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Robert Christgau (sometimes abbreviated in print to "Xgau"), born April 18, 1942, is an American essayist, music journalist, and rock critic. His first reviews were published by Esquire magazine in 1967. He began writing music essays and review for The Village Voice in 1969, and has been a regular contributor to the Voice since 1974. In music-critic circles, he was an early supporter of hip hop and the riot grrl movement, along with other music styles. He lays claim to being "the dean of American rock critics".
In addition to his prolific number of published music essays (which often reach deeply into themes of sociology, multiculturalism, and politics), Christgau has written several album guides in reference-book form.
Christgau is perhaps best known for his Consumer Guide columns, which have been published on a more-or-less
monthly basis since 1969, mostly in the Village Voice but for a brief period in the New York daily newspaper Newsday. In its original format, the Consumer Guide consisted of 18 to 20 single-paragraph album reviews, each of which
was given a letter grade ranging from A+ to E-. In 1990, Christgau changed the format of the Consumer Guide in order to concentrate more on good albums at the expense
of mediocre ones. The Consumer Guide now contains 8 to 10 reviews graded B+ or higher, one "Dud of the Month" review
graded B or lower, and three lists: Honorable Mention (B+ albums deemed not worthy of full-paragraph reviews), Choice Cuts
(excellent tracks on un-recommended albums), and Duds (duds). There are two annual Consumer Guide columns which stray
from this format: The Turkey Shoot (typically published the week of Thanksgiving), which consists entirely of reviews graded B- or lower, and a Christmas-season roundup of compilations and reissues, mostly graded A or A+.