Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Two Rooms -- Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin [Polydor, 1991]
Where most tribute albums hitch second-raters to the famous fans who've been sweet-talked into signing on, this superstar showcase aims to turn the tributees into de facto titans, minting much moolah in the process. Sinéad O'Connor was born to cover, and Rod Stewart is reborn for a day. But the material proves less than titanic--it's just plastic, inspiring or enabling Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, even the Beach Boys and the Who to construct simulacra of their better selves. As for Sting, Hall & Oates, Bruce Hornsby, Jon Bon Jovi, Wilson Phillips, Phil Collins, and even George Michael, they don't have better selves--they have accidents, none of which happen here. B-