Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Pure Heroine [Lava/Republic, 2013] **
  • Melodrama [Lava/Republic, 2017] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Pure Heroine [Lava/Republic, 2013]
Her ambition's in the right place, but the reason she always co-writes is that 16-year-olds don't just crank out hits ("Royals," "Tennis") **

Melodrama [Lava/Republic, 2017]
Having achieved world renown as a 16-year-old innocent with a throaty voice, a head on her shoulders, and the nerve to dissent from a style of upward mobility invented by black people a pole away, she returns four years later as what else--a pop property with a sex life. Thus her chief musical collaborator is Taylor/Sia/Carly Rae helpmeet Jack Antonoff rather than New Zealand svengali Joel Little, and it's Antonoff plus the extra grain in her voice that make the difference here. For me, the most meaningful line is "Put my hands under your T-shirt," because it suggests someone who's thought about how this sex thing works. Deep, no. Real, in theory. Sex life, presumably. Pop property, absolutely. B+