Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Sandra Bernhard

  • I'm Your Woman [Mercury, 1985] C+
  • Without You I'm Nothing [Enigma, 1989] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

I'm Your Woman [Mercury, 1985]
Marianne Faithfull's survivor and Grace Jones's dominatrix both went up against Barry Reynolds's austere mechanics from strength, and better men wrote their best songs--John Lennon, Iggy Pop, Shel Silverstein, Melvin Van Peebles. The music here is Reynolds's ballgame, and if Bernhard's compulsively slippery irony is strength, I'm a great artist. I assume she gets to certain under-30 women because they find the twin escapes of dominance and submission wickedly seductive, and trust they're far enough from her fantasy star-world to take her as a metaphor for what's most oppressed and/or neurotic in themselves. I assume guys think she's more fun than reading the personals. C+

Without You I'm Nothing [Enigma, 1989]
If Laurie Anderson's a musician, so's this conceptualist. Her band includes Ivan Julian and Adele Bertei, and she needs 'em: she credits composers on 11 of 12 cuts, including the boite medley (thank God for cabaret, it lets you stay in New York and enjoy your co-op), the Prince cover (for Sheila E., Apollonia, Vanity, Wendy, and Lisa), and "The Women of Rock 'n' Roll" (the story of her magic night with Stevie Nicks, who hasn't called in six months). B+