Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Melissa Manchester

  • Melissa [Arista, 1975] B+
  • Better Days and Happy Endings [Arista, 1976] C-
  • Melissa Manchester [Arista, 1979] C-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Melissa [Arista, 1975]
Manchester is very sexy in a barely disciplined, almost blowzy way--maybe a touch overexpressive, a little too liberal with her emotions. "I Got Eyes" is nice juicy fuck music and "Stevie's Wonder" the ultimate fan letter from someone who's found a new model of overexpressiveness. Both transcend the rest of the album, which in turn transcends the popped seams and middling Midlerizations of her first two LPs. B+

Better Days and Happy Endings [Arista, 1976]
The lyric zaniness that justified her defensive overstatement and good cheer last time proves a flimsy virtue, collapsing beneath the weight of her own success. Maybe she only does want to make us happy, but that should make us sad. C-

Melissa Manchester [Arista, 1979]
For a flukey moment there she was Bette Midler turning into Stevie Wonder, but that was long before her discovery by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. Now she's Shirley Bassey turning into Debby Boone. C-