Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s

2000 book by music journalist Robert Christgau / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s is a music reference book by American music journalist and essayist Robert Christgau. It was published in October 2000 by St. Martin's Press's Griffin imprint and collects approximately 3,800 capsule album reviews, originally written by Christgau during the 1990s for his "Consumer Guide" column in The Village Voice. Text from his other writings for the Voice, Rolling Stone, Spin, and Playboy from this period is also featured. The book is the third in a series of influential "Consumer Guide" collections, following Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981) and Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s (1990).

Quick facts: Author, Country, Language, Subject, Published...
Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s
AuthorRobert Christgau
CountryUnited States
Published2000 by St. Martin's Griffin
Media typePrint
Preceded byChristgau's Record Guide: The '80s 

Covering a variety of genres within and beyond the conventional pop/rock axis of most music press, the reviews are composed in a concentrated, fragmented prose style characterized by layered clauses, caustic wit, one-liner jokes, political digressions, and allusions ranging from common knowledge to the esoteric. Adhering to Christgau's mainstream tastes and some personal eccentricities, the guide favors music on standards of catchiness, rhythmic vitality, and practical significance, while generally penalizing qualities like sexist content and hour-plus album lengths. It also introduces a new grading system Christgau developed in response to the proliferation in music production over the 1990s, an event he cites as a reason why this project was the most difficult of the three "Consumer Guide" collections.

Critical response to the guide was divided, with praise given to the quality of writing and breadth of coverage but disapproval of the novel rating schema and aspects of Christgau's judgements. The collection has since been referenced by academic works and ranked among the top popular music books according to The A.V. Club. Along with Christgau's other writings, its contents are freely available on his website – – created with fellow critic and web designer Tom Hull, who also adopted the book's grading system for his own review website.