Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Victoria Williams

  • Happy Come Home [Geffen, 1987] B+
  • Swing the Statue! [Rough Trade, 1990] Choice Cuts
  • Loose [Mammoth, 1994] A-
  • Musings of a Creekdipper [Atlantic, 1998] A-
  • Water to Drink [Atlantic, 2000] Neither
  • Sings Some Ol' Songs [Dualtone, 2002] Dud

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Happy Come Home [Geffen, 1987]
Sui generis it may be, yet in a great semipopular tradition: oddball folkie meets El Lay, represented by her coproducers born-again Steven Soles and bicoastal Anton Fier, as well as venerable oddball Van Dyke Parks, whose string arrangements prove him her soul brother. Her roots are in Cajunland, so naturally she sings like a cross between Dolly Parton and Yoko Ono. If you fear art damage, I cannot tell a lie, so maybe you'll believe me when I add that it's tolerable. Shoes, Jesus, merry-go-rounds, and animals--lots of animals. Hirth Martinez would be proud. B+

Swing the Statue! [Rough Trade, 1990]
"Summer of Drugs" Choice Cuts

Loose [Mammoth, 1994]
Whimsy's not a pose or an aesthetic decision with this woman, it's who she is, and there's no use blaming her for it. Instead, gauge how far you can tolerate her quirks and proceed accordingly, because she's finally transformed her folksy positivism into a worldview worthy of her talent--or maybe honed her talent into a winning vehicle for her worldview. Either way I suspect the reason is less that she's seen the flip side of eternity than that she can no longer doubt how many people love her. It's a responsibility, that much affection--makes you track down those inspirations, finish those songs, get up and go to the studio no matter how scared you are. Makes you not just love back but say why. A-

Musings of a Creekdipper [Atlantic, 1998]
There's eccentric and then there's loopy, and this fragile, well-named follow-up is loopy; Loose could be a Peter Asher record by comparison. Williams ruminates around with trap washes and a tentative piano fanfare before delivering a discursive, indirect opener, and is moved to recollect the entrancing "Kashmir's Corn" before settling into more declarative material, as in: "I'd like to take this time to complain about the train!" Give it time and you could fall hard. I swear, bucolic dreamers aren't my cup of branch water either. A-

Water to Drink [Atlantic, 2000] Neither

Sings Some Ol' Songs [Dualtone, 2002] Dud