Kris Kristofferson Colin Irwin - Essay

Colin Irwin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

This album ["Spooky Lady's Sideshow"] is one of depressing dullness. I always thought Leonard Cohen took the prize for monotonous vocals and James Taylor for pretentious word games, but K.K. reaches a new low in dismal music. He established his reputation basically on one good song ("Me And Bobbie McGee") and apart from looking pretty and turning on house-wives with his gruff voice, he's never done anything of comparable quality. A hip Johnny Cash, he wallows in romanticism and highbrow philosophy which is at best plain uninteresting and at worst pretentious and patronising. He uses clever phrases and grand words, but doesn't come out of it at all convincing while the treatment of the songs follows a predictable uninspiring pattern…. There's a plentiful supply of superficial "heavy" lyrics which are little more than an irritating bore. Then there's "Same Old Song", which is a tedious reflection on the struggle to the top—party girls, cheap hotels, good-time band and the "I don't regret a bit of it" anthem. Horrible. At least that evoked some sort of positive reaction, which is more than can be said for most of the rest of the material on this album. "Rescue Mission", a tale of the sea, is the only track with any real substance, and even then it's spoiled by dirge-like vocals. "Do I look like a loser?" he asks in "Rock and Roll Time." Quite frankly, on this showing, Kris—yes.

Colin Irwin, in his review of "Spooky Lady's Sideshow," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), July 6, 1974, p. 46.∗