Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Marshall Crenshaw is one of the endless line of "pop" geniuses who aren't very popular. Each of the three albums after his 1982 debut sold a little worse than the one before it, and although Crenshaw never lost his touch, each seemed more confused and depressed. Not Good Evening (Warner Bros.). Having given up on servicing the pop market outside, he's free to express the pop sensibility inside--still sweet and ecstatic, he mourns the romantic certainties of a bespectacled adolescence more knowingly with every year. Writing less and singing plenty, Crenshaw takes over songs by Richard Thompson (sarcastic), John Hiatt (lost), and Bobby Fuller (transcendent), with the sincere soul that always underpinned his harmonies now dominant. Chances are this one won't sell either--Warners quickly picked its worst and most "commercial" cut as the single, and it stiffed. But that's secondary--he'll be pop till he dies.

Playboy, July 1989

June 1989 Aug. 1989