Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Donna Summer: Another Place and Time [Atlantic, 1989]
I tried to credit her comebacks, giving up only when that song about fucking Einstein cracked WBLS. But though Stock Aitken Waterman are no Einsteins, they're smart enough to know a voice when they hear one, which usually happens when they listen to other people's records--they've invented a pop machine that enables singers as adenoidal as the average British teenager to pass for Motown Mark XC after one or two treatments. Since Summer's great gift has always been her ability to emote inconsistent banalities as if her life depended on them, which after all those failed comebacks it kind of does, she lights into these retooled tunes with a phony enthusiasm that must have scared the shit out of Bananarama. Ever up, ever danceable, ever there, she's once again a believer, or rather "believer." And hidden over on the second side is a succinct new cliche about why women leave their men. B+