Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Thompson Twins

  • Into the Gap [Arista, 1984] B-
  • Here's to Future Days [Arista, 1985] C+
  • Greatest Mixes/The Best of Thompson Twins [Arista, 1988] B
  • Big Trash [Warner Bros., 1989] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Into the Gap [Arista, 1984]
No longer saddled with one of the most vacant art reputations in the history of hype, this decidedly unavant unfunk trio are free to pursue the airhead pop they were born to, and first try they've scored a natural: "Hold Me Now" is a classic on chord changes alone, i.e., even though Tom Bailey sings it. Nothing else here approaches its heart-tugging mastery, but the album remains lightly creditable through the title-cut chinoiserie which opens side two. After that, as Alannah Currie herself puts it, who can stop the rain? B-

Here's to Future Days [Arista, 1985]
Tired of complaining about the problems of the world (not that anyone else noticed him doing it), Tom Bailey elects to add to them instead, with an English positivity album that's a case study in the limits of catchy--I'd pay money not to hum these tunes. Love is great stuff, but beware of rich pop stars telling you it's all you need, especially in so many words--and in 1985. C+

Greatest Mixes/The Best of Thompson Twins [Arista, 1988]
Their star power was so evanescent that they commemorate themselves as a dance act rather than a pop act, which is fine as far as song selection goes--this is most of what you'll want to remember before you forget. But from a pop perspective the Thompsons are why DOR turned into a dirty acronym: their tepid beats will drift anyone who isn't an acolyte of cool off the floor, and their pop is so wispy it fades before their dance mixes are over. B

Big Trash [Warner Bros., 1989]
No one cares, but this is their best by miles. The singing is as characterless as ever, but at last their brains show, and when their well-named homage to Blondie and the B-52's adduces Salvador Dali, it leaves no doubt that they admire him as a charlatan, not an artist--or at least that they regard the two callings as closely related. So maybe the B-52's should hire Bailey/Currie when they need something catchy and meaningless, as they do. Deborah Harry did just that last year and wound up with a side-opener. B+