Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Siouxsie and the Banshees

  • The Scream [Polydor, 1978] B+
  • Once Upon a Time/The Singles [PVC, 1981] B+
  • Twice Upon a Time--The Singles [Geffen, 1992] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Scream [Polydor, 1978]
Hippies were rainbow extremists; punks are romantics of black-and-white. Hippies forced warmth; punks cultivate cool. Hippies kidded themselves about free love; punks pretend that s&m is our condition. As symbols of protest, swastikas are no less fatuous than flowers. So it's not surprising that Siouxsie Sioux, punks' exemplary fan-turned-artist, should prove every bit as pretentious as model-turned-rocker Grace Slick or film-student manqué Jim Morrison. Nor is it surprising that while the spirit is still upon her she should come up with a tunefully atonal, modestly sensationalistic album. B+

Once Upon a Time/The Singles [PVC, 1981]
Like Jim Morrison, greatest of the pop posers, Siouxsie Pseud disguises the banality of her exoticism with psychedelic gimmicks most profitably consumed at their hookiest, and voila. Although two of the four unavailable-on-album 45s on this compilation go nowhere, most of these nightmare vignettes are diverting placebos, of a piece even though they span three years of putative artistic development. B+

Twice Upon a Time--The Singles [Geffen, 1992] Dud

Further Notes:

Subjects for Further Research [1980s]: She has her cult--an army of black-clad college students eagerly waiting for the world to end. But though many Johnny Rotten fans proved smarter than Johnny Rotten, Siouxsie Pseud wasn't one of them. Since like Jim Morrison she disguises the banality of her exoticism with psychedelic gimmicks best consumed at their hookiest, the nightmare vignettes on her 1981 best-of were of a piece even though they spanned three years of putative artistic development. After that I kept waiting for Siouxsie to end. But she left a lot of product in her wake, and for all I know it conceals another best-of.