Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Carole King: Tapestry [Ode, 1971]
Pacific rock, sure, but with a sharpness worthy of a Brooklyn girl--if there's a truer song about breaking up than "It's Too Late," the world (or at least AM radio) isn't ready for it. Not that lyrics are the point on an album whose title cut compares life to a you-know-what--the point is a woman singing. King has done for the female voice what countless singer-composers achieved years ago for the male: liberated it from technical decorum. She insists on being heard as she is--not raunchy and hot-to-trot or sweet and be-yoo-ti-ful, just human, with all the cracks and imperfections that implies. And for the first time she has found the music--not just the melodies, but the studio support--to put her point across as cleanly and subtly as it deserves. A-