.

album reviews

John Prine

Sweet Revenge

Sweet Revenge is another side of John Prine, a departure from the nearly unrelenting somberness of his earlier work, and an engaging picture of the social being beneath the social conscience. It's a more human work, more mature, and a step forward artistically and toward a wider audience. Its folk humor ("Please Don't Bury Me") rivals any anonymous classic, while it is at the same time too distinctive to have been written by anyone but Prine. A pluggedin band provides a big-beat fe... | More »

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys In Concert

This is simply everything a live album should be, and then some. Most of the performances hold their own beside the quality of the originals (even in those stubborn, hard-to-get-at places — "Marcella," "Heroes And Villains," "Funky Pretty") and yet they're never static. They remain faithful without becoming plodding or repetitive. The production is Carl Wilson's idea of pretty good with a few messy spots, which means it's unflaggingly superb but you can hear him whisperi... | More »

Bruce Springsteen

The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle Columbia

Greetings From Asbury Park, Bruce Springsteen's uproarious debut album, sounded like "Subterranean Homesick Blues" played at 78, a typical five-minute track bursting with more words than this review. Most of it didn't make much sense, but that was the point. Springsteen was rhyming and wailing for the sheer fun of it, and his manic exuberance more than canceled out his debts to Dylan, Van Morrison and the Band. The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle takes itself more seriou... | More »

January 22, 1974

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Willy And The Poor Boys Fantasy

It was a benefit at the Fillmore West for KPFA, the Conscience and Culture radio station of Berkeley, and the place was filled much beyond the legal capacity. The bill was mixed; several eminent bores and some bands as talented as Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, a rising group that has succeeded in capturing the essence of country music. But the crowd had come, virtually to a man, to see Creedence Clearwater. It was an overwhelmingly suburban audience, and from the remarks hoverin... | More »

January 17, 1974

Alice Cooper

Muscle Of Love

The Alice Cooper phenomenon, which began with the chart entry of "I'm Eighteen," rose to diabolical heights with Killer and School's Out and extravaganzaed in the show surrounding Billion Dollar Babies, has now cooled itself down with Muscle Of Love. While the album contains several highlights and wild-card experiments, its mood reveals that both the group and Alice are uncertain of what new directions they might turn to their own uses. This isn't necessarily bad; it was only a... | More »

January 3, 1974

John Lennon

Mind Games Apple/EMI

Mind Games is, to my knowledge, the first release from the conceptual country Nutopia, whose existence John and Yoko proclaim in a Declaration on the lyric sheet. Oddly enough, it isn't all that different from the records he has been making in America these last few years. Those have revealed a steady decline from the high points of his post-Beatle work, Plastic Ono Band and "Instant Karma." There, he distilled his simplistic humanism into a single moving statement of belief — at o... | More »

The Band

Moondog Matinee Capitol

Under normal circumstances this would be a fairly disappointing album for the Band, coming as it does on the year-old heels of a live set and a good 30 months since the last appearance of any original material. But with the upcoming Bob Dylan tour probably occupying a large share of their attention and the possibility of a label change in the offing, they probably figured to conserve the group's not-too-prolific energies by playing around with the past. Moondog Matinee, the Band's o... | More »

Neil Young

Time Fades Away Reprise

This album may do for Neil Young's declining image what Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid did for Dylan's. But like Dylan's much-maligned movie soundtrack LP, Time Fades Away has its virtues when taken on its own terms and not as the latest major work of a major artist. Here, Young seems to have consciously avoided the sober sense of importance that accompanied After the Gold Rush and Harvest by recording his new material live and rough. Mistakes and fluffs dot these performances... | More »

Santana

Welcome Columbia

The choice of "Welcome," a John Coltrane composition from Kulu Se Mama, as the title tune of the new Santana album is a natural follow-up to Carlos' album with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. Coltrane pioneered the direct rendering of spirituality through music in performances like "A Love Supreme" and "Welcome," and the recent resurgence of interest in his work by spiritually inclined rock musicians is scarcely surprising. But Welcome covers more territory than Love Devotion Surrender, whi... | More »

Fleetwood Mac

Mystery To Me Reprise

Though they're all probably excellent musicians with talent coming out of their ears, the fact still remains that ever since Fleetwood Mac lost its three guitarists extraordinaire they've become increasingly less interesting. Things that are better felt than expressed have brought Fleetwood Mac to a point where the band just doesn't seem to matter much anymore. Though performed with great proficiency and occasionally enlightening subtlety, the first side of Mystery To Me turne... | 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

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com