Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Rick Astley

  • Whenever You Need Somebody [RCA Victor, 1987] D+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Whenever You Need Somebody [RCA Victor, 1987]
Launching his career with seed money from Thatcher's Enterprise Allowance Scheme, Astley graduated from singer-bandleader to tape op and tea boy at Stock Aitken Waterman, where he ripened for a year before donning a full set of SAW hooks and emerging as beefcake juicier than Adam Faith, Marty Wilde, or Johnny Wadd ever dreamed. And that's according to the notes--it's the image he wants to project. Musically he's a throwback to such long-forgotten big-band singers manqué as Don Rondo, with more muscle and less sweetness or swing. Blame him on Northern Soul, its attraction to Afro-America finally revealed as I-am-somebody for nobodies with a master plan. D+