Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Fine Young Cannibals

  • Fine Young Cannibals [I.R.S., 1985] B+
  • The Raw and the Cooked [I.R.S., 1989] A-
  • The Finest [London/MCA, 1996] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Fine Young Cannibals [I.R.S., 1985]
Andy Cox and David Steele aren't quite up to Beat-quality tunes or the post-Caribbean funk that might compensate, and some will find Roland Gift's Brit-soul strain affected. Me, I knew he was singing about something real long before I checked out the lyrics, which testify as does all too little black crossover these days to an ordinary life of hard choices--a lot harder than whether to believe that woman, which rest assured does enter into it. B+

The Raw and the Cooked [I.R.S., 1989]
All I can tell you about the content of these songs is that they seem to concern romantic love. That makes them pop. I can also tell you that I don't much care if I know what they're about or not. That makes them good pop. And add that since this is 1989, good pop doesn't mean melodies and hooks, though neither is overlooked. It means beats (most admittedly quite hooky) and vocal ID. A-

The Finest [London/MCA, 1996]
Classy of them never to overextend a thin concept, now conveniently distilled to an essence of smooth pop-soul hip and seasoned with intimations of conscience. MTV abusers please note: lean, light Roland Gift sounds as fine as he looks. A-