Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Deniece Williams

  • This Is Niecy [Columbia/ARC, 1982] B+
  • I'm So Proud [Columbia, 1983] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

This Is Niecy [Columbia/ARC, 1982]
Williams's exquisite clarity and thrilling range have always slotted her among the perfect angels for me, but there's a lot more to her work with Thom Bell, who finally challenges Burt Bacharach on his own turf, applying strings and woodwinds and amplifiers with a deft economy that textures rather than sweetens. And Williams's lyrics, while never startling, become increasingly personal as her professional confidence grows--she's wrinkling her brow more and her nose less. Dionne Warwick fans: welcome to the '80s. B+

I'm So Proud [Columbia, 1983]
Minnie Riperton she's not--really. Cameos from Johnny Mathis (body) and Philip Bailey (spirit) bring out the character in her pure, intense soprano, and "Love, Peace and Unity" mentions the "arms race" in a welcome moment of negativity. But Williams has progressed, as they say, from Thom Bell's pop romanticism to George Duke's cosmic idealism, and these fusion guys have never understood about songs. B