Boston’s classic sophmore album has finally been remastered.
Boston became an overnight sensation with their self-titled debut album (1976) which was one of the best selling albums of 1976 (as of this writing, it has sold over fifteen million copies and remains the best selling debut album of all-time). Needless to say, Epic wanted an immediate follow-up album to capitalize on the band’s momentum. Not wasting any time, Tom Scholz, (guitar) Brad Delp, (vocals) Barry Goudreau, (guitar) Sib Hashian, (drums) and Fran Sheehan (bass) started work on their new album.
Released in 1978, the two year gap between the debut and the follow-up was considered a long wait. Despite working on the follow-up for two years, Scholz, always the perfectionists, was unhappy with the final result, especially the second half. He considered the album rushed and incomplete. Be that as it may, it was still a strong seller, debuting at number one on the billboard chart and yielding three hit singles, the title track, “Feelin’ Satisfied”, and “A Man I’ll Never Be.”
While “Don’t Look Back” is overshadowed by the debut, it’s still a fine album. It’s essentially cut from the same cloth as the debut. The title track is more-or-less this album’s “More than a Feeling,” “The Journey” is this album’s “Foreplay,” “Party” is this albums “Smokin’” and so on. The downdraught semi-epic “A Man I’ll Never Be” is probably the album’s most ambitious song and the one track that separates this album with its predecessor. While “Don’t Look Back” is more or less a carbon copy of the debut, it’s not quite as strong. There isn’t anything wrong with the album; the songs are catchy, the album is well-paced, there isn’t any filler, the production is top-notch, it’s just that compared to the debut, “Don’t Look Back” plays second fiddle, in terms of memorable, great songs. Boston’s debut is such a classic; it would be a hard, almost an impossible task, to try to top.
While “Don’t Look Back” isn’t the classic that the debut is, it’s still a great collection of songs. And while Boston’s music hasn’t aged as well as some of their peers and is definitely dated, their good-time classic 70s brand of rock n’ roll is certainly worth a spin now and again.
Although Tom Scholz himself was in charge of the remastering of both this album and Boston’s self-titled debut, he has stated that he is less-than-thrilled with the results. He has gone so far as to call both remasters “abortions.” I honestly have no idea what Mr. Scholz is talking about or if I am listening to the same remasters as him. Both remasters sound superb. It’s the same music that people have known and loved for three decades, but now with a crisp, fresh sound.