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Monster

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★★★★½
(33 Reviews)

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  • …–I still think that ‘69 was the turning point of the Nam Era. When the antiwar issue underwent its metamorphosis from the perceived petulance of immature malcontents (my generation at the time) as seen by the jingoistic World War II generation into a re-evaluation of that war by mainstream America as a whole. Steppenwolf’s entire historical image has changed over the years as well–most people nowadays focus on the earlier “Born To Be Wild” and consequently see them as the court minstrels of the ‘Sixties biker culture. These same people have no problem seeing Crosby Stills & Nash as protest music icons and forget that these guys were doing it when CSN were all members of other bands. The truth of the matter is that Steppenwolf has always been at their essence a blues rock band who are actually the true ancestors of Aerosmith when most people can only think of the Rolling Stones. In the case of this material here, it’s all too easy nowadays to look back at the doomsaying of “Monster/ Suicide/ America” and call it hysteria. Easier still to call songs like “Power Play” and “Move Over” collective self-pity about being on the wrong end of that era’s generation gap. For anyone who takes the easy way out so many years in the future to look back and say “they must’ve been … head cases in those days”, I’m going to fall back on this seemingly [bad] excuse; “That’s how it seemed to us back then”. I damn sure didn’t notice the inconsistency in the song “Draft Resister”. Here’s a guy who deserted the military to Sweden, but the first verse indicates that he wasn’t a draftee at all…”He had joined to seek adventureAnd to prove himself a man.”…the dude ENLISTED. So why did they name the song “DRAFT Resister? So I can spot stuff to critique in this album, too. My absolute favorite Steppenwolf album, you know? The moral of the story is that if you’re looking for here-and-now relevance, forget it, Jack–this was over thirty years ago. If you want to see this album as a historical document, that’s cool–as long as you remember that history shows some pretty glaring imperfections when viewed from the safety of the future. Above all, these are good numbers from a band that had a whole lot more going for it than status as a one-dimensional biker band.

    Posted on February 13, 2010