Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies is a music reference book by American music journalist and essayist Robert Christgau. It was first published in October 1981 by Ticknor & Fields. The book compiles approximately 3,000 of Christgau's capsule album reviews, most of which were originally written for his "Consumer Guide" column in The Village Voice throughout the 1970s. The entries feature annotated details about each record's release and cover a variety of genres related to rock music.

Christgau's reviews are informed by an interest in the aesthetic and political dimensions of popular music, a belief that it could be consumed intelligently, and a desire to communicate his ideas to readers in an entertaining, provocative, and compact way. Many of the older reviews were rewritten for the guide to reflect his changed perspective and matured stylistic approach. He undertook an intense preparation process for the book during 1979 and 1980, which temporarily hindered both his awareness of current music and his marriage to fellow writer Carola Dibbell, whom he later credited as an influence on his work.

The guide was critically well received, earning praise for its extensive discography, Christgau's judgment, and his colorful writing. Reviewers also noted his opinionated tastes, analytical commentary, pithy language, and critical quips. A staple of rock-era reference works, Christgau's Record Guide became widely popular in libraries as a source for popular music studies and as an authoritative guide for fellow critics, record collectors, and music shops, influencing the development of critical standards for evaluating music. It later appeared on several expert lists of the best popular music literature.

Christgau's Record Guide has been reprinted several times in book form and later on Christgau's website in its entirety. Two more "Consumer Guide" collections have been published, compiling his capsule reviews from the 1980s and the 1990s, respectively.


In 1969, Robert Christgau began reviewing contemporary album releases in his "Consumer Guide" column, which was published more-or-less monthly in The Village Voice – an alternative weekly newspaper local to New York City – and for brief periods in Newsday and Creem magazine during the 1970s.

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