Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Wallflowers

  • The Wallflowers [Virgin, 1992] Dud
  • Bringing Down the Horse [Interscope, 1995] Neither
  • Breach [Interscope, 2000] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Wallflowers [Virgin, 1992] Dud

Bringing Down the Horse [Interscope, 1995] Neither

Breach [Interscope, 2000]
Don't envy Jakob Dylan his dilemma, but don't underestimate his privilege. He's no Julian Lennon, but he's also no Rufus Wainwright, and though he comes up with strong melodies, he's hardly a match for Ben Folds or Elliott Smith, both of whom frame their catchy stuff more idiosyncratically and neither of whom is terribly interesting even so. Dylan's lyrics competently explore the metaphor-laden broken-narrative mode his father invented and loosed on the world, just as his band concept does the flat-bottomed strophic folk-rock his father ditto. Nothing in his singing, his wordplay, or--a few lucky strikes aside--his tunecraft will tempt anyone who isn't stuck on his dad to parse those lyrics, to care what they mean. So he should praise the Lord for his cheekbones, which come from his mom. B-