Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Frankie Goes to Hollywood

  • Welcome to the Pleasure Dome [Island, 1984] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Welcome to the Pleasure Dome [Island, 1984]
Hype is a word I try to use no more normatively than I do guitar--one's almost as intrinsic to rock and roll as the other. And this is a truly great hype. We're not just talking spectacularly entertaining, like the dripping labia of Mom's Apple Pie, or spectacularly profitable, like the Monkees, or both, like the "Thriller" video. We're talking hype as primary signifier, as a carrier of rich, profound, and potentially subversive meanings. I love the hype right down to the album package, and will even grant that the appalling quality of the band's music enriches the meaning further. But that doesn't mean I'm going to be caught dead telling anybody to listen to it. The singles side is okay--"Relax" has proven itself a fetching fuck-mantra, "Two Tribes" is fair-to-middling political art. But on the whole Frankie are a marginally competent arena-rock band who don't know how to distinguish between effeminacy and pretension, like an English Grand Funk gone disco. Follow the ads by all means. Watch the videos. And steal these inner sleeves. C