Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Sweet

  • The Sweet [Bell, 1973] B-
  • Desolation Boulevard [Capitol, 1975] B-
  • Give Us a Wink [Capitol, 1976] C+
  • Sweet 16: It's It's . . . Sweet's Hits [Angram, 1984] B+
  • The Best of Sweet [Capitol, 1993] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Sweet [Bell, 1973]
In which Phil Wainman, Mike Chapman, and Nicky Chinn ask the musical question: is heavy bubblegum bazooka-rock? Their answer: only when it goes pop. So while I'm as impressed as anyone with the success of "Little Willy," I want to know what happened to "Blockbuster." Not to mention "Wig-Wam Bam." B-

Desolation Boulevard [Capitol, 1975]
Bazooka-rock lives, even without Chapman and Chinn. In the absence of Slade (whose failure to participate on the recent LP that bears their name must be considered disquieting), these guys play second-bill steamroller to Kiss. B-

Give Us a Wink [Capitol, 1976]
An experiment that proves it is more aesthetically fruitful to veer toward Slade without a Noddy Holder than to veer toward Deep Purple without a Ritchie Blackmore. Science marches on. So does commerce. About art you can never be sure. C+

Sweet 16: It's It's . . . Sweet's Hits [Angram, 1984]
Side one is pure pop for then people, eight pieces of punchy Chapman-Chinn bubblegum from the mid-'70s glam band whose cross between T. Rex and Slade made the competition look both authentic and inefficient. Songs like "Poppa Joe" and "Wig Wam Bam" will take on the spiritual resonance of "Chewy Chewy" only if you happened to reside in Britain when they were dominating the airwaves, but give them a few spins and they'll push your fun button. Side two is more problematic, summing up as it does the period after they parted with Chapman-Chinn to write their own songs and earn their own royalties, or so they thought. B+

The Best of Sweet [Capitol, 1993]
for about 10 songs, the great glam-rock hit machine ("The Ballroom Blitz," "Fox on the Run") **