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He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Robert Christgau Word of the Day

ep·och·al adj. 1. Of or characteristic of an epoch. 2. a. Highly significant or important; momentous: epochal decisions made by Roosevelt and Churchill. b. Without parallel: epochal stupidity. (

Curtis Mayfield Super Fly [Curtom, 1972]

I'm no respecter of soundtracks, but I can count--this offers seven new songs (as many as his previous LP) plus two self-sustaining instrumentals. It's not epochal, but it comes close--maybe Mayfield writes tougher when the subject is imposed from outside than when he's free to work out of his own spacious head. Like the standard-setting "Freddie's Dead," these songs speak for (and to) the ghetto's victims rather than its achievers (cf. "The Other Side of Town," on Curtis), transmitting bleak lyrics through uncompromisingly vivacious music. Message: both candor and rhythm are essential to our survival. A- (


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