Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Verve Pipe

  • Villains [RCA, 1996] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Villains [RCA, 1996]
Although bands like this still offend idealists, you can't call them pseudoalternative anymore, because they don't bother pretending. They're just rockers who crash the album chart, where the money is, from the singles chart, where they're supposedly no longer welcome--in other words, pop bands who can play their axes. There's San Francisco's gold-certified Third Eye Blind, whose little sex kinks are too catchy to get het up about. There's Orlando's double-platinum Matchbox 20, whose breakthrough hit some mistakenly (as is always claimed) believe promotes spousal abuse. But the one I really can't stand is this near-pseudoalternative one, grown men from Michigan who released two indie albums before their major-label debut catapulted to platinum on a soggy prowoman morality tale aimed at frat rats, who are urged not to drive girls to suicide by dumping them. When Brian Vander Ark finally emotes the chorus, it's like, I dunno, grunge lives. C