Singer-guitarist Christopher Cross has a lot going for him. A new album. A hit single. An upcoming tour with Fleetwood Mac. There's just one problem. He doesn't have a style of music he can call his own.
Last night at the Bayou, before a sellout crowd, Chris Cross zigzagged his way through a veritable maze of pop idioms. At times, he and his fivepiece backup group sounded like foppish folk-rockers, while at others they resembled nothing more than Doobie Brothers clones. He added watered-down Beach Boy harmonies, a touch of blue-eyed soul and ripped out (and ripped off) guitar solos from a host of rock instrumentalists.
It wasn't that Christopher Cross was "bad." If anything, he presented note-perfect versions of his recorded material. After a while, however, his homogenized blend of songs began to sound the same. He didn't borrow styles, he absorbed them and jumbled them together into an undistinguished pop glop.
Many pop performers have been known to pilfer the ideas of others. But in this case, there is the nagging notion that derivation springs from laziness and lack of conviction. Cross is, technically, a gifted singer and guitarist, but these qualities are wasted ont the emotionless course that he is presently pursuing.
The compositional blandness was mirrored in Cross' stage show. He engaged in several extended solos and sang with a remarkable cleanliness and control. Yet he never put himself into his performance. He seemed content to do his job and nothing more, as if his music was just another product to be pushed off on potential record buyers.
Christospher Cross is proving that he can sell records and draw crowds Now, if only he would try his hand at producing music that is honest and compelling. He is taking the easy way out, and both he and his listeners are the worse for his lack of effort.