 60 minutes include: the health-conscious "Don't Lose a Stone for Xmas," the jerry-built "Houses Everywhere," the disquieting "Balaclava Boys," the lulling "You Shouldn't Try to Fuck Someones Head Up," "Next Slow Song You Hear May Leave You Pregnant" with its flavored condom, "550 Euros" with its princess pram. But that's just a sampling—most of them have a point. I await the house party number about the fireman versus the samurai sword. A MINUS

Craig Finn: Faith in the Future (Partisan)

The band life has long since seemed all too consuming for the Hold Steady frontman. So for me, the clearest keepers on his best bunch of songs this decade feature non-scenesters like the rootless salvation-seeker of "Maggie I've Been Searching for Our Son" and the 9/11 beer-drinkers on "Newmyers's Roof," or engage an ex-lover like "Sarah, Calling From a Hotel" or a lost one like "Christine." I mean, "Some nights it just seems like the same old thing" is all too perfect a way to begin one called "Going to the Show." And "Trapper Avenue" tells me he should probably lay off the low life too. A MINUS

***

Public Image Ltd.: What the World Needs Now (PiL Official) There was always Peter Hammill guff behind the punk guff, and as long as Rotten-Lydon is excoriating busted toilets or corporate capital it's amusing enough—but not, please Jesus, when he's roaming the "Big Blue Sky" for eight minutes ("Corporate," "Double Trouble") *

Follow Robert Christgau on Twitter and read the archives of his criticism on his website.