Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Soft Cell

  • Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret [Sire, 1981] B+
  • The Art of Falling Apart [Sire, 1983] B-
  • Cruelty Without Beauty [Cooking Vinyl/SpinArt, 2002] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret [Sire, 1981]
I've always found "Tainted Love" catchy-annoying rather than catchy-seductive, but these takeoffs on Clubland "decadence" get at the emotion underneath with just the right admixture of camp cynicism. Now you feel it, now you don't. B+

The Art of Falling Apart [Sire, 1983]
Marc Almond's compassionately bitchy exposÚs of bedsitter hedonism and suburban futility risk bathos when they eschew burlesque. I'm sure his faithless U.S. audience would find the non-LP B side "It's a Mugs Game," in which Marc pukes on his shoes, more edifying than the mock?-tragic "Baby Doll" or a bedhopper's lament like "Numbers." And David Ball's synthesized Hendrix on the bonus twelve-inch isn't funny enough to compensate. B-

Cruelty Without Beauty [Cooking Vinyl/SpinArt, 2002] Dud