Colorado Springs Gazette
December 17, 1977
BETTE MIDLER: “Broken Blossom” (Atlantic) Bette Midler could have been a contender — she seems to have settled, as a recording artist at least, for being a mere pretender. On vinyl, her greatest talent is proving to be an ability to outstrip her own mediocrity.
Her first four albums were plagued by problems of material and inconsistent production: “Broken Blossom,” her fifth, uses Brooks Arthur (and Bones Howe, for one track) to solve the production problem, but the material is a mess. Aside from her duet with Tom Waits, “I Never Talk to Strangers,” and the Ronettes obscure “Paradise,” most of those songs are founded on a misapprehension of Midler’s performing strengths.
“La Vie En Rose” is boring, “Empty Bed Blues” a nice try but reveals an uttter lack of blues feeling, “Red” the most mediocre sort of hard-rock, and so forth. The pop songs are OK, but nothing here touches the best of “Streisand Superman,” for one instance.
If Midler could, perhaps, settle on one musical style per LP — let her scope reveal itself over the span of her work — she might have a fighting chance. As it is, I’d rather watch her on TV.