1978's Games and Groceries is one of R. Stevie Moore's most popular albums, once chosen as the all-time favorite in a poll of Moore's fans. It's certainly chock-full of hits. Besides a stretch of three songs that went, in order, directly onto side two of Moore's second official LP (the yearning, McCartney-like "This Wednesday," the delicate slice of early synth pop "I Go Into Your Mind," and the chattering, robotic "Horizontal Hideaway"), the album features some of his most inventive and entertaining writing from this era. The diversity is dazzling, moving from the '60s-style sunshine pop of "You Came Along Just in Time" (which recalls some of the Turtles' later album tracks), directly into the sly disco satire "I'm Dancing" (which wittily reuses an instrumental section from Delicate Tension's "Don't Let Me Go to the Dogs" for its main melody). Two minor masterpieces, "I Wanna Sleep" and "You Always Want What You Don't Have," are among Moore's most directly emotional songs, but it's a pair of more light-hearted tunes that are the album's true masterpieces. "Puttin' Up the Groceries" is an endearing novelty, one of Moore's most completely charming songs, creating an almost Jonathan Richman-like sense of whimsy and childlike excitement about an everyday household task. "Part of the Problem" belongs at or near the top of any list of Moore's finest songs; a brilliantly catchy slice of new wave-influenced power pop based on a driving acoustic rhythm guitar track and a nagging, surf-like electric guitar hook and featuring both a near-perfect chorus and an out-of-nowhere bridge that somehow manages to fit the rest of the song both lyrically and musically. This first attempt at the song isn't quite as dead-on perfect as the one that would later appear on 1985's Glad Music LP, but even at this early point, it's clearly one of Moore's lifetime achievements. Much the same could be said of the album as a whole. There are arguably better Moore albums, but Games and Groceries is an excellent starting point into his enormous self-released catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason