Boy George seemed set up by the success of "The Crying Game" to restore his commercial standing, and he certainly made a splash, releasing not only this new album but also his autobiography, Take It Like A Man. The shock here was not so much in the explicitly gay lyrics--he'd sung similar things before--as in the musical style. Previously, George had made music for the dance crowd, but Cheapness And Beauty led off with a screaming guitar rock version of Iggy Pop's "Funtime" (also the album's music video). The next four songs were all hard rockers, too, and although thereafter the album showed greater diversity--"If I Could Fly" was a melodic ballad, "Same Thing In Reverse" a folkie tune with a prominent fiddle--most people only heard the guitar rock, which turned off George's dancefloor constituency and failed to attract a rock listenership. It seemed a shame: If the record company had released "If I Could Fly" as the first single, then followed it with one of the more uptempo, but still pop tracks from the second side, the album might have had a chance. But Virgin wasn't about to work this record; George was dropped by the label shortly after its release. And so, a career that had seemed on the upswing took another dip.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann