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Lew Bundles

A well respected rock critic grades the Berries Lps...

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Kirk   

I may be a little biased, but I'd grade them:

1st album: A- Favorite cuts: Go All The Way, Come Around and See Me, Don't Want to Say Goodbye, I Can Remember.

Fresh: A- Favorite cuts: I Wanna Be With You, Let's Pretend, If You Change Your Mind, Drivin' Around.

Side 3: B+ Favorite cuts: Tonight, On the Beach, I'm a Rocker, Ecstacy.

Starting Over: A+ Favorite cuts: Every song except Hands on You.

Raspberries Best: A Favorite cuts: Great compilation and liner notes.

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LC   

Hard to respect a guy who tossed off these particular reviews  so half-heartedly. I know Robert Christgau is one of those pioneers in rock criticism, and he fancies himself "the dean of American rock critics." But in this case, he took the easy and trendy way out. He nagged Raspberries for the ballads, didn't give enough props for the powerful pop they were making, and generally didn't "get" the band.

It was reviews and reviewers like this who made sure Raspberries' first three albums were undersold. When the "cool" rock press  finally started appreciating the melodies, playing, and pure fun of Raspberries, per the Starting Over album, they sounded almost begrudging in their (faint) praise. Those '70s-era rock critics could not get out of their heads the wrongful stereotype that Raspberries thought they were the next Beatles. 

The grades Christgau doles out don't match his snarky criticisms of the first three albums. If you read the reviews without seeing his grades, you'd have guessed D-, C-, C, and B- (instead of C+, B-, B, and A-) for the four studio albums. Even the A- Christgau gave Raspberries Best came with this dismissive line: "...as if they ever came close to the Beatles' delicacy or insane enthusiasm or melodic inspiration." Talk about missing the point!

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susie b   

A lot of reviewers from that era got caught in their own self importance.

The whole corporatization of rock was disgusting although a part of the growing pains.

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