Cristina, Sleep It Off

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
An Ivy League drag queen’s version of punk.

Now that the major record labels have relegated all but the most conventionally commercial acts to independent labels, it's hard to comprehend that in 1984 ZE convinced a division of PolyGram Records to think a young woman as pretty as Madonna but as ornery as Marianne Faithful might click with, say, Cyndi Lauper fans. With timely production by Don Was, Cristina swaps her debut's debutante disco for dilettante New Wave, and although her intonation is even more atrocious here, her lyrics are so wickedly witty that she skirts by on negative charm. Going to lyrical places her peers only read about in travel brochures, she sings, "My sheets are stained/ So's my brain/ What's a girl to do?," while on "Don't Mutilate My Mink," Cristina envisions an Ivy League drag queen's version of punk.