Of course you can never call this their best album, for it’s placed between ‘Steppenwolf The Second’ and ‘Monster’. But in my opinion, it is the middle one of their three greatest outings, and it also shows this by blending the early, light mood and born-to-be-wild-rock with ‘Monster’s more somber, dark spirit, which would dominate the next recording completely. This way, it possesses some of the lightness, that ‘Monster’ arguably needed, while appearing as more serious & more mature than their first two albums. Then why don’t I say it’s better than them… well, because I just love psychedelia, and then, how should I criticize ‘Magic Carpet Ride’?
‘Don’t Cry’ is quite simply THE BEST STEPPENWOLF SONG NEVER TO BE A SINGLE – or at least a hit, I mean, I don’t think it was a single anyway… but it certainly wasn’t a hit, though I think it’s even better than ‘Rock Me’, though that one deserved its Top Ten placing.
‘Chicken Wolf’ and ‘Lovely Meter’ are standard, above-the-rest-of-the-pack Steppenwolf songs, but the band really approaches the heights of their opening track with ‘Round And Down’, which could be said to be their second greatest not-single, though this time, I’m not so sure…
‘It’s Never Too Late’ is a wonderful anthem. At first it seems a bit bombastic, but hear it a couple of times, and you’ll also start loving it.
‘Sleeping Dreaming’ is funny, and as chaotic as the stranger outings of Jefferson Airplane (like ‘A Small Package Of Value Will Come To You, Shortly’) and The Beatles (‘Dig It’)! A kind of “song”, that only could have been made in the 60’s…
‘Jupiter Child’, the next highlight, is a great rock song with a powerful riff, while ‘She’ll Be Better’ and ‘Cat Killer’ arguably beats it. Then ‘Rock Me’ arrives, their third greatest hit, and, though many other songs surpasses it, still a marvellous gem of rock’n'roll. Even if it’s an attempt to capture the spirit of ‘Born To Be Wild’ once again, then at least it’s a great attempt!!!
‘God Fearing Man’ is a more serious creation, but one which completely dwarfs the otherwise finely crafted ‘Mango Juice’. ‘Happy Birthday’ closes the album with a mystic & brilliant invocation, childhood, the unknown, simply magic, perhaps the only track on this record to rival the splendour of ‘Don’t Cry’, but doing it with completely other means than those that Steppenwolf have become known for!