Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Tubes

  • The Tubes [A&M, 1975] B-
  • Young and Rich [A&M, 1976] B-
  • Remote Control [A&M, 1979] C+
  • Outside Inside [Capitol, 1983] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Tubes [A&M, 1975]
If Blue Oyster Cult is hard-rock comedy, as I once claimed, then this is heavy-metal hysteria--without Buck Dharma, which is one of the jokes. So ugly it may be an earmark. So ugly it may be the American version of Genesis. B-

Young and Rich [A&M, 1976]
Since it's my instinct to detest this group, I was dismayed to catch myself chuckling at "Tubes World Tour," "Slipped My Disco," and even "Proud to Be an American." I was even more astonished to conclude that "Pimp" might be serious. Further investigation turned up no additional satisfactions, but revealed a movement away from Al Kooper's general parody of the hard and the heavy toward a more eclectic satirical style reminiscent of (they should be so funny) Stan Freberg. B-

Remote Control [A&M, 1979]
Their knack for songwriting always surprises me, because they deserve worse, and on this album they provide it, drenching their material in the grandiose harmonies and pomprock keyboard textures that thrive in the Midwest, where many poor souls still regard these transparent cynics as avatars of the new wave. You think maybe Patti Smith would do "No Mercy"? C+

Outside Inside [Capitol, 1983]
Encouraged by "a black friend" (Uncle Remus?) to "let this r&b music out," these soulful California cats did their professional best to simulate a Journey album. Well, all right, not quite--Journey's never sublimated misogyny into a hit single about sex emporiums, nor induced Maurice White to advocate cunt-lapping, nor essayed a Captain Beefheart imitation, nor risked an all-percussion extravaganza "inspired by Sandy Nelson," nor closed off with an ambiguous comment from a black friend that I hope will make Tubes fans wonder who's got the inside track in any racial crossover. C+