Music Meets Comedy: Expert Witness with Robert Christgau

The Dean examines recent records where humor and music intersect.

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Jan 15 2016, 6:08pm

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.

Childbirth: Women's Rights (Suicide Squeeze) Feminist jokes over punk-rock thrash—fun though it undeniably is, it sounds suspiciously easy and unmusical until you compare the debut, which is both. This thrash is committed as well as pragmaticlly tuneful in the punk-rock manner. And these jokes are something else—insulting, embarrassing, pansexual, post-generational, and pointedly un-P.C. Subjects include bad hygiene, rich tech guys, Tinder, Best Coast, permissive parenting, exploitative parenting, teen angst, bi-curious etiquette, cocaine at a baby shower, and getting pregnant all the time. When Universal Republic assembles the deluxe edition, I fervently suggest the bonus tracks include the debut's "How Do Girls Even Do It" and "I Only Fucked You as a Joke." That'll take care of that. A MINUS


Lil Dicky: Professional Rapper (Lil Dicky) Two major negatives: David Burd has zero-to-crap politics despite the liberal parents who wish he'd stuck with the ad agency, as documented by "Oh Well," and he can't sing, as documented by many assiduously Auto-Tuned singsongs. But that's the way most rappers sing, and he has learned to rap, as documented by how deftly this born comedian holds his own against Snoop Dogg in the opener, pitching hip-hop's underexploited little-bitch market with rhymes of true wit, speed, articulation, and rhythmic panache. As a born comedian, he of course risks offending, but there's plenty of cultural resonance on this double-disc official debut, especially as regards sex, about which it is detailed and proudly self-deprecating. As Lil Dicky's rap career progresses along with the album's narrative, the word "girl" fades as "bitch" asserts itself, and I believe he knows it, though not that he regards "woman" as an alternative. But he never gets to "hoe," and throughout there are individual females in the relationships he details so loquaciously. "White Crime" is borderline offensive, "$ave Dat Money" no-holds-barred cheap. His parents' cameos are no-holds-barred droll. His reflections on the contradictions of his career path are smarter than he'll ever get credit for. A MINUS

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