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Boston Rocks

from The Observer

Boston’s Debut Album Isn’t a Guilty Pleasure—It’s One of the Best Records Ever


I have long detested the phrase “guilty pleasure,” especially when it is applied to music, art, films, books, TV shows, and other cultural ephemera. It presumes that the user has to feel bad for liking something; it assumes that a person believes their friends will think less of them if they admit they listen to something.

Listen: It’s O.K. to like BTO’s Greatest more than Amnesiac. You don’t need to make excuses to me, or anyone else. History has taught us that the only thing any music fan should feel guilty about is not outgrowing Elvis Costello by the time you finished your junior year at SUNY New Paltz.

Boston isn’t a guilty pleasure. It’s one of my 50 favorite albums.

Boston’s debut album, which turns 40 this month, is an absolute treasure of melody and architecture. It has the immediacy of pop, but also the deliberate intricacy of prog rock; it has California pop’s attention to zealous sweet harmony, yet it also has some of the heaviest and most memorable guitar riffs on the planet. Until the day Fu Manchu and the Moody Blues get together to re-record Days of Future Passed, it is sui generis.

Like the debut albums by the Ramones, the Velvet Underground and Neu!, it’s difficult to know where the hell Boston came from; it is so staggeringly unique, but also deeply rousing, resonant, aurally sensuous and pleasing.

And do not let its extraordinary commercial success (or our desire to confine it to the trash bin of ‘70s nostalgia, alongside Jimmy Carter, Chevy Chase and Mark Spitz) distract from its innovation or originality. Boston is a spy, a vastly unique spy in the house of memory, virtually as original and as individual as any of those more “credible” acts I just mentioned.

How do you describe Boston’s stunning, heavy/light planetarium bubblegum, this mix of garage rock memes and pure FM Valentine? I mean, it’s like freaking Paul Revere & the Raiders recording Dark Side of the Moon.

[ click to continue reading a The Observer ]

Posted on August 23, 2016 by Editor

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