.

album reviews

Steely Dan

Pretzel Logic

Steely Dan is the most improbable hit-singles band to emerge in ages. On its three albums, the group has developed an impressionistic approach to rock & roll that all but abandons many musical conventions and literal lyrics for an unpredictable, free-roving style. While the group considered the first album, Can't Buy a Thrill, a compromise for the sake of accessibility, and the second, Countdown To Ecstasy, to emphasize extended instrumental work, the new Pretzel Logic is an attempt ... | More »

Roxy Music

Stranded

Two British bands are genuinely stretching the dimensions of pop music. One, 10 c.c., has already found a degree of popularity in the States. Roxy Music has been unable to cross the Atlantic so far, but that should change with this album. Stranded is one of the most exciting and entertaining British LPs of the Seventies. Roxy has constructed the modern English equivalent of the wall-of-sound. One instrument, either the guitar or a keyboard, will sustain or repeat a note, and the other instru... | More »

May 9, 1974

Earth, Wind & Fire

Open Our Eyes

A pleasant miscellany of Africana, Latin rhythms, well-mannered funk, smooth jazz, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder and the Fifth Dimension, Earth Wind & Fire's Open Our Eyes has both disco and easy-listening appeal, and it's so cheerful one scarcely minds the lack of focus and distinction.Among the distinctively positive elements: Maurice White's ringing kalimba, Andrew Woolfolk's fluent soprano sax, someone's eerie falsetto squeal, and everybody's good humor. But the b... | More »

May 1, 1974

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Deja Vu Atlantic Records

Along with many other people, I had hoped that the addition of Neil Young to Crosby, Stills, and Nash would give their music the guts and substance which the first album lacked. Live performances of the group suggested that this had happened. Young's voice, guitar, compositions and stage presence added elements of darkness and mystery to songs which had previously dripped a kind of saccharine sweetness. Unfortunately, little of this influence carried over into the recording sessions for ... | More »

April 25, 1974

Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Bachman-Turner Overdrive II

This four-man band from Vancouver may be short on flamboyance, but producer-guitarist Randy Bachman (formerly a mainstay of the Guess Who) has a sure sense of dynamics and tone. He brought B.T.O. from nowhere nine months ago with a pair of singles ("Blue Collar" and "Let It Ride") and two good-selling albums, while everyone followed flashier stars. Guitar sounds dominate their albums, as they reverberate meanly and crash through the group's uncomplicated material. Bachman plays lead wit... | More »

Deep Purple

Burn

Deep Purple's first album since last year's departure of vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist/composer Roger Glover is a passable but disappointing effort. On Burn, new lead singer David Coverdale sounds suitably histrionic, like Free's brilliant Paul Rodgers (rumored to have been Purple's first replacement choice). But the new material is largely drab and ordinary, without the runaway locomotive power of the group's best work.   The title track is a notable excepti... | More »

The Grateful Dead

Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of Grateful Dead

The Dead pretend they're a singles band in this collection of their best-known shorter tracks. The cumulative results are distinguished, not by profundity or virtuosity, but by a characteristic pleasantness. The album boasts attractive melodies and supple rhythmic patterns. But the anthology also exposes some ongoing weaknesses: dull recorded sound, thin instrumental arrangements, frail vocals (except for Bob Weir's occasional leads) and, more generally, music consistently without s... | More »

Van Morrison

It's Too Late To Stop Now Warner Bros.

Like the white middle class it entertains, rock music exhibits a certain rootlessness, a lack of a living history. This is rock's greatest asset — it is spontaneous and free, contemporary and temporary — but it can also be a liability. The ever-recurrent rock revivals and our fondness for golden oldies express the absence of a past, the very word "revival" indicating that the past is dead. Many artists are exploring that past, but the then and the now are so disjunct that mor... | More »

April 11, 1974

Etta James

Etta James [Platinum Disc]

Though the album was recorded in Hollywood, Gabriel Mekler's production of one of the great soul singers sounds as though it were made in Muscle Shoals, circa 1966 — the sight of great past sessions. Etta James socks home nine bitter songs in an unadorned gospel voice, backed by brass, strings and vocals that never detract from the main event — the phenomenon of James herself, an expressive vocalist without bogus pop pretensions. Of special interest: three Randy Newman songs ... | More »

Aretha Franklin

Let Me in Your Life

Aretha Franklin's Let Me in Your Life is one of the few recent R&B albums that places the emphasis entirely and deservedly on a voice. Many R&B producers have been making records on which the singer is outshined by the song, the arrangement and the sound. Treating the vocal as just another band on a 16-track tape, they sometimes prefer unobtrusive singing that highlights their production effects rather than strong personal singing that might deflect attention from it. Atlantic&... | More »

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com