Ken Tucker

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 180

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"To the Limit" is Joan Armatrading's most satisfying album of folk-jazz musings because it's her most open, accessible work…. ["To the Limit" consists of] serene, quiet melodies that have the sprawl of folk music and the discursiveness of jazz…. (p. 55)

In "Taking My Baby Up Town," Armatrading revels in the sensual sensation of parading a conquest on her arm in just the same way she's seen men showing off women all her life. In "You Rope You Tie Me," she acknowledges her attraction—and passion—by castigating the loved one so obsessively. The constantly recurring phrase, "You get too jealous," is plainly the root of the couple's troubles, and the singer is intent on making clear what's driven her to bring the relationship to an end. (p. 55-6)

In dealing so specifically and spiritedly with her private concerns, Joan Armatrading has succeeded in making them matter to us. To the Limit is an apt title. (p. 56)

Ken Tucker, "Records: 'To the Limit'," in Rolling Stone (by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. © 1979; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Issue 284, February 8, 1979, pp. 55-6.

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