Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Rachel Sweet: Protect the Innocent [Stiff/Columbia, 1980]
Breasts barely budding beneath her rugby shirt on the back cover of Fool Around, she was a young sweet sixteen, but two years later she's no innocent--black leather jacket half unzipped, gauntleted hands over the face of her younger charge, she's seen one too many photos of Siouxsie Sioux. Only Siouxsie Sioux has a lousy voice--and Siouxsie Sioux knows what to do with it. A longtime pro if the truth be known, Sweet never quite connected as a new-wave ingenue, but there were nice tensions in the gaps. As a new-wave Linda Ronstadt--she covers Graham Parker, she covers Lou Reed, she covers the goddamn Damned--her only interesting song is one she wrote herself: "Tonight Ricky," about how they're finally going all the way. It seems like an old memory. C+