Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Folksinger [Rhino, 1985] A-
  • I Enjoy Being a Girl [Island, 1989] B
  • Positively Phranc [Island, 1991] Choice Cuts

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Folksinger [Rhino, 1985]
You don't come back to a singer-songwriter w/guitar-and-harmonica for music no matter how winning her "Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll." You come back because you really like her. As a "life-loving" jock who can do without female mud-wrestling and people who crash handicapped parking spaces, Phranc is familiar enough as a general type. But little things like her name and her flattop set her off from the Olivia separatists, and so do big things, like her sweet sense of humor and her two-newspapers-a-day habit. After all, you can do without female mud wrestling and people who crash handicapped parking spaces yourself. A-

I Enjoy Being a Girl [Island, 1989]
The first uncloseted lesbian to bed down with a major label since Isis, and what does she come up with? The cover design of the year and an album so arch it crumbles without a proscenium. Not that she never gets away with it--the chamber-styled Toys R Us tribute and the praisesong to Martina that spells out her nation of origin are worth hearing even after you know the jokes. Moreover, the few "sincere" numbers disappear instantly. But any record that makes its most effective political statement on behalf of child-eating polar bears is resorting to weirdness as a protective device. B

Positively Phranc [Island, 1991]
"'64 Ford" Choice Cuts