Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Peter Gordon

  • Innocent [FM, 1986] B+
  • Brooklyn [FM, 1987] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Innocent [FM, 1986]
Gordon's affectless downtown tone sticks in my craw even though I've learned to have fun with it in other versions. But at least his new mewzick isn't deliberately cheesy. It's kitsch, but it's not cheap kitsch, not factitious so-bad-it's-good; in another time, snobs might have branded it middlebrow, meaning dolts like you and me think it has substance. As a here-disco there-jazz everywhere-semiavant soundtrack to life in media central, kind of fun--though more resistant than fun, or mood music, should ever be. B+

Brooklyn [FM, 1987]
On side two he's up to his usual tricks if not regressing a bit--first three cuts no better than the schlocky instrumental disco-rock they postmodernize, last cut no better than the pretty kora exotica it exploits (which if you're following means it's literally pretty--very, in fact). But side one, how about that, has real words--which are, it took me months to accept this, evocative ("Brooklyn"), romantic ("'Til We Drop"), and funny ("Red Meat"). In an oblique way, but Gordon's problem isn't that he's oblique, it's that he's too oblique. The right dose of oblique can be tonic in this crash-boom world. B+