time doesn't wait for me, it keeps on rollin'

 

Boston

 

Tom Scholz, MIT graduate. Electrical engineer. Inventer of the Rockman guitar effect. Writer of exactly one song throughout his entire career. Shunner of synthesizers (except for the ones on Walk On). Multi-instrumentalist and control freak extraordinaire.

lineup: Tom Scholz (guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, studio wizard and perfectionist); with some guys of little note -- the only other important one is Brad Delp (absurdly high vocals).

review index: Boston / Don't Look Back / Walk On / Corporate America

missing albums: Third Stage


...reader comments...

Don Drakulich (ddrakulich@canneryresorts.com) took time out from work to e-mail this:

Just read your Boston "review".Did you ever actually listen to the music????

Cole Responds:

Yes, unfortunately.


Boston - 1976

Rating: ****
Best songs: More than a Feeling, Peace of Mind, Foreplay/Long Time, Smokin'
Worst songs: oh, why bother with such an action when life is so short?

 

Notable for the song "More than a Peace of Something About Smokin' Rock and Roll Foreplay/Long Time". I'd work "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" in there too, but that would require effort, which is something I do not wish to expend at this time.

Anyway, this is a pretty obvious record, since you've probably heard every song on here a thousand times. Pants-tighteningly-high vocals, a squealing guitar solo (not a typo -- all the songs have pretty much the same solo), crunchy, multi-tracked, highly-processed rhythm guitars, nonintrusive without being dull bass parts, and competent drumming. If you can stand all that, you'll love this record, and since it's sold about 20 million copies in the US alone, you probably already have it or can find about twenty copies at your local goodwill store or flea market. (Oddly enough, I got Don't Look Back before this one.) Talking about this record is like talking about Rumours or Music from the Epileptic Seizure-Inducing Whitney Houston Movie "The Bodyguard" -- you've heard the friggin' thing already. So, the review will end now. Now end. Whatever.


Don't Look Back - 1978

Rating: **1/2
Best songs: Don't Look Back, A Man I'll Never Be, Feelin' Satisfied
Worst songs: fie, a curse on thee!

 

So, what do you do when your first album becomes an incredibly big hit?

That's right, you scream in terror and try to cobble together an album that retains a tenth of the debut's greatness.

And that's what Tommy boy had to do. He succeeds masterfully in the opening title track, which rivals anything on the debut album. And that's about it, really. There's a nice instrumental snippet entitled "The Journey", a neat little power ballad called "A Man I'll Never Be", another Boston-style midtempo pseudo-rawk! tune qui s'appelle "Feelin' Satisfied", and drummer Sib Hashian's enormous afro in the gatefold. The rest, I think, is decent, unassuming (as unassuming as Boston can get, that is), and completely unwonderful.


Walk On - 1994

Rating: *1/2
Best songs: Walkin' at Night, Get Organ-ized
Worst songs: I Need Your Love, Livin' for You, Magdalene, We Can Make It

 

Christ, it took him eight years to come up with this? A bunch of cheesy adult pop? I mean, just look at the titles! "I Need Your Love"! "We Can Make It"! "Livin' for You"! "Magdalene"! "Surrender to Me"! "What's Your Name"! Truly, about the only good part on this album is the instrumental bits of the "Walk On Medley". Okay, I'll give "Surrender to Me" points, it's got a good riff and isn't as cheese-filled as the rest. And "What's Your Name" is similarly decent, since it sounds a lot like "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes. But the rest is blah city.

Oh, and Tom -- quit bragging about how the instruments are all real Hammonds and Yamaha CP-70 pianos and whatnot. It doesn't make this album any less crappy.

 


Corporate America - 2002

Rating: **
Best songs: I Had a Good Time, Corporate America
Worst songs: With You, You Gave Up On Love, Livin' For You

 

First off, let's make this clear: Boston are a bunch of "feel-good liberals". The liner notes include more web addresses to sunny liberal causes about being nice to animals and vegetarians and stuff than the web page of a 13-year-old Wiccan girl from Dayton, Ohio. Okay, so there are worthwhile things like the Sierra Club and places to report child abuse and stuff, but c'mon, this is a rock band, not a liberal arts student at a west coast university!

Anyways, eight years again? Well, at least he's got a schedule that he's sticking to. Actually, there are plenty of good reasons why Tommy Scholz releases an album less frequently than the people in the "Letters to the Editor" column present a respectable idea in a coherent manner. The most obvious is that he's already got boatloads of cash from Boston selling zillions and being played endlessly on the radio.

You can tell I don't want to talk about this one, can't you? Well, the band includes both Brad Delp and Fran Cosmo on vocals, as well as some chick. Bwuh? Girls in Boston? Isn't that a shock... She croons the complete and utter disappointment that is "With You". It's sub-Shania Twain shlock balladry. Plus they tacked on "Livin' for You" at the end...and I coulda sworn they put it on the last one. Hold on. *pages up* Yeah, they did! And it still sucks! Also, "You Gave Up On Love" is hideously condescending. There are a few decent songs on here, though. "I Had a Good Time" chunka-chunkas along well enough (y'know, power chords and all), and "Corporate America" is a searing indictment of our consumerist culture.

Yeah, I couldn't keep a straight face writing it, either. But it does have a Hammond organ in it, and Hammond organs always make songs better. I get the feeling, though, that Tom sincerely believes one day we'll have spaceship guitars like the ones he always puts on the album covers. Kinda weird, isn't it? Oh well, that's electrical engineers for you. Anyway, "Stare Out Your Window" and "Someone" are okay. But "Turn It Off" -- I swear this song was written just for the opportunity to make a cheap joke about the title. Well, sir, I refuse to accept such a blatant ploy! Good day to you.

In closing, I would like to note that there's absolutely no reason for anyone to ever buy this album ever. If there are hardcore Boston fans out there, I have to say, you need to find something else to obsess over. Everyone else can just seethe quietly that this band ever existed or make do with the first record. See you in 2010, Tom. Assuming you haven't built that Fender Spacecaster by then.


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