Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Supremes

  • Floy Joy [Motown, 1972] B+
  • The Supremes [Motown, 1972] C+
  • At Their Best [Motown, 1978] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Floy Joy [Motown, 1972]
For the most part this miracle of homogeneity bounces along in the background, occasionally brightening the room with a riff or a harmony or a phrase or a touch of electricity that betokens writer-producer Smokey Robinson expressing himself. "Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love" and "Floy Joy" and "Automatically Sunshine" aren't prime Smokey. But they're choice, meriting my most generous Muzak rating. B+

The Supremes [Motown, 1972]
Jean Tyrell Isn't Diana Ross. Here the new appointee confronts producer/arranger/songwriter Jimmy Webb, who isn't a boy genius anymore, but with a small "i." The result is, well, confusing and schlocky, but it does feature Young Jimmy doing a Sweet Baby James imitation in the background. I remember when Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson used to have that job. C+

At Their Best [Motown, 1978]
In which the great pop factory of the '60s flounders around in the superstar '70s, incapable of fabricating hits around the greatest of girl-group trademarks. "Stoned Love," from 1970, is the last undeniable single Berry Gordy's depleted forces can provide their act; by the time Smokey enters the lists in 1972 he's turned into an album artist. "Love Train"? "You're My Driving Wheel"? Has it come to this? C+