Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Cucumbers

  • The Cucumbers [Fake Doom EP, 1983] A-
  • Who Betrays Me . . . and Other Happier Songs [Fake Doom, 1985] B+
  • The Cucumbers [Profile, 1987] A-
  • Where We Sleep Tonight [Zero Hour, 1994] ***
  • Total Vegitility [Home Office, 1999] Choice Cuts

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Cucumbers [Fake Doom EP, 1983]
"My Boyfriend" is a girl-group masterstroke for a feminist age. It revitalizes the notion of cute, and might actually hit if there were actual top forty anymore. In its way, so's "Susy's Getting Married," in which Deena Shoshkes panics at the thought of her girlfriend's desertion, defeat, or coming of age. In their way, so are the self-explanatory "Go Ahed and Do It" and "Snap Out of It." A-

Who Betrays Me . . . and Other Happier Songs [Fake Doom, 1985]
I used to assume they were just a good little band who'd latched onto a great little song, but while their new white-funk rhythms are superfluous and none of the tunes is "My Boyfrield," I'm beginning to think they could go national. Depends on how the world takes to Deena Shoshkes. She makes some sophisticates cringe, but the more I hear of her vivid sweetness the more sexy and unprecedented it seems. B+

The Cucumbers [Profile, 1987]
Shit-rockers will find this arch, flimsy, even (if they have the guts to come out with it) commercial, and in fact it's all three, and all three are virtues. Say the music's subtext is the vigor, intensity, even (thank you Horatio Alger) pluck that coexist with what few have the guts to label feminine weakness any more--that ingratiating flirtatiousness some women get over on. As for the texts, try holding babies, sharing showers, you don't own me, I love you madly anyway, and the best song ever written about gentrification or Hoboken. A-

Where We Sleep Tonight [Zero Hour, 1994]
almost a great pop marriage--ardent, troubled, in love with itself ("Make You Mine," "That Is That," "I Wish I Was") ***

Total Vegitility [Home Office, 1999]
"My Birthday" Choice Cuts