Buffy Sainte-Marie Janet Maslin - Essay

Janet Maslin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The two most unusual and ambitious cuts [on Moonshot are] "Moonshot" and "You Know How To Turn On Those Lights."… With an air of malevolent mockery that never quite descends into overt sarcasm, [Buffy] casts a baleful eye at space-age technology ("I know a boy from a tribe so primitive / He can call me up without no telephone") and at the smugness of a guy who knows "how to turn on those lights / Don't you, Baby? / You know every switch and every button in the house / Don't you, Baby?" The "Lights" song is more immediate and arresting, but "Moonshot" is the one to linger on, its production eerie and delicate enough to match the poetry and eloquence of Buffy's lyrics.

What's best about Moonshot is that, considering the kind of experimental stylistic departure it represents, it nonetheless bears such a strongly personal stamp. It shows off a do-it-yourselfery so much deeper than Buffy's mere writing, playing, co-producing, and belting out everything so deliberate and strong, that there can be no question where the real energy of her music is coming from, or of how integral and genuine that energy—whatever form she cares to try out next—will always be. (pp. 55-6)

Janet Maslin, "Records: 'Moonshot'," in Rolling Stone (by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. © 1972; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Issue III, June 22, 1972, pp. 55-6.