Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

FM [MCA, 1978]
An AOR wish fulfillment--Superstar top twenty. I mean, the most mechanistic radio offers an occasional ear-opener, but even though all twenty songs on this soundtrack-compilation are pretty good, including Foreigner's, they're as predictable as cuts on a disc, and (worse still) diminished by their mutual proximity. This is frequency modulation at its blandest, with specific content subjugated to "sound"; it cries out for deprogramming. Typically, Steely Dan contributes a title tune that elucidates this dilemma while reveling in it. Atypically, Linda Ronstadt's live "Tumbling Dice" is so passionate and revelatory that it leaps out of its context and stomps all over the Rolling Stones. B-