Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Waitresses

  • Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? [Polydor, 1982] B+
  • I Could Rule the World if I Could Only Get the Parts [Polydor EP, 1982] A-
  • Bruiseology [Polydor, 1983] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? [Polydor, 1982]
You know what kind of waitress Patty Donahue is--the kind who's waiting to break into the arts. A little scatterbrained, maybe, but she can use "alarmist" and "plotted" in declarative sentences. Not only is she believable, she's full of insight--only the Springsteenian "Heat Night" fails completely, and to make up there's the anti-Springsteenian "It's My Car." But only "No Guilt" is the tour de force that any man who sets out to create feminist rock and roll had better go for every time out, which may be because Chris Butler never asked all those women he interviewed what kind of music they liked. B+

I Could Rule the World if I Could Only Get the Parts [Polydor EP, 1982]
The words still overcomplicate the music--the smartest person I know indeed. But even the title tune, written for Tin Huey, has pop momentum. Add the Xmas carol for singles (I say she was shopping at the Bleecker Street Gristedes') and the lucky TV theme (in which Chris Butler shows off his high school memories, or maybe his ethnographies), and the male-feminist Monkees reveal themselves as a cross between Blondie and the Bus Boys. And Tin Huey. A-

Bruiseology [Polydor, 1983]
Instead of cutting back on verbiage, Chris Butler solves his clutter problem by revving the music up so high it blares over its own complexity. The result isn't something you'll listen to all the time, but for most of us the same can be said to Ornette Coleman and the Sex Pistols. And if Butler's thematic concerns aren't universal enough to merit such heady company, his grasp of specifics won't be denied. B+