Laura Nyro Rex Reed - Essay

Rex Reed

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Laura Nyro is probably the most important performer the current stream of pop music has produced. She is a wonderful singer, thoughtful and sensitive, and possessed by demons that drive her well beyond the call of artistic duty. She makes poetry out of the squalor she sees around her, she knows about love in a way that is older than her years, and she is on intimate terms with the blues. All this internal sadness, understanding, and demonic energy she weaves into a unique musical form that at first seems bizarre (Where's the melody?, you ask) but with familiarity becomes personal, thrilling, even awesome to hear. She is well ahead of the times musically, and she cannot be imitated. When another artist performs Nyro's songs he must re-define them and adjust them to his own skills….

Nyro has matured tremendously with ["New York Tendaberry"]. Though her diction is still unclear enough that you need the enclosed lyrics to best appreciate her heart-piercing imagery, it is easy to see the emergence of a personal musical pattern that demands serious recognition. She is by far, in my estimation, the singer who has done the most to raise pop music to the level of serious art. (p. 87)

Rex Reed, "Laura Nyro's 'New York Tendaberry'," in Stereo Review (copyright © 1970 by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company), Vol. 24, No. 2, February, 1970, pp. 86-7.