Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Natalie Cole

  • Inseparable [Capitol, 1975] B
  • Natalie [Capitol, 1976] C+
  • Thankful [Capitol, 1977] B-
  • Unforgettable [Elektra, 1991] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Inseparable [Capitol, 1975]
In which the daughter of the first king of crossover pop aspires to the grandeur of Lady Soul, with results that are more Chaka than Aretha and betray a soupçon and a half of Nancy Wilson. So where's Natalie? Serving her masters, ex-Independents Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy. B

Natalie [Capitol, 1976]
I believe good singers (which Cole is) ought to sing good songs. Of these, only "Good Morning Heartache," already defined and altered by two noteworthy predecessors, and "Can We Get Together Again," which sounds suspiciously like "This Will Be," distinguish themselves. I also believe that if your producers get to write all your material, they ought to at least provide a Sound, not the feckless eclecticism here displayed. C+

Thankful [Capitol, 1977]
Musically, her best. She moves from style to style with passion and ease, and her svengalis are writing more crisply. But I begin to muse about Herbert Marcuse when I hear the famous daughter of a wealthy singing star belt the following Inspirational Verse: "Workin two jobs to make your livin and all you do is complain well . . . You should be thankful for what you got." Docked a notch or two for oppressive ideology. B-

Unforgettable [Elektra, 1991] Dud