Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
    RSS
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Consumer Guide Album

Bette Midler: Bette Midler [Atlantic, 1973]
Side two does seven great songs with umpteen instruments in just over fifteen minutes, a perfectly amazing miracle of concision. But side one is less than hot. Two (why two?) just-wrong Johnny Mercer songs lead into a properly excessive intro to Ann Peebles's "Breaking Up Somebody's Home" that is destroyed inside of two minutes by an improperly excessive, funkless production. Bette's overstatement works on "Surabaya Johnny" and "I Shall Be Released," but I've heard better. Most important, why isn't there one song by a contemporary composer here? Dylan doesn't count--I'm talking about Randy Newman, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Joni Mitchell, maybe James Taylor or Cat Stevens, she's always made me believe in miracles. As it stands, this record is perilously close to the ostrich nostalgia of her dumbest fans. B+