March 02, 1981 12:00 PM

Kris Kristofferson

Kristofferson has always seemed more comfortable hanging around hell’s trapdoor than heaven’s gate, anyway. Certainly, the title and contents of this LP imply that he is reflecting on his recently troubled personal life, with the breakup of his marriage to Rita Coolidge. Kris’ setbacks, however, are the public’s gain, inspiring his most affecting album in many years. Kristofferson’s singing is still not quite golden-throated; his vocal apparatus came out of the same bin as Gabby Hayes’. But at his best, as he is here, he comes as close to poetry as any modern songwriter. These lyrics are devoted mostly to lost love and faithless women. Random excerpts: “But she said, ‘I don’t want you, baby/I just want someone to hold me/I got too much rock and roll to be a wife.’ ” “You can’t wait to let ’em take you to the bottom/And I’m getting tired of standing in your way.” “Nobody loves anybody anymore/Life isn’t what it used to be.” Cynical, bitter, self-pitying and depressing as they are, the 10 soul-baring songs on this album (all but one new) speak of emotions one doesn’t always have to sympathize with to understand. Two especially, Star-Crossed and Blessing in Disguise, deserve to become standards—while they help Kris make it through the nights.

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