Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Sugarcubes

  • Life's Too Good [Elektra, 1987] B-
  • Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! [Elektra, 1989] B+
  • The Great Crossover Potential [Elektra, 1998] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Life's Too Good [Elektra, 1987]
Their sense of mischief isn't just playful--it's experimental and a little wicked. It's also so imperfectly realized that you have to infer it out from underneath their breathy swoops, willful shifts and starts, and translated lyrics--so imperfectly realized that most of their fans, critics included, barely notice it. Which means that on the level of attention they deserve (and get), they're either a cult band to the max or vaguely irritating pop exotics. B-

Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week! [Elektra, 1989]
They're as quirky as you thought they were, but no longer are their quirks strictly personal, which may help their disjointed musical effects impact on the rest of us. Björk's Freudian fantasies are subsumed in a not unfantastic adult sexuality, and she shares more of the stage with Einar, who plays madness to her empathic concern even when she's abandoning him to the encroaching ice. The end of the world interests them now that they've got a place in it: they face or face down their doom with a humor and affection that's sometimes fatalistic but never passive. In short, they're beginning to sound like a band with at least as much future as the rest of us--even a band that might make our future better. B+

The Great Crossover Potential [Elektra, 1998]
a striking voice does not a pop band make--a striking band, maybe ("Birthday," "Vitamin") **