Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Shades of Purple [Atlantic, 2000] A-
  • The Big Room [Atlantic, 2002] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Shades of Purple [Atlantic, 2000]
Believe it or not, there are three impossibly touching songs on this record, all at least cocomposed by 15-year-old Norwegian Marion Raven. "Don't Say You Love Me," a minor hit from the Pokémon soundtrack, sets the standard. He's "cute and all that," but she's not ready to get kissed or, for that matter, hear he loves her--after all, "It's not like we're gonna get married." Conceivably "Girl in Your Dreams," which is all Raven's--"Maybe I don't have the blonde hair you like/Or maybe I don't have eyes like the sky"--gets me because my daughter's a brunette, or maybe it's the way the melody meshes with the childish, just barely presexual burr in Raven's voice. And when "Don't Mess With My Love" takes her and 16-year-old Marit Larsen to where they have a love to defend, it's as if they've grown up right in front of your ears. But even when the writing is ordinary, the quality teenpop, some assembly-line and some personalized, is transfigured by the duo's singing. If the result isn't brazen or fizzy enough to suit the marketplace, then nuts to the marketplace. This is the kind of left-field gift crazes make possible. A-

The Big Room [Atlantic, 2002] Dud