Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Stephen Stills

  • Stephen Stills [Atlantic, 1970] C+
  • Stephen Stills 2 [Atlantic, 1971] C
  • Manassas [Atlantic, 1972] C+
  • Stills [Columbia, 1975] C

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Stephen Stills [Atlantic, 1970]
Stills always projects an effortless swing, and his tradeoffs with Eric Clapton on "Go Back Home" are keen and then some. He seems too damn skillful to put down. Yet there's something terribly undefined about this record. Hmm--maybe it's the songs. C+

Stephen Stills 2 [Atlantic, 1971]
Stills has always come on as the ultimate rich hippie--arrogant, self-pitying, sexist, shallow. Unfortunately, he's never quite fulfilled this artistic potential, but now he's approaching his true level. Flashes of brilliant ease remain--the single, "Marianne," is very nice, especially if you don't listen too hard to the lyrics--but there's also a lot of stuff on order of an all-male chorus with jazzy horns singing "It's disgusting" in perfect tuneful unison, and straight, I swear. Keep it up, SS--it'll be a pleasure to watch you fail. C

Manassas [Atlantic, 1972]
Yes, Steve has gotten it together a little, even deigning to cooperate with real musicians in a real band, and yes, some of this four-sided set echoes in your head after you play it a lot. The only problem is you're never sure where the echoes come from. C+

Stills [Columbia, 1975]
In which Stills recycles his "favorite set of changes/Already good for a couple of songs." His admirers might find that endearing, I know. They might even dig him copping a lick from Alice Cooper later on in the lyric. But me, I find it pathetic. C