Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Bananarama

  • Deep Sea Skiving [London, 1983] B-
  • Bananarama [London, 1984] B-
  • The Greatest Hits Collection [London, 1988] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Deep Sea Skiving [London, 1983]
In some pop convolution, the effectlessness with which these London lasses appropriate various attractive girlgroup epiphenomena may simply signify that they're not an "authentic" girl group. And right, the Dixie Cups (even the Marvelettes) (maybe even the Crystals) had no discernible identity either. But they could sing. B-

Bananarama [London, 1984]
The girl-group version of Tony Swain and Steve Jolley's black harmony trio, Imagination, Bananarama suffer from Swain-Jolley's characteristically detached mix, which sounds dreamy when Leee Johns is coming on and untouchably dreamlike when these lucky lasses blend their voices in song. They also suffer from the songs, which despite their solid hooks don't give you much to grab onto either. B-

The Greatest Hits Collection [London, 1988]
London postfeminists who appropriate girl-group epiphenomena affectlessly, to signify inauthenticity, they fare better with odious Stock Aitken Waterman synthpop than with the shallow Swain & Jolley synthsoul they started out with--where Leee Johns sounded dreamy wafting through that detached mix, these lucky lasses just seemed untouchably dreamlike. It's some kind of camp achievement that like the totally plastic singles group they play at being, they're equal to their most "meaningful" early material nevertheless, and some kind of camp limitation that their rilly greatest hits are "Venus" and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." I know, the Dixie Cups didn't have any discernible identity either. But they could sing. B+