Jon Pareles

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 178

Ah, the truth is revealed. These past few years, I, deceived like so many others, believed Kristofferson was a good-turning-mediocre songwriter who hated critics for reasons you'd expect. They'd keep pointing out his sloppy lyrics …, his repeated tunes, his Dylan cops …, his homogenized production. They'd even neglect decent songs like "The Golden Idol" in the rush to proclaim his wasted potential. Surreal Thing's long-rumored revenge number, "Eddie The Eunuch," dedicated to critics, tries to reinforce this mistaken impression with sexual cheap-shots and downright lies….

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The fact is that Kristofferson is actually jealous because he longs to join the critical ranks. He makes his first attempt in "If You Don't Like Hank Williams," and—I hate to be the one to say this, Kris old buddy—sentences like "Hearin' Joni Mitchell is as good as smokin' grass" just aren't up to the high editorial standards of today's rock rags. Better brush up on the songwriting.

Jon Pareles, in his review of "Surreal Thing," in Crawdaddy (copyright © 1976 by Crawdaddy Publishing Co., Inc.; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), October, 1976, p. 80.

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