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I don't believe these songs we've heard a million times require a track by track description, so I'll just say they have many positive attributes like great musicianship, quality songwriting, wonderful melodies, and focus.
Compared to something like Tormato, I think it's safe to say that Supertramp were ahead of their competition in execution at this point in time. As I've said before, there is something to be said for tension in a band. I think the obvious tension between Davies and Hodgson pushed both of them to come up with some good stuff.
I'd always heard that "Casual Conversations" and "Child of Vision" were direct lyrical messages between the two and if you read the lyrics it would seem to be true. I like all of the songs although I do skip the title track and Logical Song just because I've heard them so many times. So 3 stars for this website, although if I were reviewing this album for a straight rock site I would go higher. The singer tells you that he's come to face the harsh reality that he was wrong about the myth of Los Angeles because there's "so many creeps in Hollywood.
The band makes a dynamic return with the playful falsetto harmonies before John takes over with his sax being processed through some kind of very cool effect during the fadeout. It would feel like I was being patronizing to describe the exemplary nuances of the arrangements in the next three songs because they are so well known and so often played on the radio to this day. So I will restrain myself accordingly.
The lyric epitomizes the predicament that a young person finds themselves in after finishing their schooling where the administrators would "like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, presentable,. Helliwell once again throws in a searing sax performance.
The tune seems to be about an unconscionable love 'em and leave 'em musician who breezily walks away from his one-night-stands with a carefree whistle on his lips. The group delivers a steady buildup until Roger Hodgson's punctuating guitar lead relieves the tension. The song is about disillusionment with fame as he confesses "I'm playing my jokes upon you. The tune is about finding a potential love connection in a person but not having the time to cultivate the relationship.
The ending is very much in the style of Elton John. A wailing harmonica and a happy, bouncy beat belie the dark words of "Take the Long Way Home," yet another top ten single. The inventive lead break with the harmonica and clarinet together is a treat and the lush chorale of voices at the end is breathtaking. Rick Davies' acoustic piano work is beautiful in the somber "Lord, Is It Mine," a highly personal hymn of bewilderment as he desperately seeks a "silent place I can call my own. The steep price of being famous and desired is examined in "Just Another Nervous Wreck" where we are told that he has "lost the craving for success" and now has to deal with the unpleasant side effects.
The tune comes across a little too bitter and is the weakest cut on the record. A needed change of pace arrives in the form of the melancholy lounge atmosphere of "Casual Conversation," a simple ditty about resigning oneself to an inevitable breakup. Helliwell's sobering sax lead is perfect. The kicker comes when the singer admits it's finally over and that he really believes he's glad. They sum up the whole theme of the album here with a blatant statement of "How can you live in this way?
The piano solo goes nowhere for about three minutes and when they finally bring in John's sax the tune is already starting to fade out.
Can't have everything, I reckon. This album was a mega hit that put Supertramp at the 1 position for weeks and it was a welcome relief from the incessant stream of mind-numbing disco that had saturated the airwaves for years.
It was the right sound at exactly the right time and people just couldn't get enough of it as it sold over four million units in the US alone. While I'm still partial to their incredible "Crime of the Century," I've gained a lot of overdue respect for this admirable recording and will no longer hold the group's amazing success with it against them. It's the least I can do. The interplay between Rick Davies' and Roger Hodgson's vocals is as effective as ever, especially in the song's context of light and shade or rather, hope and disappointment.
The trio of songs that follow, while not scoring very highly on a progressiveness scale, are undisputed masterpieces of sophisticated, well-crafted pop-rock. The wistful sound of the harmonica introduces another of the album's highlights, the deceptively jaunty "Take the Long Way Home", another song about disappointed hopes disguised as a pleasant pop offering.
While the prayer-like "Lord Is It Mine", showcasing Hodgson's voice at its most poignant, acts like a pause of reflection, "Oh Darling", "Just Another Nervous Wreck" and "Casual Conversations" can be indicted of being somewhat nondescript, and slightly on the boring side. However, album closer "Child of Vision" can be numbered amongst Supertramp's strongest compositions, reminiscent of the immortal "Crime of the Century", though possessed of its own individuality.
With a big, dramatic chorus, driving piano, and lyrics that starkly criticise the modern way of life, it is definitely more ambitious than most of the other compositions. Some love it to death, others hate it with equal passion for being too commercial and radio-friendly. Personally, though I find it inferior to the band's masterpiece, "Crime of the Century", I have always had a weakness for this record and its enlightened approach to quality pop music.
Highly recommended to all open-minded prog fans, especially when in need of the occasional respite from the likes of Magma or The Mars Volta. Supertramp where already a big name when Breakfast In America came out, but this is the album that would launch them over the top. Granted, afterwards the band would never be the same, and after a enormous flop the appropriately titled Famous Last Words the band would explore more experimental roads with tremendously mixed results.
But let's stick to this album. In terms of music this one has often been pointed out an ridiculed for its many hit tracks and often called not as progressive as its brethren such as Crime Of The Century or Even In The Quietest Moments At points, yes, but these are fantastically written and arranged pop songs the caliber of which would rarely see the light of day again from any band.
So lets drive right in, shall we? Opening quietly until the musical burst is Gone Hollywood. Not the biggest standout on the album, this song still sets the tone for the rest of the tracks. Hodgeson and Davies split vocals and the song manages to find time to change speed within its short structure. But it's not until the next track that we get to the hits. First up, The Logical Song which finds the band being very much cynical and logical about the workings of the world.
Floating synths and bass make this one more than just a pop song. Following is the ear splintering vocal parts from surprisingly Davies on Goodbye Stranger. A couple of shorter songs come along, these ones perhaps the most threatening to the average prog listener. Breakfast In America and Oh Darling are a couple catchy, radio friendly songs that help the album move along without hampering it by becoming increasingly poppy though some may argue that point.
Then we see the darker side of the 'Tramp once more. The deceivingly light toned Take The Long Way Home hides some very troubled lyrics that make this song a very nice treat. Opened by an excellent sax part and carried by the piano once more this is a huge standout on the album, and indeed, the band's career. Then the speed gets brought down once more for the slow, emotional delivery of Lord Is It Mine , which gets better as it picks up, but remains likely the least necessary song on the album.
However, coming into the end we get a couple of the 'Tramp's best songs. Just Another Nervous Wreck opens with some nice piano until Davies voice carries it into the heavier parts of the song. Excellent melodies, lyrics and vocals make this a standout on the album above any of the album's hit singles. Another short and bouncy track fades in and out as though nothing happened and then we get to the final track on the album.
Child Of Vision is the track that finds Supertramp still taking a more progressive road with it's keys and dual vocal attack. This is likely the second best track on the album falling right behind Nervous Wreck , but the song that will hold the attention of the average progger the best. Not Tramp's most progressive album, although its deceptive simplicity still hides a very progressive side. The last good Tramp album for a couple of years, this one is definitely an excellent addition to the prog libraries of the world.
Not a masterpiece, but certainly excellent, 4 stars. Highly recommended to Tramp fans and everyone else. The band always had an eye for the charts, having already been taken there with 'Dreamer' and 'Give A Little Bit'.
They also had an eye for art-rock, where their ear for a melody was married with excellent arrangements to produce some excellent prog-related material. On this album we are presented, finally, with the perfect marriage: gloriously vibrant pop songs with thoughtful lyrics and stunning arrangements.
Ignore the irrelevant opening track: the album is a full frontal assault of the most clever pop the late 70s had to offer. Yes, I know you've heard it all far too many times, but that's because you listened to the radio. I never did. These songs are still fresh to me. The song even manages to let go during the instrumental breaks, with Helliwell's sax a little rougher than usual, a little more unsettling, and the wurlitzer driving the song to a satisfying conclusion.
And then there's the famous title track, known for its memorable lyric and bold piano. I bet you're sick of it. I like its joviality and cheekiness, but would be the first to admit it's not a heavyweight. Still, it's less than three minutes. It has a superb dynamic, and what an intro!
It generates a genuinely spine-tingling atmosphere, the synth, the sudden deep piano note and the yearning of the harmonica. The lyric leans on close-knit rhymes again, reminding us of 'The Logical Song', but eclipsing that track with ease. Here the band achieve for a blissful moment the perfect balance between melody and structure prog and pop, exemplified by the majestic outro beginning at 3. Sorry, I can't fault this.
Ignore 'Casual Conversations. Together 'Crime of the Century' and 'Breakfast In America' encompass everything good about this band. Never a band to reach true prog greatness, they nevertheless inspired other prog bands to reach for the charts.
I'm betting that more than a few of you think this was a Bad Thing. The main reason this album is so satisfying is that one of the good, inspired songwriting. Those guys did know how to pen some fine and catchy tunes while retaining insightful, intelligent lyrics that were still accessible, something that the even the casual listener could relate to.
And everything was packed by some outstading perfomances both in terms of the playing and arragements. The right production also helped a lot, since the band was now a tight, very well oiled music machine, after years on the road and an studios with the same line up. Their unique sound and deliverance of the words in the songs they were serious, but also witty and humorous about those subjects, a rare case of good balance did place them at the heart of many.
Like them or hate them, you have to respect Supertramp for their talent. Although it had some overplayed hits The Logical Song, the title track this is an album to hear as a whole. Four stars. None of the above characteristics are sufficient for conviction, and in fact there are several excellent tracks only diminished by overexposure - the title cut and "Take the Long Way Home", while "The Logical Song" goes from brilliant to trite after about 2 airings, never to return, and "Goodbye Stranger" starts with promise before settling for the band's trademark childish vocals and stunted tune that even the best arrangements cannot rescue, and in any case no such compensation is to be found.
The remaining tracks got virtually no airplay and yet still sound stale and so much a product of their time. The closing cut is certainly the most progressive if only by taking track length into account. Some good piano as it rolls along but nothing exceptional especially for the time.
Both albums are generally considered to be the hit-records for the bands with many of the heavy hitters occupying side one of the respective record, leaving side two exposed and suggestive of a turbulence within the collectives.
In Supertramp's case we basically get a side filled with hits like The Logical Song , Goodbye Stranger and Breakfast In America that don't really need any introduction since they became the backbone of the band's career for years to come.
It also becomes clear, though in the lyrical context, that the songwriters were already on the verge of a breakup and we can only imagine how it would have gone down if Breakfast In America hadn't been the massive hit which it ultimately was. Eventually one of the fellow collaborators had to leave and Roger Hodgson took that step after the release of the much delayed Breakfast In America -followup album Famous Last Words.
Even though this is a very disjointed release I can't really argue against the excellent quality of the music featured here.
A good album of massive popular appeal with some still proggy parts, but illustrative of the trend to steer more toward pop music conformism. This is the most radio-friendly album Supertramp made yet. Most of the songs seem made for radio. I have to give them credit, though. This doesn't sound anything like New Wave or disco. Actually, most of the singles here are more adventurous than most singles of the time. Because it never got played to death, it still holds up well.
Great chorus. Tempo increases at the end with some good organ. The only song where the synths stand out. It has a great beginning with Wurlitzer and string-synths, then drums. It starts to get weaker once the chorus starts. The 'jam' for the last half of the song goes on for too long. It ruins the whole song.
One of the better albums of prog or not. The first album from is good too, but not for beginners. The prog moments are few but still a good album. I'm sure it was the simplification of the songs that helped make this album such a commercial success. To me, it's Roger Hodgson songs that make the album listenable. On his tracks, where it seems that all of the hits came from, Hodgson at least makes an attempt to spice up the arrangements just a bit , with woodwinds and keyboard play.
Rick Davies' songs tend to me more low key ballads. It's a listenable album, but no way is it Supertramp's best. Of course, the million dollar question is; is it as good as its sales record suggests?
Is it, for prog fans, rather better than one remembers when spitting out that dirty word, commercial? To this reviewer, the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. I love this band, and I think they thoroughly deserved their success. It's just that they got better at flogging and producing the stuff. The highlight for me will always remain one of my favourite all time songs of any genre or generation - Logical Song. This is easily Roger Hodgson's finest moment, apparently written when he was still a teenager.
In , it struck a chord with me as a 15 year old immediately. It still does. A song full of angst, regret, and passion, detailing the confusion that any decent, right thinking person must have when he views the inequalities, inequities, and sheer injustice of the world run by elected and unelected dictatorships. It also has that unique trick of turning a very serious lyrical piece of work into an instantly accessible musical piece, catchy, well performed, and, overall, a sheer delight to listen to.
A song I want played at my funeral. The one track that, to these ears, takes one star from the masterpiece status is the title track itself, which, to me, takes the concept of whimsical to absurd heights. For sure, it was a monster smash hit, and is still played on radio's the world over to this day, but I remain of the opinion that this is Hodgson's worst ever composition.
Grating, annoying, and instantly throwaway. Even in the Quietest Moments. Breakfast in America. Goodbye Stranger. Child of Vision. Casual Conversations. Just Another Nervous Wreck. Lord Is It Mine. Take the Long Way Home.
Oh Darling. Gone Hollywood. Another Man's Woman. The Logical Song Lyrics. From Now On Lyrics. Give a Little Bit Lyrics. Downstream Lyrics. Rudy Lyrics. Even in the Quietest Moments Lyrics. Breakfast in America Lyrics.
Brothers Johnson - Strawberry Letter 23 Live (DVD), On The Beach - Various - Rush Hour (Digital Edition) (CDr), Till We Die (Remix) - G-Ism Featuring Cool Nutz - On A Mission (Cassette), I Need The Energie - The Seer - Organic (Live) (CD), 7 Hours Later - Its About Time (CD, Album), Zastave V Prvem Planu - Various - Pankrti 06 (CD), Siren Song - dEFDUMp - David Versus Corporate Society + Circles Closing EP (Cassette, Album), Jade Palace Guard - Jason Woods [Friday The 13th Special Edition Cassette] (Cassette, Album), She Moves Me - Muddy Waters - Essential Original Albums (CD), Dont You Feel Good - Gordon Giltrap - Gordon Giltrap / Portrait (CD), Condor (Extract) - Non Toxique Lost - Pourquoi De Paix? (Cassette), Skull & Bones Blues - Kill West - Gush (Vinyl, LP, Album)