Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Cameo

  • Cameosis [Chocolate City, 1980] C
  • Feel Me [Chocolate City, 1980] B-
  • Alligator Woman [Chocolate City, 1982] B
  • Style [Atlanta Artists, 1983] B+
  • Word Up [Atlanta Artists, 1986] B
  • The Best of Cameo [Mercury, 1993] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Cameosis [Chocolate City, 1980]
"Shake your pants, I like the way they dance/Shake your pants for action and romance," goes the biggest hit on their biggest album, which gets these disco-funk careerists' thematic daring just right. I'm waiting for the follow-up: "Shake your ass, I like its heft and mass/Shake your ass, oh no, that sounds too crass." C

Feel Me [Chocolate City, 1980]
Incredibly, or do I mean accidentally, their sixth album in four years on the production line is a discernible improvement, and not because the hits (or lyric sheet) are necessary. It's all groove and sound: drummer/leader shows off like bosses do, Moog man's old-fashioned Walter Carlos gurgles fit da funk like they ruined der Bach, and the slow ones are down to two, one a bow to the Spinners. B-

Alligator Woman [Chocolate City, 1982]
Funkateers think this is "new wave" not just because the title hit sounds like the B-52's but because secret virtuoso Larry Blackmon keeps the groove stripped down and off balance. Unfortunately, the hooks are few, the humor is forced, and the ballads suck. For theoreticians mostly. B

Style [Atlanta Artists, 1983]
It never peaks, which means it'll never be as hot a party record as the A side of Alligator Woman, but this on-the-one cartoon (cf. Slave's Showtime) is an all-round showcase for syndrum natural Larry Blackmon, funk's most underutilized resource. Keyb man Charles Singleton does smart stuff with the slow stuff by covering "Can't Help Falling in Love" and making something of the atmospheric "Interlude (Serenity)." Maybe next time they'll only abandon their God-given tempo to sex it up heavy like on "Slow Movin'." B+

Word Up [Atlanta Artists, 1986]
Larry Blackmon's a funny drummer, and I wouldn't say albums are something he just gets away with. But Vince Aletti named his column "The Single Life" after Blackmon's last significant effort for a reason. So buy the twelve-inch. And if you want more, wait for the best-of his current masterpiece makes inevitable. B

The Best of Cameo [Mercury, 1993]
not funny enough ("Word Up," "Single Life") *