Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Lene Lovich

  • Stateless [Stiff/Epic, 1979] A-
  • Flex [Stiff/Epic, 1980] B-
  • New Toy [Stiff/Epic EP, 1981] B+
  • No-Man's Land [Stiff/Epic, 1982] B
  • Shadows and Dust [The Stereo Society, 2005] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Stateless [Stiff/Epic, 1979]
It took me half a year to get through my head what an original Lovich is. Women who know how to say when, while not unheard of in rock, tend to come on macho--tough mamas with hearts (and heads) as soft as Papa Hemingway's. But Lovich's goofy energy doesn't distract her from her feelings or damage her sex appeal or conceal a mawkish underside. And although it took an outsider to define her in a ditty ("Say When," which isn't on the import), Lovich does provide her own love song, which has integers in it. A-

Flex [Stiff/Epic, 1980]
In the absence of a lucky hook or three, this universal expatriate is better off unhinged and pretentious (side two) than headed straight down the pop pipe (side one). Of course, in the absence of a lucky hook or three, so's Neil Diamond. Just wish I was sure the song about Joan of Arc was tongue-in-cheek. B-

New Toy [Stiff/Epic EP, 1981]
Songwise three for four and to those who carp that the track total is six, I say Les Chappell swings like Jerry Dammers himself on filler instrumental. Forget it, Jake--it's an EP. B+

No-Man's Land [Stiff/Epic, 1982]
Lovich hasn't so much gone Anglodisco as vice versa: she was swooping through postpunk well before the coming of the synthesizers, and she's no less goofy today. Nevertheless, she does sound less goofy, because she's surrounded by swoopers. Which doesn't make her secret privatism any easier to get to. B

Shadows and Dust [The Stereo Society, 2005] Dud