Smokey Robinson Richard Williams - Essay

Richard Williams

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["Let Me Be Your Clock" is] closely tied to Smokey's Sixties idiom. Cast in the beseeching slow-drag mould of "The Tracks Of My Tears" and "Swept For You Baby", it's firmly in the line of his metaphor songs: "Let me be the pendulum that strikes your chime / For the very first time" surely harks back to the era of "I'm holding you so tight / You know you could've been a handle" and "You're like a broom / I'm like dust in the room"….

The rest of ["Warm Thoughts"], his ninth solo album since leaving the Miracles in 1972, is typically spotty. There's a heavy-handed dance tune ("Heavy On Pride") …; there's a collaboration with Stevie Wonder ("Melody Man") ruined by impossibly twee words; there's a slushy Vegasy torch song ("What's In Your Life For Me"); there's the feature for his wife, Claudette ("Wine, Women & Song"); there's filler ("I Want To Be Your Love"); and there's the disastrous "Into Each Rain Some Life Must Fall", crippled by the cringe-in-ducing reversed metaphor of the title….

[Smokey's] long since lost the concentration necessary to produce an album of sustained merit. By this current standard, even 1974's "Pure Smokey" (on which he addressed the concerns of maturity) now seems like a triumph. Ah, well; fans like me should simply be grateful that he's still around at all.

Richard Williams, "Ticking Over," in Melody Maker (©IPC Business Press Ltd.), March 29, 1980, p. 24.