Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mecca Normal

  • Sitting on Snaps [Matador, 1995] Dud
  • The Eagle and the Poodle [Matador, 1996] C
  • The Observer [Kill Rock Stars, 2006] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Sitting on Snaps [Matador, 1995] Dud

The Eagle and the Poodle [Matador, 1996]
Humorless, devoid of rebop, admired by a pretentious minority of an alt-rock subculture already way too full of itself, Jean Smith is a typical avant-garde hustler, her self-promotion harmless as long as innocent bystanders don't get guilt-tripped into deciding she gives them a thrill. I prefer her poetry to her songs because it's over faster, and because I can absorb it without hearing David Lester's freeee guitar. Naive interviewer (and jerk): "Do you listen to any music that you would consider obscure or different?" Smith: "I'm not really into all that record crap to tell you the truth." C

The Observer [Kill Rock Stars, 2006]
Vocal-performance-with-guitar cycle about online dating--sometimes harrowing, sometimes excruciating ("Attraction Is Ephemeral," "I'm Not Into Being the Woman You're With While You're Looking for the Woman You Want"). ***