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Robert Thomas Christgau (// KRIST-gow; born April 18, 1942) is an American music journalist and essayist. Among the most well-known and influential music critics, he began his career in the late 1960s as one of the earliest professional rock critics and later became an early proponent of musical movements such as hip hop, riot grrrl, and the import of African popular music in the West. Christgau spent 37 years as the chief music critic and senior editor for The Village Voice, during which time he created and oversaw the annual Pazz & Jop critics poll. He has also covered popular music for Esquire, Creem, Newsday, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR, Blender, and MSN Music, and was a visiting arts teacher at New York University. CNN senior writer Jamie Allen has called Christgau "the E. F. Hutton of the music world – when he talks, people listen."
|Born||Robert Thomas Christgau|
(1942-04-18) April 18, 1942 (age 81)
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Dartmouth College|
Christgau is best known for his terse, letter-graded capsule album reviews, composed in a concentrated, fragmented prose style featuring layered clauses, caustic wit, one-liner jokes, political digressions, and allusions ranging from common knowledge to the esoteric. Informed by leftist politics (particularly feminism and secular humanism), his reviews have generally favored song-oriented musical forms and qualities of wit and formal rigor, as well as musicianship from uncommon sources. Originally published in his "Consumer Guide" columns during his tenure at The Village Voice from 1969 to 2006, the reviews were collected in book form across three decade-ending volumes – Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s (1990), and Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (2000). Multiple collections of his essays have also been published in book form, and a website published in his name since 2001 has freely hosted most of his work.
In 2006, the Voice dismissed Christgau after the paper's acquisition by New Times Media. He continued to write reviews in the "Consumer Guide" format for MSN Music, Cuepoint, and Noisey – Vice's music section – where they were published in his "Expert Witness" column until July 2019. In September that year, he launched a paid-subscription newsletter called And It Don't Stop, published on the email-newsletter platform Substack and featuring a monthly "Consumer Guide" column, among other writings.
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