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Corporate America

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  • OK, first and foremost this is not a bad album. It’s pretty decently written, melodic, sometimes energetic power pop (or softside of hard rock), but when reviewing it, we should never forget that this is Boston/Tom Scholz, one of the most underrated geniuses of popular music, and responsible for some of the most imaginative, intricate, beautifully crafted, detailed and exquisite mainstream rock music of the last fourty years.So if the label said Corporate America,the new XXXX album, all would be acceptable, even alright. But being Boston, it’s intolerable. Why on Earth did Tom have to copy Oasis of all bands in the utterly insignificant Cryin’? Why did he have to bow to market trends he never followed? Surely not for commercial reasons (the album, being released on a small label was destined to small sales figures from the start).The worst of all is that this sounds rushed,unfinished, disjointed and bland. I don’t mind an experimentation here and there, but this album lacks any cohesiveness in it. It’s like a compilation of different styled singers and writers with the same backing band. Furthermore, considering it took him seven years to complete, makes this even less palatable. What happened to the melodies? They’re forgettable, reheated versions of either older Boston songs or, even worse, other people’s stuff. What happened to the production? Who on Earth allowed Tom to use those dreadful drum hi-hat sounds yet again? Why does a Boston album sound as if it was played by one guitarist and a bass player with a machine drum? Where are the cathedral orchestrations and attention to arrangement detail? In previous times we have seen Tom hit and sometimes miss but always with the saving excuse of his perfectionism and craftmanship, because one could feel the gargantual effort and monumental work devoted to each note, each sound. This is not an album that took so many years to record, as Third Stage or even Walk On proved with their multitude of angles and musical corners… This is an album that might have taken years “to release”, but sounds as if it was written, recorded, and (worst of all) produced and engineered in Ramones-like time… which would have been nothing negative (I value the Ramones a lot) if it sounded fresh, innovative and raw. But instead it sounds bland and undistinguisable from any one of the hundreds of substandard low-key melodic rock releases plaguing record shops worldwide. Redeeming features: The marvelous I Had A Good Time, and You Gave Up On Love, worth at least a listen. Wait for the next one.

    Posted on February 26, 2010