Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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SMOKEY ROBINSON
My World: The Definitive Collection
Motown/UME

Suave, clever soul man coined the term "quiet storm," mastered it too

Artistically--he's also been a record executive, not to mention a husband and father--there have been two Smokey Robinsons. What we learn from this misbegotten single-disc overview is that the leader of the Miracles and the solo lothario who created "quiet storm" R&B are very different. The bright, archy, forthright Motown pop of the former is pure greatness and almost justifies both discs of Ooo Baby Baby: The Anthology. But toward the end, the Miracles wandered into slow grooves better encapsulated on the solo Smokey's edition of 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection. Beginning with a couple of overwrought new songs, this product muddles the two--even a straight chronology would be a sequencing improvement. Definitively not the introduction Robinson deserves.

Blender, July 2005