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album reviews

Faces

Ooh La La

Hey, not all that bad if you consider that most consumers will fork over for a Faces album with rather low preliminary expectations: Two or at most three tracks will usually soak up the energy and style of the tunes that grace the records of Rodney himself, the sandy catarrh, a jaunty and rocking swing, the insouciant lip that he lays on his lovers and his listeners. Everybody knows that the other seven cuts are not gonna amount to much — even if they give Rod a third or a quarter compo... | More »

June 7, 1973

Led Zeppelin

Houses of the Holy Atlantic

For me, Led Zeppelin began as the epitome of everything good about rock: solid guitar work, forceful vocals and rhythmic backing, devotion to primal blues forms, and most of all, thunderous excitement on stage and vinyl. But as superstardom came to them, so too came the gradual evaporation of those qualities from their sound. In the same way that the Rolling Stones evolved into a senior, "safe" bizarro-perversion band, Led Zeppelin has become a senior, "safe" heavy-metal band. But by its very... | More »

The Jackson 5

Skywriter Motown

Beck's reunion here with his late-Sixties bandmate Rod Stewart, on Curtis Mayfield's inspirational ballad "People Get Ready," is also a welcome return to classic form, a replay of their soulful covers of "Ol' Man River" and "Morning Dew" from Beck's 1968 Truth LP. Stewart wraps his sandpaper croon around the song with tender, unaffected enthusiasm, while Beck gently unravels the melody in his poignant but forceful guitar breaks. | More »

May 24, 1973

Alice Cooper

Billion Dollar Babies

Concerning Alice Cooper, it is by now axiomatic that any new album is intended only as the soundtrack of the latest group traveling extravaganza. But even considered as a soundtrack, Billion Dollar Babies seems an abortion. The extended numbers (ones around which the stage skits revolve) are the most abrasive. Rather than following Cream's formula of presenting a tight skeleton on vinyl that can be expanded at will onstage, the Cooper troupers insist upon acting this soundtrack concept o... | More »

Pink Floyd

Dark Side Of The Moon EMD Int'l

One of Britain's most successful and long lived avant-garde rock bands, Pink Floyd emerged relatively unsullied from the mire of mid-Sixties British psychedelic music as early experimenters with outer space concepts. Although that phase of the band's development was of short duration, Pink Floyd have from that time been the pop scene's preeminent techno-rockers: four musicians with a command of electronic instruments who wield an arsenal of sound effects with authority and fine... | More »

Deep Purple

Made In Japan

Deep Purple have had a rough time gaining and retaining the status of being Kings of the Heavy Metal Set, and with the release of their last album, Who Do We Think We Are?, many critics rejected the fawnish fivesome for (1) trying to step out of their league with electronic-cum-Yes gizmos and melodic lines or (2) staying within the confines of their initial blockbuster, Deep Purple in Rock. If you're expecting something new in terms of either approach or material from Made In Japan, you ... | More »

T. Rex

Tanx

Many double albums could be distilled to quality single LPs. This one album might have made a good EP, since there are four worthwhile tracks, but the remaining nine are flights of Bolan's fantasies that might be interesting to his numerous devotees but less so to more casual listeners.   The three best tunes are all on the first side. "Tenement Lady" is composed of two minisongs, the first being an up-tempo rocker and the second a string-laden ballad. One verse is quaintly mov... | More »

Jefferson Airplane

Thirty Seconds Over Winterland Grunt/RCA

It's a pretty good rock & roll album illustrating all the various strengths and weaknesses of this latest model 'Plane. As a live concert album (recorded last year in San Francisco and Chicago) it compares favorably with Bless Its Pointed Little Head, the 'Planes four-year-old previous recorded gig and one of the most understated and successful live albums of the Sixties. Of course long gone are Marty Balin, whose energetic vocalizing was once this band's most vital si... | More »

May 10, 1973

Bee Gees

Life In A Tin Can RSO

As purveyors of pure pop pleasantries over the past six years, the Bee Gees have few rivals extant and their popularity has continued virtually unabated. But after an initial barrage of arresting singles and a generally solid album track record (up to their fine double set Odessa), their music has declined. With elaborate orchestral arrangements and a preponderance of big ballads, Bee Gees' material was always just a step away from the dreary MOR slush mainstream. They usually managed to... | More »

Eagles

Desperado WEA

If they gave a Grammy for the best interior gatefold cover, this one should be nominated. It is the best since For The Roses, but for hardly the same reason. There they are, the four Eagles and their outlaw compatriots Jackson Browne and John David Souther, tied up on the ground at the mercy of their lawmen roadies, producer Glyn Johns and a couple of deputized friends. The photo is an alleged reenactment of the capture of the Dalton gang in the late 19th century. After shooting this picture,... | More »

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

More Song Stories entries »
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