Melanie's marriage to Atlantic had dissolved after one album, and Phonogenic appeared on RCA. The new beginning promised by Photograph hadn't transpired; Phonogenic bore only four new songs by Melanie and was a campy, kitschy set, combining disco ("Knock on Wood") with hoary old rockers ("We Can Work It Out"). For Melanie's part, her compositions were at least witty and showed an interest in genres new to her, such as Broadway-esque mini-dramas ("Record People") and light pop ("Spunky"). The participation of top players like Michael and Randy Brecker ensures that Phonogenic is enjoyable enough, but it's slight and flimsy, too. And its closing torch song reinterpretation of "California Dreaming" is non-plussing to say the least.
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AllMusic Review by Charles Donovan