Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Judee Sill

  • Judee Sill [Asylum, 1971] B
  • Heart Food [Asylum, 1973] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Judee Sill [Asylum, 1971]
It's her devout hope that we'll "savor each word like a raspberry," and I do mean devout--Sill yearns for the day when Christ the Bridegroom will "take all the gentle away." Thank god her music is spiritually unpresumptuous--pythagorean melodies and spare, delicate chamber-folk arrangements that set off her homespun drawl (the lyric sheet favors spellings like "cuz" and "gunna"). Wish I could also say her lyrics were tart as raspberries, but they remind me more of peaches--fuzzy. B

Heart Food [Asylum, 1973]
Beneath a lusher surface, her voice enriched with overdubs and less idiosyncratically accented, Sill has become a real militant. Christ is a "Soldier of the Heart," a "Vigilante": although "the chosen are few" we're supposed to "see how His mercy shines," presumably because he saves any of us sinners at all. Last shall be first or not, this is pretty repulsive as ideology, yet until the kyrie eleisons at the climax I find it paradoxically seductive. Say she's a mad saint instead of a sainted madwoman and make room for another rock crazy. B+