Epic Records, 1976

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


How do you give one of the most successful albums in music history an objective review?

In the case of the eponymous debut album from Boston, it's really hard. Every radio station I've ever known, half-watt to half-assed, has played almost every cut off this album to death In fact, I can't name one cut off of Boston that hasn't graced the airwaves of Chicago.

So maybe it's not smart for me to pull an album from the Pierce Memorial Archives (You must be as tall as this sign to enter the Paul Williams Gallery) that I'm sick of hearing. Maybe I'm about to be way too cynical this early in the weekend.

Maybe Boston, in reality, was more of a musical partnership than a band. Long decried as a product of technology and the studio, there is no Boston without Tom Scholz. (And as Scholz himself proved on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Walk On, without Brad Delp's pipes, the band ain't shit.) Scholz is the mastermind behind the "wall of guitars" sound that made the band famous.

As much as I've heard it, I can't help but like "More Than A Feeling" - the song that made Boston famous. The opening acoustic guitars intermixed with Delp's vocals is mesemerizing, and it's one I just can't get tired of hearing. I do wonder how Delp was able to hit those high notes; the last time I even came close to that range, I slipped and fell on the crossbar of my bike. (I will now allow the male readers a few moments to groan in sympathy pains.)

"Peace Of Mind" is also a decent song, though not as good as its predecessor. It just doesn't have the same punch or longevity as "More Than A Feeling," and it tends to annoy me as a listener after about a dozen or so playings.

The rest of the album is either mediocre or poorly written. "Foreplay / Long Time" opens well with the instrumental, but the actual tune loses power due to the breaks in the action featuring rhythm guitar. When I get into a groove, I don't want anything interrupting it - especially if those breaks are planned.

"Rock & Roll Band" is the first sign of pretentiousness in the band. The timing of the track is listed as "2:60" - no one likes a smart-ass, guys... unless, of course, it's yours truly. "Smokin'" used to be a hidden gem on this album, but as AOR radio has worn out their copies, the track has become overplayed and annoying. "Hitch A Ride," one of the least-played tracks, is probably the prettiest on the album, and is a sign of how good the band could be when they wanted to.

The final two songs, "Something About You" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight," are easily the worst of the bunch, the latter being painful to listen to. The opening guitar riff - a mix of country and rock, is poorly crafted, as is the rest of the song.

So, Mr. Thelen commits heresy by saying there is weakness on Boston - someone has to stand up and tell the truth. But due to the lack of a greatest-hits album (which is probably in the works somewhere), it still is worth picking up this album - a rite of passage, if you will. If you can get past the fact you've heard this album approximately 1,327 times on the radio, you may just enjoy it. (Editor's note: That greatest-hits package indeed was finally released.)

Rating: C

User Rating: A



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.