Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Private Waters in the Great Divide [Columbia, 1990]
To the shocked rumor that label prexy (and former Dr. Buzzard manager) Tommy Mottola forced August Darnell back into the studio for a quick "Lambada" stick on, I say the universalism of that great hit is an improvement. In general here a level of imagination that has always exceeded Loudoun Wainwright's, say, has turned slightly shticky. "I Love Girls" is a sinuous sample of the album's disco-funk and a proper first panel for the roue-in-the-age-of-AIDS triptych. But it's not liberating, daring, or even surprising. For wit, all Darnell does is show off his vocabulary. The same goes for the true-crime "Taking the Rap," the sexy "When Lucy Does the Boomerang," and so forth--not even Cory Daye or Prince lift off from the pleasure zone. Biggest exception is the prophetic refrain of "Laughing With Our Backs Against the Wall": "What you gonna do when the money runs out?" Sign with Sony, of course. B+