Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Helen Reddy: Helen Reddy [Capitol, 1971]
Reddy just sings words and melody instead of dramatizing them. She prefers songs to musical doggerel (a special weakness of Judy's) and hints at jazz intonation and timing rather than trying to sound pristine (like Joanie). Although she still sounds a little awkward rocking out, the forceful, uncluttered arrangements here recapitulate the virtues of her vocal attack, and the lyrics are intelligent and outspoken. Including: a scathing death-of-a-cocksman song that Carole King somehow left off Music, a John Lennon autotherapy that sounds inquisitive instead of foolish, and a frolicsome sisterhood ditty that she wrote herself. A-