Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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A Flock of Seagulls

  • A Flock of Seagulls [Jive, 1982] A-
  • Listen [Jive, 1983] B+
  • The Best of a Flock of Seagulls [Jive, 1987] A-
  • Platinum and Gold Collection [RCA/BMG Heritage, 2003]

Consumer Guide Reviews:

A Flock of Seagulls [Jive, 1982]
This is very silly, and I know why earnest new-wavers resent it. But I think it's a hoot--so transparently, guilelessly expedient that it actually provides the hook-chocked fun most current pop bands only advertise. The human drummer and all-too-human guitarist provide reassuring links with a past these boys have no more intention of giving up than you, me, or Rod Stewart. And if the cheerfully mechanical voices and cheerfully mechanical melodies do once or twice venture toward cheerfully mechanical lyrics about the direly mechanical end of the world, well, that's just the shape of bubblegum to come. A-

Listen [Jive, 1983]
If you think I enjoy enjoying this epitome of new-wave commercialism, this pap beloved of no one but MTV-addled suburbanites (not even NME, ever!)--well, you're right. I'm not just being campy, either, except insofar as camp means the luxury of surrender to stupidity--in this case to sheer, sensationalistic aural pleasure, whooshes and zooms and sustains and computerized ostinatos and English boys whining about their spaced-out, financially secure lot, all held aloft on tunes Mr. Spock could dance to. There are too many slow ones on number two, so I don't play both sides indiscriminately like I do with the debut. But hell, "What Am I Supposed to Do" even has a decent lyric. B+

The Best of a Flock of Seagulls [Jive, 1987]
If they were never as sublime as "Chewy Chewy," they were never as icky as "1, 2, 3, Red Light," and unlike the Ohio Express or the 1910 Fruitgum Co., they-wrote-all-the-songs-themselves. I might even claim that this was where the idiots took over the studio if I hadn't noticed that their weakest cut by far--1985's terminal "Who's That Girl (She's Got It)," designed to convince us that they're human beings--is the-one-they-produced-themselves. A-

Platinum and Gold Collection [RCA/BMG Heritage, 2003]
(1) Doesn't pretend they "advanced" from their debut. (2) Includes bonus photos of their haircuts. (3) So much better than Duran Duran. [Recyclables]

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]

See Also