Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Blue Magic

  • Blue Magic [Atco, 1974] B+
  • The Magic of the Blue [Atco, 1974] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Blue Magic [Atco, 1974]
The best Stylistics album since Round Two is a Philly Phormalist's delight. Produced by Gamble-Huff veteran Norman Harris, it features the velvety falsetto of Ted White and four hit singles (only one of which, the Tod Browning tribute "Sideshow," has broken pop). What's more, the filler includes a seven-minute "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely" that helps me understand why Ronnie Dyson and the Main Ingredient both cut the song, though not why anybody bought it when they did. B+

The Magic of the Blue [Atco, 1974]
I've never been able to go all the way with groups that specialize in repressed-backbeat falsetto ballads. The few I've liked--only the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics for more than one song at a time--barely redeemed their simpiness by sounding sincere, or do I mean dumb, and in the wake of an inspired debut these hotshots just don't. Instant professionalism, I guess, combined with the usual song fatigue. Recommended only to those who want to know what the Stylistics will sound like after Russell Thompkins gets his B.A. and learns to sing like a sane, responsible adult. C+

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]