Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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En Vogue

  • Born to Sing [EastWest, 1990] Neither
  • Funky Divas [EastWest, 1992] ***
  • Runaway Love [EastWest EP, 1993] A-
  • EV3 [EastWest, 1997] B-
  • Best of En Vogue [EastWest, 1999] B+
  • Masterpiece Theatre [EastWest, 2000] Neither

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Born to Sing [EastWest, 1990] Neither

Funky Divas [EastWest, 1992]
three years after the audition, they still don't cohere enough to let the songs quit ("My Lovin' [You're Never Gonna Get It]," "Giving Him Something He Can Feel," "Free Your Mind") ***

Runaway Love [EastWest EP, 1993]
As a mere admirer of Funky Divas, I prefer this stopgap EP's techno "What Is Love," rap "Hip Hop Lover," and dancehall "Desire." Qua song, "Runaway Love" cuts any of them. And Salt-n-Pepa's "Whatta Man" is the second catchiest and first funkiest thing they've ever put their larynxes on. Backup singing may not be their vocation, but they can always pay the bills with it. A-

EV3 [EastWest, 1997]
Sylvia Rhone isn't going to pull the plug on her copyright just because Dawn Robinson has decided she's the reason for her own success. So with yeomanlike help from Babyface, the label has laboriously extracted a hit and some platinum from Rhone's three remaining charges as they strain for soul and funk as stagily and dutifully as the fabricated bevy of talent-hunt beauties they've always been. Sole exception: the Robinson-led Set It Off smash "Don't Let Go (Love)." There's a lesson in that, right? Only what will that lesson be when Robinson's debut does the dog? B-

Best of En Vogue [EastWest, 1999]
By way of the crass product advisory they deserve, let it be recorded that 1992's Funky Divas captures their cultural moment and this one beats it song for song, including mild pleasantries from their undistinguished debut and adieu. Say ciao to the queens of air-kiss soul. B+

Masterpiece Theatre [EastWest, 2000] Neither