Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Badfinger

  • No Dice [Apple, 1970] B
  • Straight Up [Apple, 1971] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

No Dice [Apple, 1970]
I don't think these guys imitate the Beatles just so Paul will give them more hits--they've got hits of their own. But from the guitar parts (play "Better Days" right after "I Feel Fine") and harmonies (the Paul of "I've Just Seen a Face" atop the Paul of "Long Tall Sally") to concept and lineup, an imitation is what this is, modernized slightly via some relaxed countrification. They write almost well enough to get away with it, too. But somehow the song that stands out is "Blodwyn," a simulated (I think) English folk ditty about a swain and a spoon that has nothing to do with the Fab Four at all. B

Straight Up [Apple, 1971]
Once again I'm forced to wonder whether I wouldn't like this record if it were by the Beatles. But without mentioning what the question says about the group, which is called Badfinger, the answer is that the Beatles couldn't have made this record. Except for "Day After Day" and "Perfection," not one of these unabashedly tuneful tunes has any magic to it, which isn't simply a matter of cautious tempos and harmonies--it's a matter of magic. Nor will any of them add any phrases verbal or musical to our common language, although they might keep a few in circulation. Also, the Beatles put nicer pictures on the cover--pictures of themselves. B-