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What's Wrong with This Picture?
Andrew Gold

Asylum 7E-1086
Released: April 1977
Chart Peak: #95
Weeks Charted: 16

Andrew GoldAndrew Gold's second album is a disappointment. His debut record, Andrew Gold, released a little over a year ago, bristled with fast, smart pop songs and confirmed the promise and intelligence of his lead guitar work on Linda Ronstadt's recent records. The music on What's Wrong, however, is slack and often tedious, its lyrics fatuous. Gold Seems to have fallen into the same trap that has recently ensnared Ronstadt: the notion that to be taken seriously as a performer one must sing "serious" (i.e., slow) songs. Thus he concocts romantic twitterings like "Firefly," "Lonely Boy" and "One of Them Is Me" which smack of insincerity and make evident a dearth of inspiration.

Andrew Gold - What's Wrong With This Picture
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Gold's guitar playing remains commanding and, on "Go Back Home Again," inventive and moving. But the weakness of the material (which, except for lumpy covers of "Do Wah Diddy" and "Stay," is original) calls attention to Gold's inability to convey sufficient character range and expression with his voice. This flaw was obscured on his first album by the disarming peppiness of his attack and the excellence of songs like "That's Why I Love You" and "A Note from You." There is no tune on What's Wrong with This Picture equal to either of those.

- Ken Tucker, Rolling Stone, 3/10/77.

Bonus Reviews!

It might be going a bit far to say that without Andrew Gold there wouldn't be much happening on Linda Ronstadt's records, but the superb band Gold leads and the arrangements he's cooked up for her have certainly been major factors in her success. As a solo artist, unfortunately, he leaves a lot to be desired. His voice is serviceable enough (it's improving, too -- he sounds much more convincing here than he did on his first solo set), and his guitar playing, when it's on, remains absolutely breathtaking. The problem is that, for all the mid-Sixties English influences on his songwriting, he hasn't much of a knack for melody, and his albums are pretty bland as a result.

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The only noteworthy things here, in fact, are oldies rearranged in the manner of his work with Linda on "You're No Good" and "Heatwave." The old Manfred Mann chestnut "Do Wah Diddy" comes off best, with a tremendous increase in energy compared to the original, but the reggae approach he gives to "Stay"manages to catch fire only in a too-brief guitar/handclap break. The rest of his own stuff is the usual L.A. country-rock, at least as dispensable as anything churned out in the Asylum stable of Hollywood cowboys. Someday, this fella is going to make one hell of a rock-and-roll album, but What's Wrong with This Picture? simply isn't it.

- Steve Simels, Stereo Review, 5/77.

Well, let's see, a quick survey of the relevant ones: guitar plugged into telephone, forty-five on tape deck, calendar opened to November 31, copy of People with Gold on the cover, and this record, with its borrowed life -- anyone can make "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" sound OK -- and authentic self-pity. Big insight: On "Lonely Boy," the source of L.A. weltschmerz is revealed to be siblings. C-

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

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