Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Smokey Robinson: A Quiet Storm [Tamla, 1975]
Only "Virgin Man," the most audacious and appropriate song he's written in years, kept Pure Smokey from drifting away. The title cut here announces Robinson's intention of distilling that drift into a style--rhythmically it seems to respond more to his internal state than to any merely physical criterion. Audacious in its way, and sexy, too, I guess, but he can't be my love man until he finds a beat. Which he does--not on the number-one soul hit "Baby That's Backatcha," but as the record is drawing to a close, on "Love Letters" and the coy "Coincidentally." B