Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Paula Cole

  • This Fire [Imago/Warner Bros., 1996] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

This Fire [Imago/Warner Bros., 1996]
Before anyone knew she'd go platinum, netcrit Glenn McDonald presciently declared Cole the new queenpin of a female tradition he traced from Kate Bush through Peter Gabriel, Melissa Etheridge, and Sarah McLachlan. Although McDonald sanely declared this genre the obverse of male-identified metal, a skeptic with no tolerance for subpeaks in either would like to note that each is beholden to "classical" precepts of musical dexterity and genitalia-to-the-wall expression. Where Kate Bush overwhelms petty biases as inexorably as Led Zep, Cole is just a romantic egotist who can't resist turning ordinary human problems into three-act dramas. Kate Bush fans will love her. C+