:: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 ::
30 years ago: just another band out of Boston
Boston - it was 30 years ago todayIt's been such a long time...

Tuesday marked the 30th anniversary of the release of Boston's self-titled album, and two music critics at the Boston Globe debate the merits and faults of this classic disc ("Love 'em or hate 'em, there's still more than a feeling"). Excerpts from this point-counterpoint:
Sarah Rodman: Well, it's the 30th anniversary of the first Boston album and I think that in a lot of ways it sounds as fresh as it did 30 years ago. ... I think the thing that I enjoyed about listening to this record again, not having listened to it in a long time, is that it's only 37 minutes long, and I think people think of Boston as this bombastic, indulgent, sort of almost prog-rock type band, and it's only eight songs, 37 minutes. There are records now, like hip-hop and R&B, that are an hour long with so much filler. This is all killer, no filler in my opinion.

Joan Anderman: Sarah, you ignorant slut.

No, that's not really what she said. She really said this:

Well, I have to say that 37 minutes long is reaching the outer limits of what's acceptable. And I would venture to say that 30 minutes worth of ideas is all that this band has. Eight songs, they all sound the same to me. I mean Tom Scholz came up with four chords, a few good riffs that basically recycle Yes and Led Zeppelin, didn't do much in the way of songwriting but spent what -- five, six, seven, eight years in the studio layering guitars, getting the production just right? The guy's an MIT student, he was an engineer at Polaroid, and it sounds very much to me like the work of a guy in a studio, not a band with a heart and a lot of musical ideas. I confess that there's a certain insidious appeal to these songs. I read a great quote -- I can't remember who said it and I would love to credit them -- but he said, ``These songs stick in your mind like dirt to a dog," and that's pretty much how I feel about it.

Rodman: I would disagree. I would agree about the craft part and I actually think listening to it now, that's something that impresses me even more. This is pre-[producer] Mutt Lange and his ability to layer all those vocals; this is pre-autotune and pitch correction; this is pre- a whole lot of overdubbing in the studio kind of stuff. Brad Delp is hitting all these notes, his guitar players are playing all these notes. There may be some editing and splicing after the fact, but they're playing their [butts] off and Delp is just hitting these incredible notes and these beautiful harmonies that are Beatle-esque in some places and Queen-y in other places, and I think there's a lot of variety to the record. Some of it's boogie, and some of it is acoustic, and some it is really hard rock. They were criticized a lot for being like a corporate rock band, but I think the craftsmanship, if that's part of what people were talking about, is really impressive 30 years later, considering how little they had to work with.

And on and on...
More fun than debating the merits of a bunch of punk songs, isn't it?

Thanks, Courtney, for the link and the anniversary info. Visit Courtney's site for an auditory trip down memory lane, as she plays "More Than a Feeling" on her audioblog thingie.

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:: Andrew 08:12 + ::

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