Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Natalie Imbruglia

  • Left of the Middle [RCA, 1998] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Left of the Middle [RCA, 1998]
Compared to the diluted simple syrup of Swirl 360 or the teen-idol rappa-billy of Jimmy Ray, Imbruglia's modern pop is Rumours. Not only is she extraordinarily pretty without being too blatant in her babitude, she's got the brains and will to make up her own songs (and did I mention how pretty she is?). Thus she's earned our respect. But under all their state-of-the-studio-art, her competent songs are no more distinctive than the competent songs of hundreds of less pretty women. This was no stiff--RCA milked platinum and a follow-up single out of the sure shot she didn't write herself. But we should be proud that iconicity proved beyond Imbruglia's means. It's three cheers for democracy every time someone goes even a little broke underestimating the taste of the American public. C+