Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Jeffrey Osborne

  • Don't Stop [A&M, 1985] B+
  • Emotional [A&M, 1986] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Don't Stop [A&M, 1985]
Osborne proves that the secularization of black pop needn't mean the end of a great vocal tradition, only of its church roots, and he doesn't sing as if he learned how at Performing Arts, either. Instead he sounds like what he is--a son of the most uncompromised black secular music, funk. The slightly herky-jerk bent of his phrasing and pronunciation is geared to the rhythm, and when he bears down into a ballad he sounds fresher than more conventionally soulful singers. Of course, he also sounds stranger if you're not prepared, which is why the uninitiated will take more readily to the somewhat stronger material on Stay With Me Tonight. Me, I just got the message, and I've been playing both. B+

Emotional [A&M, 1986]
I'm trying to figure out what it means to say I kind of like this record, a big-budget multiproducer job of the sort suddenly standard in crossoverland. It's not just that I'm impressed with all the heavy equipment, from Osborne's dolomite voice to the usual phalanx of hitmen turning out materiel. I respond--that's one thing kind of liking it means. And though the response feels synthetic, it's not unreal. Which is just what I'd say of the emotions on display, from be-mine to Soweto-must-be-free. B