Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Billy Ocean

  • Suddenly [Jive, 1984] C+
  • Greatest Hits [Arista, 1989] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Suddenly [Jive, 1984]
Jimmy Cliff he ain't, and Jimmy Cliff ain't all that much. But platinum-plus he is, and it's my considered guess that we'll be hearing more lilting, faintly West Indian tenors, the closest England comes to soul. C+

Greatest Hits [Arista, 1989]
All second-rate soul singers are creatures of their arrangements; what makes it harder to pin Billy down is that these days a lot of first-rate soul singers are also creatures of their arrangements. "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going" and "Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car" not only hold the record for the most uses of a verb other than "love" in a great hit and its de facto follow-up, they're also a great hit and its de facto follow-up. Many other fast ones are quite OK. One of the "newly recorded hit singles" utilizes the Fresh Prince. Second-rate soul singers have to keep up with the times. B