21 items by Tom Carson

  • Autoamerican

    Autoamerican | ALBUM REVIEW

    Blondie's Autoamerican is a terrible album, but it's bad in such an arcane, high-toned way that listening to it is perversely fascinating. After Parallel Lines gave Chris Stein a carte blanche, it was only a matter of...

    February 20, 1985 12:00 AM ET
  • The Blue Mask

    The Blue Mask | ALBUM REVIEW

    Lou Reed's the Blue Mask is a great record, and its genius is at once so simple and unusual that the only appropriate reaction is wonder. Who expected anything like this from Reed at this late stage...

    April 15, 1982 12:00 AM ET
  • Higher Plane

    Higher Plane | ALBUM REVIEW

    In his unequaled string of Seventies hits, Al Green effortlessly invested his sexuality with a spiritual dimension that he made sound perfectly appropriate. Now, in his new incarnation as a preacher, he comes close — just as...

    March 18, 1982 12:00 AM ET
  • Face Dances

    Face Dances | ALBUM REVIEW

    The cover looks sort of like the Rolling Stones' Emotional Rescue and even the title feels slightly off. Not that the...

    May 14, 1981 2:05 PM ET
  • Bad Reputation

    Bad Reputation | ALBUM REVIEW

    Of the Runaways, Joan Jett was the true rocker, instinctively realizing rock & roll's opportunities for pleasure, violence and triumph. But her identity was obscured by singer Cherie Currie's starlet moves, producer-manager Kim Fowley's sleaze-sisters hype and...

    April 30, 1981 12:00 AM ET
  • Common One

    Common One | ALBUM REVIEW

    Van Morrison has an extraordinary knack for inventing brick walls to butt his head against, whereas anybody else would just walk right through. If an explanation were asked for, Morrison, resting between blows, would most likely answer:...

    October 30, 1980 12:00 AM ET
  • Reach for the Sky

    Reach for the Sky | ALBUM REVIEW

    Any chance that Southern-style rock & roll had of becoming the dominant sound of the last decade disappeared when its two best bands were all but destroyed. The Allman Brothers played out their string through deaths in...

    October 16, 1980 12:00 AM ET
  • Get Happy!!

    Get Happy!! | ALBUM REVIEW

    A monstrously intricate set of miniature epics about political violence and commitment, fascism and fashion, dialectics and ambiguity, Elvis Costello's Armed Forces (1979) was still a gorgeously seductive piece of high-style pop. Now Costello has made a...

    April 17, 1980 12:00 AM ET
  • London Calling

    London Calling | ALBUM REVIEW

    By now, our expectations of the Clash might seem to have become inflated beyond any possibility of fulfillment. It's not simply that they're the greatest rock & roll band in the world — indeed, after years of...

    April 3, 1980 12:00 AM ET
  • Wave


    Patti Smith possesses some qualities that are fast disappearing from most American rock & roll: passion, flamboyance, a sense of the epic, a belief in the music itself as a revolutionary force. As a moony high priestess...

    June 28, 1979 12:00 AM ET
  • Outlandos D'Amour

    Outlandos D'Amour | ALBUM REVIEW

    On the Police's debut album, Outlandos d'Amour, lead vocalist/bassist Sting sings in a sleight-of-hand variety of styles: there's a high-pitched quaver reminiscent of Ray Davies on the love songs, some Jamaican patois trotted out for the reggae...

    June 14, 1979 12:00 AM ET
  • The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle

    The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle | ALBUM REVIEW

    "Follow me!" Johnny Rotten screams at the climax of the stunning live version of "Anarchy in the U.K." included on The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. It's an exalted, spine-chilling challenge that brings back all the awe...

    May 31, 1979 12:00 AM ET
  • From The Inside

    From The Inside | ALBUM REVIEW

    If anyone could pull off a concept album about life in a sanitarium, it's Alice Cooper, the man who turned dead-baby jokes into high-school national anthems and made a whole career of exactly the kind of comic...

    February 8, 1979 12:00 AM ET
  • Live Bootleg

    Live Bootleg | ALBUM REVIEW

    With the passage of time, even the truly monstrous becomes bearable, maybe even enjoyable in a perverse sort of way. On their first record in 1973 Aerosmith came on like a really dumb heavy-metal band with borrowed...

    January 25, 1979 12:00 AM ET
  • Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo

    Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo | ALBUM REVIEW

    What's Most Impressive about Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! is its authority: Devo presents their dissociated, chillingly cerebral music as a definitive restatement of rock & roll's aims and boundaries in the Seventies....

    November 30, 1978 12:00 AM ET
  • Stage

    Stage | ALBUM REVIEW

    Though Stage was obviously put together for purely commercial reasons — to regain for the Thin White Duke the audience he's lost since becoming the Thin White Computer — it's a curiously uncompromising album. With the exception...

    November 30, 1978 12:00 AM ET
  • M.I.U. Album

    M.I.U. Album | ALBUM REVIEW

    M.I.U. Album completes a kind of informal trilogy for the Beach Boys — a cycle begun by Brian Wilson's widely ballyhooed, confusing and ultimately some-what botched return to an active role inside the group with 15 Big...

    November 16, 1978 12:00 AM ET
  • Heartbreaker

    Heartbreaker | ALBUM REVIEW

    In the year since Dolly Parton's widely publicized crossover from the country genre to the MOR mainstream, the quality of her music has gone dramatically downhill while her fame vaults toward the tinsel regions of instant media...

    October 19, 1978 12:00 AM ET
  • You're Gonna Get It!

    You're Gonna Get It! | ALBUM REVIEW

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released last year, was a debut album that declared almost nothing, but intimated all over the place. The music was intricate and deft, with spooky hints of everyone from J.J. Cale to...

    September 7, 1978 12:00 AM ET
  • Before and After Science

    Before and After Science | ALBUM REVIEW

    Before and After Science is being touted as Brian Eno's most commercial album, and with some reason: it's a graceful, seductively melodic work, and side one even kicks off with a neat little disco riff. But this...

    May 18, 1978 12:00 AM ET