Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Amy Allison

  • Sad Girl [Diesel Only, 2001] A-
  • No Frills Friend [Diesel Only, 2003] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Sad Girl [Diesel Only, 2001]
Mose's daughter grew up listening to Schoenberg on Long Island and sings with the piercing twang of a less urbane Victoria Williams. She writes what seem to be country songs with the same stylized simplicity her dad favors in blues, but the country part is just aura, a way to convince you the singer is as unsophisticated as you think her lyrics are until you think some more. Only the rowdy "Shadow of a Man" and the cheatin' "Sad State of Affairs" come equipped with Nashville markers. The rest are just well-turned songs of the heart. Two illustrate the title all too well, but the best make something of it, especially "One Thing in Mind," about what every mother tells every daughter men want, with consequences. A-

No Frills Friend [Diesel Only, 2003]
The Maudlin Years? Sad Girl? Here's where she gets really bereft. After declaring abject loneliness in the title tune--"If you want to take a walk downtown/I'd be happy just to move my legs around/We don't have to say a word, but then again/We could just make comments now and then"--she makes a principle of dashing her own hopes, song by song. The wanly jubilant "Baby, You're the One" leads directly to "What will we do when the money runs out?" "Don't String Me Along" generates "Say It Isn't So." "Dreaming's Killing Me," she knows it, only then it's "Thank God for the wine/That made me lose my mind" and also "loosened up his tongue." The finale is a love duet with her producer in which she proposes they "leave the world behind." It'll never work out. A-