"You either love Christgau or you don’t, but his cantankerous, affectionate, cut-to-the chase reviews and essays over the past 50 years have defined music journalism, and this collection offers an opportunity to re-read the best of the self-proclaimed Dean of American Rock Critics." — Henry Carrigan, No Depression
"At a moment when music criticism seems less empowered for being more fragmented, Christgau still offers an informed, authoritative perspective, self-aware regarding cultural aging and mortality, not stodgy but wry. A vital chronicler of rock's story, several decades on."
— Kirkus Reviews
"The self-proclaimed dean of rock criticism is now in his 70s, and his ongoing influence is felt wherever thoughtful music writing is valued. This collection of work spanning 1967–2017 highlights his omnivorous taste, showing Christgau to be just as comfortable reflecting on Woody Guthrie, Sam Cooke, and the Spice Girls as he is on Radiohead, Mary J. Blige, or Youssou N’Dour." — Steve Futterman, Publishers Weekly
"These pieces from a preeminent critic will reward a wide swath of music fans who will perhaps be provoked to discuss the mosaic that is popular music in the 20th and early 21st centuries." — James Collins, Library Journal
"Gleeful flurries of verbal shadow-boxing make this a book which can be enjoyed for the writing alone. . . . His curiosity and sass remain undiminished at the age of seventy-six and his own musical preferences acknowledge no frontiers." — Lou Glandfield, TLS
"Though Christgau is best known for his pithy, graded Consumer Guide blurbs, this monumental tome collects his longer essays on both essential figures in popular music and his own pet favorites, at least a few of which he’ll convince you deserve to be considered essential themselves. Buy two copies—one to throw angrily across the room, one as a reference." — Keith Harris, City Pages (Minneapolis)
"A treasure trove of the most incisive, witty pop music reviews and commentary ever committed to print." — Ken Tucker, Fresh Air
"This is complicated work, but for a dean it’s plenty fun, and joy to dip into or explore in depth, both for full appreciations and single lines. Offering some tips for 'growing better ears' on the book’s first page, he suggests you 'spend a week listening to James Brown’s Star Time.' The ensuing pages will keep you listening and thinking for many, many more weeks besides."
— Mark Athitakis, Critical Mass blog
"If the New Journalism movement of the early '60s sought to remove the never-wholly-real concept of objectivity from news reporting, so too did Christgau and his Village voice colleagues remove it from music writing. In fact, that's why this collection is such a worthy read even for those who haven't read much Christgau over the years. You may or may not be compelled to seek out the music he writes about, or you may wholeheartedly disagree with his assessment of that music, but you will enjoy the way he writes about it. Music is personal for him—it's personal for all of us, really—and he writes like it is, only with way more erudition than a common Facebook post." — Mark Reynolds, Popmatters
"Christgau is . . . one of America’s sharper public intellectuals of the past half century, and certainly one of its most influential—not to mention one of the better stylists in that cohort. Fun is a big part of why." — David Cantwell, The New Yorker
"One of Christgau’s greatest strengths is that he relentlessly keeps up with the times. At least seven or eight presidents ago, Christgau was already the indispensable guide to the Ramones, Talking Heads, and Parliament Funkadelic. Now he’s even more necessary, the only critic who can sift through new pop from Africa and Egypt and nudge us in the right direction. To paraphrase Dylan, Christgau was older then, and he’s younger than that now." — Allen Barra, National Book Review
“Christgau is the last true-blue record critic on earth. That's pretty much who I make my records for. He's like the last of that whole Lester Bangs generation of record reviewers, and I still heed his words.” — Ahmir Questlove Thompson
“All these years later, Robert Christgau is not just rock criticism's ‘Dean,’ he's its most rabid defender and most withering internal vetter. His prose is still brilliant, offering as much pleasure, sentence by sentence, as anyone's. This book nearly always excited me, and the writing buoyed me along even when the ideas made me want to hurl it across the room. I'm glad I didn't: this is a book to be treasured.” — Jody Rosen
“Robert Christgau is music writing's great omnivore, and his appetite hasn't diminished in the sixth and seventh decades of his life. The twenty-first century has been a tumultuous one in popular music and Christgau brings his gimlet-eyed wit, deep knowledge, and inimitable heart to this era with the same verve he had as a countercultural kid. Long may the Dean live; as this collection proves with ease, we still need him.” — Ann Powers