Any Alex Chilton fan who's disappointed in a set of R&B and pop covers just hasn't been paying attention to his career. Ever since his comeback in the mid-'80s, Chilton has relied on covers -- from 1985's Feudalist Tarts EP on, new songs have been at a premium, and often felt like covers anyway. Maybe that's why he decided to ditch the originals for his 2000 album Set (charmingly titled Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy in every country outside of America). Set is pitched somewhere between the pop-standards album Clichés and A Man Called Destruction, boasting the feel of Destruction and its penchant for R&B, yet with a handful of traditional pop tunes. With the exception of "There Will Never Be Another You," these are read as instrumentals, but the end result is the same: It's a little ragged, it meanders, and it's listenable only to those already firmly within the cult. Set really isn't that bad, especially when its judged by Chilton's solo standards, but it isn't that good, either. In his favor, Chilton's song selections are pretty interesting: There are a handful of well-known songs ("Lipstick Traces," "Oogum Boogum," plus the standards), but he's also found some good lesser-known songs, like "Hook Me Up," "Never Found a Girl," and "You's a Viper." The problem is, he sounds like he just can't be bothered. It's not that these recordings are raw -- the production is unvarnished, but the performance is professional as can be -- it's that they're lazy. Some members of his cult find that endearing, while other listeners (and not just Big Star diehards) will tire of it after a couple of songs. It's no better or no worse than its predecessors; it simply offers more of the same.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine