The Joe Jackson Archive
Wonder what the critics have to say...

Record reviews 1986-1994

This page was last updated 15 Dec 2009. To send additions/corrections go to the contact page.


By the number of stars I try to give an idea how well the album (or single) was received by the reviewer:

 ***** = very positive
 **** = positive
 *** = lukewarm
 ** = negative
 * = very negative

* Quotes marked with a blue asterisk have been translated from foreign-language publications. If you would like to read these quotes in the original language (Dutch, German, Italian) please refer to this page.


Album "Night Music"

Q (UK) Nov 1994 (*****)

“A contender for album of 1994. For years running parallel careers as a pop songwriter and a soundtrack composer, Joe Jackson has fused the two here in a well-struck balance of focus and freedom.”

Stereo Review (US) Dec 1994 (*****)

“‘Night Music’ makes for absorbing listening.”

Stereoplay (DE) Nov 1994 (*****)

“This conglomerate of beautiful voices and lyrical, semiacoustic arrangements radiates a subtle magic.” *

Consumable (US) 30 Nov 1994 (*****)

“Joe has recorded an album that expands his horizons while meeting the high standards as a songwriter/composer that his fans have come to expect.”

WOM-Journal (DE) Nov 1994 (****)

San Francisco Chronicle (US) 16 Oct 1994 (***)

“An inconsistent album and an unsatisfying listening experience.”

Entertainment Weekly (US) 7 Oct 1994 (**)

“The harder he tries, the sillier it gets.”

All Music Guide (US) 1994? (*)

Night Music is an insufferable song cycle about writers' block. Jackson's lyrics are ponderous and elusive, his vocals are smug and self-important, and the unmemorable, low-key music is stiffly executed on a dry, lifeless synthesiser.”

Billboard (US) 1 Oct 1994

CD Review (US) Dec 1994

Time Out (UK) Oct 1994

Audio (DE) Nov 1994

Fachblatt Musik Magazin (DE) Oct 1994

HiFi-Vision (DE) Dec 1994

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) 27 Feb 1995

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) 8 Oct 1994

Video "Laughter & Lust Live"

Musik-Express/Sounds (DE) June 1992

Album "Laughter & Lust"

Hi-Fi News & Record Review (UK) July 1991 (*****)

“Jackson still knows how to turn out a good tune and a sharp lyric.”

Vox (UK) June 1991 (*****)

“There's no second guessing Joe Jackson. Just when it looks as if he's grown away from rock, more concerned with the complexities of jazz and big band forms, he comes out with an album of perfectly crafted pop songs.”

Stereo Review (US) Oct 1991 (****)

“Of the thirteen songs in the album, six are terrific and none a real clinker. In ‘Laughter & Lust’ Joe Jackson delivers quantity and quality.”

Rolling Stone (US) 30 May 1991 (****)

“A more polished version of some of Jackson's most memorable early work.”

Billboard (US) 11 May 1991 (****)

“Radio has been without suitable Jackson material for way too long. Welcome back.”

Ciao 2001 (IT) 7 May 1991 (****)

“Joe keeps on representing the most exclusive, artistic and ironic side of the old healthy new wave.” *

Q (UK) June 1991 (***)

“There's more drive and energy than he's exhibited in some while but, otherwise, the promise of his boundless ability remains unfulfilled by songs in which he seems cast as an eternal observer.”

People (US) 20 May 1991

Spin (US) June 1991

Fachblatt Musik Magazin (DE) May 1991

Prinz (DE) May 1991

Song "Obvious Song"

Billboard (US) 4 May 1991

Album "Stepping Out – The Very Best Of Joe Jackson"

Q (UK) Oct 1990 (****)

Melody Maker (UK) 15 Sep 1990

Album "Blaze Of Glory"

Q (UK) May 1989 (*****)

“This is the work of a mature songwriter who can take jazz, blues, classical and pop themes and blend them into something rich and highly original.”

Hi-Fi News & Record Review (UK) July 1989 (*****)

“A rich, colourful and very musical album, sweeter sounding than normal with more varied arrangements. Definitely worth buying.”

Rolling Stone (US) 18 May 1989 (*****)

East Coast Rocker (US) ??.1989 (****)

“A welcome disc for Jackson's hardcore fans, and a good introduction to his music for newcomers.”

Mucchio Selvaggio (IT) Oct 1989 (****)

“...one of the most intelligent musicians of this ending decade.” *

Velvet (IT) July/Aug 1989 (**)

“He seems to have lost the way, walking new paths...” *

Billboard (US) 22 July 1989

People (US) 12 June 1989

Melody Maker (UK) 6 May 1989

Spin (US) July 1989

Audio (DE) June 1989

Fachblatt Musik Magazin (DE) May 1989

HiFi-Vision (DE) July 1989

Musik-Express/Sounds (DE) May 1989

Stereo (DE) July 1989

Stereoplay (DE) June 1989

Time Out (UK) 26 April 1989

Single "Nineteen Forever"

Melody Maker (UK) 6 May 1989

Album "Tucker"

Q (UK) Sept 1988 (****)

“As soundtracks go ‘Tucker’ is definitely superior stuff ... a consistently good listen in its own right.”

HiFi-Vision (DE) Oct 1988

Album "Live 1980/86"

Hi-Fi News & Record Review (UK) July 1988 (*****)

“I find it difficult to be critical of this record. The music is his best, the performance is excellent, the recordings are very good for live ones. I suggest you buy it and listen for yourself.”

Ciao 2001 (IT) June 1988 (****)

“It's the bright proof of seven years of concerts between jazz and pop but always with some exploratory attitude.” *

Q (UK) June 1988 (***)

East Coast Rocker (US) ??.1989 (**)

Billboard (US) 14 May 1988

Melody Maker (UK) 30 April 1988

Audio (DE) Aug 1988

HiFi-Vision (DE) June 1988

Musik-Express/Sounds (DE) July 1988

Stereoplay (DE) July 1988

WOM-Journal (DE) June 1988

Album "Will Power"

Musik-Express/Sounds (DE) May 1987 (*****)

Stereo Review (US) Oct 1987 (****)

“Until you've heard it, the temptation is to view ‘Will Power’ as another of Joe Jackson's ‘statements’ – but it's a much greater achievement than that.”

Down Beat (US) Dec 1987 (***)

“With all the forces of a 50-piece ensemble behind him, I'm surprised that he didn't come up with something more interesting. These pieces are lacking in memorable melodies – usually a Jackson trademark. Nice try, though.”

Q (UK) April 1987 (***)

“Joe Jackson's career has been full of surprising twists, but ‘Will Power’ must be the sharpest so far. As a musician working out from the field of popular music, Jackson has strayed dangerously far.”

Digital Audio & Compact Disc Review (US) Aug 1987 (**)

Billboard (US) 2 May 1987

Melody Maker (UK) 18 April 1987

New Musical Express (UK) 25 April 1987

New York Times (US) 22 April 1987

Audio (DE) June 1987

HiFi-Vision (DE) June 1987

Stereo (DE) July 1987

Video "The Big World Sessions"

New York Times (US) 14 June 1987

Album "Big World"

Fare Musica (IT) July/Aug 1986 (*****)

“Big World is a masterpiece, an album that talks to you, not just music.” *

Rockstar (IT) July 1986 (*****)

“Great ‘street music’, teeming with images; ‘thinking’ music, educated but not intellectual. Certainly one of the few remarkable records in the present music market.” *

Ciao 2001 (IT) 11 April 1986 (****)

“A new and charming album, a great record.” *

Musician (US) June 1986 (****)

“What other male rocker would have himself portrayed as a balding Tintin on his own album cover? – Excepting Elvis, he's turned out to be the best thing England's new wave has washed upon these shores.”

Hi-Fi News & Record Review (UK) June 1986 (****)

Rolling Stone (US) 18 Dec 1986 (****)

Which Compact Disc? (UK) June 1986 (****)

High Fidelity (US) July 1986 (***)

Rolling Stone (US) 5 June 1986 (***)

Billboard (US) 5 April 1986

New Musical Express (UK) 12 April 1986

Newsweek (US) 26 May 1986

People (US) 26 May 1986

Stereo Review (US) Aug 1986

Audio (DE) May 1986

Musik-Express/Sounds (DE) May 1986

Stereo (DE) May 1986

Stereoplay (DE) May 1986

Lyric quote taken from "The Verdict”

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