Eagles- Hotel California (1976): 9 March 2020

Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

Welcome back to Your Dad’s Car Stereo! We’ve got a big album this week and one that I’ve been looking forward to covering for a long time, Hotel California by the Eagles. I’m a big fan of the Eagles and Hotel California is one of their most complete albums. The whole album was designed as a concept album for the American Bicentennial and attempted to show some of the darker underpinnings of America, represented by a state that stood for America on a global scale due to the entertainment industry, California. Hotel California has a few major themes running through it, primarily criticism of excess and loss of innocence, all punctuated by a more traditional rock sound than the country rock sound that defined earlier Eagles albums.

Hotel California might be one of the best albums ever released. It had stiff competition in 1976, barely losing the Grammy for Album of the Year to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours (another legendary album!). Despite this, Hotel California is the perfect representation of a classic rock album, and I can’t think of many albums that could give it a run for its money. The lyrics are crafted masterfully and make you tune in more to the songs. I’m not normally a ‘lyrics guy’ but I was hooked from the title track. There are a lot of highlights on this album and even a few songs that don’t get so much attention that deserve more in my mind. Hotel California is one of the greats in the classic rock genre, so take some time and give it another listen. Enjoy!

Dad’s Thoughts- The Breakdown

Hotel California: What a way to start an album. It doesn’t get any better than “Hotel California.” As soon as you hear the iconic guitar picking and the pounding drums, you know exactly what you’re listening to; there’s no mistaking it. Musically, “Hotel California” is practically perfect. The guitar solo that plays the song out is legendary and one of the best executed guitar solos ever put to vinyl. What always strikes me about “Hotel California” is the contrast between the softer picking guitar paired with the vocal harmony compared to the harder electric guitar in the background. You almost don’t notice the electric guitar until it becomes the focal point of the song at the end. That shows great balance and awareness from the musicians not to overload the song and lets the listener focus more on the lyrics of the song. It’s almost impossible to have a better song start an album. Well done. Dad’s Rating 10/10

New Kid in Town: This is a big shift from “Hotel California,” but “New Kid in Town” manages to capture a lot of the magic of “Tequila Sunrise” from 1973’s Desperado. “New Kid in Town” is a good ballad with solid vocal performances and a charming guitar. My only fault with the song is the backing keyboard. It seems like it’s not mixed well in a lot of places and pulls me out of the song. Dad’s Rating 7/10

Life in the Fast Lane: My second perfectly rated song on the album, “Life in the Fast Lane,” receives full marks for how classic it is and how good of an example of a blues-rock inspired song it is. The production value on this track is one of the best parts of the song. Listen to the vocals and notice how they’re a little fuzzy. It plays so well into the sliding guitar and bass heavy sections of the song. That same sliding guitar and heavy bass through the choruses are iconic, and I love it every time I listen to it. Dad’s Rating 10/10

Wasted Time: I combined both the first “Wasted Time” and the reprise that starts the B side into one song since they are parts of a whole. “Wasted Time” was a real hidden gem for me. It’s a slower song, and I’ve already said that I have problems with ballads since they usually put me to sleep, but there’s something special about “Wasted Time” that actually keeps my attention. The piano and crooning vocals are beautifully simple. I know we talk a lot about Don Henley’s voice, but this might be his best performance for the Eagles. The rest of the band stayed back and let him do his thing and it sure paid off! The crescendo through the song, adding strings and a backing chorus gives “Wasted Time” such an epic feeling, on par with a song like “Desperado.” This might be one of my new favorite Eagles songs. If you haven’t listened to this one much before, I highly recommend giving it a second chance. Dad’s Rating 9/10

Victim of Love: “Victim of Love” is one of my favorite songs on this record. The instrumentals have so much power that are able to punctuate the song with ferocious chords and accented nicely by Henley’s comparatively softer vocals. This is a great rock song that features a great ending refrain. The last 20 seconds of the song are some of the best once the vocal harmony amps up and the guitar is unleashed. Truly an example of how to do a rock song the right way. Dad’s Rating 10/10

Pretty Maids All in a Row: What is it about the Eagles and ballads that they manage to keep my attention?! If I had to guess, I would say that it’s a high degree of competent musicianship, interesting song composition, and a soft country rock sound. I’m a sucker for a country rock sound and “Pretty Maids” delivers on that front, particularly on the guitar solos where we get some slide guitar. The soft vocal harmony at the end of the song might be one of my favorite moments on the album. It’s so touching and perfectly executed that you can almost hear the band singing to the ‘Pretty Maids.’ Dad’s Rating 7/10

Try and Love Again: “Try and Love Again” is probably the most forgettable song on the record, buried on the B side after a really good ballad. Having said that, it’s still a good, classic Eagles, soft rock song. The vocal harmony is tight if not as spectacular as other songs. The instrumentation is good if nothing to write home about. “Try and Love Again” is a good song all around, but I won’t remember it after this review. Dad’s Rating 6/10

The Last Resort: We finish off Hotel California with the last ballad of the album. “The Last Resort” (appropriate considering that this is the last song on the album titled Hotel California) is more than it would initially appear to be. This seven-minute long song builds into an orchestral finish that fades out with only instrumentation. There are lots of interesting pieces throughout the song, but the highlight is again Henley’s vocals. Hotel California was where he was in some of his best form and the pureness of his voice shines through on “The Last Resort.” This track feels like a very fitting ending to an epic album. Dad’s Rating 7/10

The opinion above is protected under the Fair Use provision of United States Copyright Law, 17 U.S.C §107 which allows for the fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism without infringement on the copyright.

Kansas- Leftoverture (1976): 17 February 2020

Kansas – Leftoverture (1976)

Welcome to another week on Your Dad’s Car Stereo! We’re going to 1976 this week with an album that many consider the opus of the American prog rock movement, Leftoverture by Kansas. Generally only known for a handful of songs, most notably “Carry On Wayward Son,” Kansas wholly embraced prog rock for Leftoverture, incorporating sweeping epic fantasy tracks, unconventional instrumentation with a stadium rock appeal. The sound of Leftoverture is interesting in that it incorporates the operatic, synthesizer driven sound of Styx with the guitar sound of Yes. The whole album is driven heavily by synthesizers with some great moments of backing instrumentation from stringed instruments. Kansas would go on to record more albums through the 2000s, but 1976’s Leftoverture would be their best-selling album during the peak of the prog rock movement. They left their own mark on the movement, particularly the American prog rock movement, combining traditional folk and rock sounds with new technology.

I’ve never been a big Kansas fan, and like many I suspect, haven’t really listened to them much outside of their big hits, but Leftoverture is a prog rock album that can keep up with the best of them. It’s just the right amount of rock out loud combined with weird music writing and instrumentation. Kansas stands apart from the rest of the prog rock scene in the 1970s though by straying further from the mainstream, particularly with the incorporation of odd musical phrasing and song structure. Where other prog rock acts were more inclined to use non-traditional instruments, Kansas seems to have gone the other way, using non-traditional song structures, particularly on songs like “Cheyenne Anthem” and “Magnum Opus.” That’s not to say they didn’t use unusual instruments as much of Leftoverture is keyboard driven and uses strings as backing instruments, but there was no inclusion of flutes (think Jethro Tull), bagpipes, vuvuzela, didgeridoo, or other odd instruments that prog rock acts have tried. I was pleasantly surprised with how proggy and innovative this album was while having some real rock moments. It wasn’t all an artistic experiment in how far rock music can go, there are some genuinely good rock songs to be found here. I hope you enjoy the album!

Dad’s Thoughts- The Breakdown

Carry on Wayward Son: We start Leftoverture with a HUGE classic rock hit, “Carry on Wayward Son.” This song remains a staple of classic rock music because of its inventiveness and the way that it disregards typical song structure, giving Kansas’ prog rock influence a chance to discreetly show through on a more typical rock track. There’s no disputing that this is a masterful song, the vocals are top notch, the instrumentation is shrieking, and the tempo changes are really fun. Dad’s Rating 8/10

The Wall: “The Wall” takes a different turn after “Carry on Wayward Son,” launching into operatic rock ballad territory a la Styx. Going for a more melodic, primarily keyboard driven piece, was a bold decision and using the guitar as a sweeping backing instrument is a different way to do a song, but it works very well! This is a solid song. Dad’s Rating 6/10

What’s on My Mind: Leftoverture has got some awesome tracks, but “What’s on My Mind” might be one of the best hidden gem tracks that I’ve listened to and is my favorite song from the record. It has tough competition against “Carry on,” but this is a more traditional rock song and I think the vocal harmonies and guitar riffs are particularly memorable. The fact that this song doesn’t get much attention makes me like it even more. Definitely worth the listen and hopefully you’ll have a new song to add to your classic rock playlists! Dad’s Rating 9/10

Miracles Out of Nowhere: “Miracles Out of Nowhere” is a notch higher than “The Wall” in my book because it’s slightly more musically interesting. I love the introduction that begins with the synthesizer and string solo that will end up carrying through the song. That’s exactly the kind of progressive rock that I love to hear; it makes for a more complex song and more enjoyable listening experience for me. The whole song has a slightly folkish, almost Irish folk music sound with the way the strings were incorporated. This is a unique track that you shouldn’t skip over if you like to hear the prog rock that’s at the limits of what was being done. Dad’s Rating 7/10

Opus Insert: You would have to convince me that this isn’t a Styx song because the reliance on synthesizers makes for an uncanny sound. Having said that, this is a good track! You get elements of the song that combine the operatic, storytelling vocals with keyboards and xylophones, almost as if to show that they can, in fact, be used in a rock song. For fans of Styx, check this one out! Dad’s Rating 6/10

Questions of My Childhood: If you expected the keyboards to stop on “Opus Insert” then you would be mistaken. There can be too much of a good thing, and by this point on the album, the lack of variation in the sound starts to strain attention spans. This is a forgettable song, particularly with the splendid “Cheyenne Anthem” to follow it up. Dad’s Rating 4/10

Cheyenne Anthem: Wow. “Cheyenne Anthem” is an epic song that would be right at home in a space epic move and deserves as much attention as “Carry on Wayward Son.” It’s creative in its use of call and response between the synthesizers, guitar, and strings. There are a lot of moments where it feels like a cross between a Yes track, particularly because of how the guitar is played through the instrumental and a Styx track from the heavy synth sound. The song builds to a faster pace through the instrumental and you want to keep listening to see where it’s going to go and how the music will change next. Dad’s Rating 8/10

Magnus Opus: Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat/ Howling at the Moon/ Man Overboard/ Industry on Parade/ Release the Beavers/ Gnat Attack: It wouldn’t be a prog rock album without an extended, multi-section song, and “Magnus Opus” fills that role on Leftoverture. In many ways it feels like a traditional rock song that has been expanded and much less progressive. The whole song is very cohesive and doesn’t feature much in the way of segmentation the way that a lot of epics in the prog genre tend to. Highlights are the wailing guitar and xylophone section on “Father Padilla Meets the Perfect Gnat,” the guitar solo on “Howling at the Moon”, and use of the synthesizer as the gnat sound throughout the song. Dad’s Rating 5/10

The opinion above is protected under the Fair Use provision of United States Copyright Law, 17 U.S.C §107 which allows for the fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism without infringement on the copyright.

Rush- 2112 (1976): 3 February 2020

Rush – 2112 (1976)

Welcome back to Your Dad’s Car Stereo. I’ve been saving this week’s album for a while now, unsure of when the best time to review it would be. With the recent passing of Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, I can’t think of a better way to pay tribute to him as a person, his artistic contributions, or the band than to review their seminal work, 2112. Written at a low point for the band after the commercial flop that was Caress of Steel, Rush doubled down on creating the kind of music that they wanted to make, knowing that their fourth album may be their last if sales didn’t pick up. The resulting album ended up featuring a 20-minute long masterpiece of Ayn Rand-inspired, collectivist lyrics known simply as “2112.” 2112 was massive success and enabled the band to release more albums, like their most popular release Moving Pictures, and experimenting with just how far you can push rock through the 80s with the heavy incorporation of synthesizers.

2112 is my favorite album, hand down, no exceptions. This album was released during the peak of what we now define as classic rock and incorporates the best elements of albums leading up to this point. The traditional blues rock-inspired classic rock sound was well-established by 1976 and 2112 was Rush’s first earnest attempt to expand on what we can call rock music by incorporating classical and Asian influences, literary lyrics, and playing around with basic strong construction. Songs like “The Necromancer” from Caress of Steel and “By Tor and the Snow Dog” from Fly By Night were some of the band’s earlier attempts at grandiose stories, but everything came into full view on this album. By this point, the band had established their sound and I really appreciate their confidence to release an album this ambitious after the sales issues with Caress of Steel. I think that speaks multitudes about them as artists, their musical abilities, and knowing their audience. 2112 has gone down as one of the most influential albums in the development of prog rock and could be considered the peak of prog. Please enjoy this masterpiece of rock music.

Dad’s Thoughts- The Breakdown

2112: Overture/The Temples Of Syrinx/Discovery/Presentation/Oracle/Soliloquy/Grand Finale-Medley: “2112” is probably the best classic rock track ever written. It’s hard to know where to start with a 10-minute song like this so let’s start with influences. Lyrically, the song is inspired by the works of Ayn Rand, particularly Atlas Shrugged and Anthem. Neil Peart was always reading and during this period he was particularly focused on the idea of collectivism. Musically, this song pulls influences from across the musical spectrum, sampling William Tell’s 1812 Overture, art rock, and more traditional blues rock with frequent time signature, tempo, and thematic changes. Lyrically, the song tells the story of a man living a in an oppressive society where all knowledge is held by the Priests of the Temple of Syrinx in their vast libraries. When the main character finds a guitar in a cave (new knowledge), the priests deride him and fear the fact that others may find out that the seemingly all-knowing priests are just that, seemingly all-knowing. The song finishes with a planetary invasion by the Solar Federation. This ending is a poignant way to end a song that focuses largely on who has control in a society, the people or the people that govern them, by twisting that and showing that neither of them were really in control in the first place. There’s so much to love about “2112” and I find something new to like every time I listen to it, and I’ve probably listened to it more than a hundred times now. For me, it doesn’t get better than this. Dad’s Rating 10/10

A Passage To Bangkok: I always thought it was hard to stand up to a song like “2112” and be the song to follow it up, but “A Passage To Bangkok” is about as good as you’re going to be able to do. On any other album this might be one of the best songs on the album too! It’s a great classic rocker. The intro with the stereotypical Asian chord progression has aged a little poorly in my opinion, but after a gigantic song like “2112,” what better to do than to follow it up with a song filled with drug innuendo. This is a substantially lighter-toned song than the one that precedes it, but that helps in my opinion. If every song were as thought-provoking as “2112” then the album would have been really heavy. Dad’s Rating 7/10

The Twilight Zone: The opening to “The Twilight Zone” is one of my favorite openings to a song as Lifeson adds depth by increasing the size of the chords. The guitar work stands out the most on this track. It’s iconic and ever-changing. Initially you think this will be a hard rocker with the intro being as powerful as it is, but then the band surprises you with soft vocals and guitar through the chorus to turn this into a howling power ballad. Dad’s Rating 8/10

Lessons: “Lessons” is just a solid rock song. Of course it has typical cryptic Rush lyrics, but the highlights on this song are Lee’s vocal performance and Lifeson’s guitar performance. I think “Lessons” gets overlooked with everything else going on with this record, but Lee manages to deliver an incredible vocal performance that ranges from restrained to wailing and Lifeson creates a superb shred on the axe. This one’s more of a hidden gem and definitely worth checking out if you normally just listen to 2112 for the title track. Dad’s Rating 6/10

Tears: “Tears” is the only proper ballad on 2112. Oftentimes a band will choose to do a power ballad to keep the energy up but still create a ‘down tempo feeling.’ Rush knew that this was a high-energy album and they needed to actually cool things off, and the decision to include a proper ballad to do that was the right decision in my mind. I’ve often commented on how ballads have a tendency to bore me, but there’s something about Lee’s voice that is so hypnotizing that it keeps you listening and hanging on to each word.  Dad’s Rating 6/10

Something For Nothing: The transition between “Tears” and “Something For Nothing” is really smooth, and listening to them back-to-back, you wouldn’t even realize that they’re two different songs. It’s also a really strong finish to the album. The sound of “Something For Nothing” is very consistent with that of “2112” and helps to tie the album together. In a way, it feels like ‘2112 Pt. 2,’ and that’s why I like it so much. As a whole, the album has lots of musical influences, but coming finishing with a song that sound like this feels like re-centering. Dad’s Rating 7/10

The opinion above is protected under the Fair Use provision of United States Copyright Law, 17 U.S.C §107 which allows for the fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism without infringement on the copyright.

Steve Miller Band- Fly Like An Eagle (1976): 14 October 2019

Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle (1976)

Welcome back to Your Dad’s Car Stereo! We’re taking a listen to, what is arguably one of the most influential rock albums of the mid-70s, Fly Like an Eagle by the Steve Miller Band. Prior to the mid-70s, the Steve Miller Band primarily focused on making psychedelic rock music. It wasn’t until the release of their previous album, The Joker, that they started shifting to both a blues rock inspired sound that was common for traditional rock at the time. Some of those early influences are still audible on this album, particularly on songs like “Blue Odyssey” and “Wild Mountain Honey,” but it’s a different kind of psychedelic rock than you would normally think of. This is a more restrained psychedelic rock sound that serves to enhance another style instead of overtaking the album.

Fly Like an Eagle would go on to be one of the band’s best-selling albums, with the only equal being the sequel to Fly Like an Eagle, Book of Dreams. This is often cited as one of the best rock albums ever made for a good reason; this is consistently a very good album. There isn’t a lot of filler, the production quality is great, the songs are dynamic, and they show a wide ability in terms of musical ability. Many of the songs from this record continue to receive heavy airplay on classic rock radio and you’ll find that even if you don’t know the song, you’ll be able to immediately identify the “Steve Miller Sound.” This is a great album and I hope you enjoy one of the greats!

Dad’s Thoughts- The Breakdown

Space Intro: “Space Intro” is a really neat way to open an album. Immediately, you know you’re being transported to another world, Steve Miller’s world, where psychedelic rock, folk, blues, and classic rock come together in harmony. The transition into “Fly Like An Eagle” is seamless too and even carries over into the song. Good start, but I wish it was a little longer. It’s hard to judge a one-minute long song like that. Dad’s Rating 6/10

Fly Like An Eagle: The title song for the album is such a fantastic piece of music. Let’s start with the instrumentals. Miller’s vocals are smooth as velvet and lightly processed to add to the spacey feeling of the song, amplified by the backing synthesizer. The syncopated drum beat during the chorus gives the song a little bounce, despite being a softer song on the whole. “Fly Like An Eagle” is dynamic in its approach to rock music and showcases a versatile style while harkening back to the psychedelic roots of the band. Dad’s Rating 9/10

Wild Mountain Honey: When I first listened to “Wild Mountain Honey” I wasn’t sure that the synth-heavy approach was going to work in the song’s favor, but with the infrequency with which it’s used it only helps to continue the spaced out theme from “Fly Like An Eagle.” I adore the vocals on this song and appreciate the fact that the band realized they were the feature on the song and put them forward. I don’t normally rate slower songs as highly as faster tempo songs (selective bias at play), but “Wild Mountain Honey” has a lot going for it. Dad’s Rating 8/10

Serenade: “Serenade” is the first ‘traditional’ rock song on the album and it’s a good one! If the whole album has continued the psychedelic feeling of the first three songs throughout the album it would have been overwhelming so I’m grateful for a break. Although this is a slightly above average rock song (with extra credit going to the vocal performance) it feels like one of the designated album filler songs. Hey, I wish every filler song could be this good so I won’t complain! Dad’s Rating 6/10

Dance, Dance, Dance: Including a song like “Dance, Dance, Dance” on this record was a brilliant idea. This is a reimagining of a classic folk song, made friendly for rock music. This was re-recorded very well and it fits squarely within the already present blues, psychedelic, and classic rock sounds of the album. Dad’s Rating 7/10

Mercury Blues: I’m a sucker for a blues rock/folk rock inspired rock song, and “Mercury Blues” hits all the notes. Musically it follows a traditional blues structure but tuned a little heavier thanks to the electric guitar. Sonically, it fits really well on this album, stuck between some ballads, some rock classics, and one or two other blues tracks. This is a solid song, but not the best on the album. Dad’s Rating 7/10

Take The Money And Run: This here’s the story ‘bout a guy who writes a blog. “Take The Money And Run” is another one of my favorite tracks that has made it onto my “Tops” Playlist. Maybe I’ll share that one day, but in the meantime, you’ll have to put it together by picking songs out of this blog! I really like the story that the lyrics tell on this song. I can’t often follow the lyrics of songs, but hearing the story about two lovers who go out and murder a gas station owner while robbing him, then taking the money and running is exciting! It’s an easy-to-follow adventure story in song format set to an infectious guitar riff. I almost feel like this song could be turned into a movie, that’s how good the detail in Miller’s storytelling is. “Take The Money And Run” will always be a frontrunner in my favorites. Dad’s Rating 10/10

Rock’n Me: I can’t believe that we go straight from a song as big as “Take The Money And Run” into “Rock’n Me!” These two are legendary rock songs that could have carried their own albums, but we get them on one album together! I’m not as much of a fan of “Rock’n Me” as the preceding song, but I recognize that it’s a solidly composed rock song that shows off the best of the band in a radio-friendly format. Dad’s Rating 7/10

You Send Me: This is one of the most surprising songs that I’ve listened to all year, and I never expected to hear it on a Steve Miller album. Maybe that’s what makes it more surprising. Immediately I get a 1950s doo-wop vibe from the vibrating, layered vocals and soft guitar. This is a peaceful song that manages to stay true to a rock sound by playing the notes and singing just a little more forcefully than normal for a doo-wop song. “You Send Me” is an absolute gem and worth your time. Dad’s Rating 8/10

Blue Odyssey and Sweet Maree: I’ve put these two together because I honestly thought they were the same song at first, and if you listen to them back-to-back, I think you’ll understand why. “Blue Odyssey” is a space-trek in 50 seconds. There’s lots of synth, but the surprising part is the transition into the Delta Blues track, “Sweet Maree.” It feels like you’ve travelled through space to get to a different part of the world and your introduction to this new world is a harmonica solo. I would have never expected that transition to work but it’s fantastic! This is just another example of how the band was able to pull on their early psychedelic influences to make a unique record that flows from one piece to the next. Dad’s Rating 9/10

The Window: I initially expected “The Window” to be a bit of album filler to round out the album, but I suppose I should have known better after having listened to the rest of this record. This is a great soft rock track that balances out every element perfectly. The vocals aren’t too far forward like was done purposefully (and rightfully so) on some of the other tracks, but are instead balanced by little asides on the keyboard and a strong bass line. Now that I’m at the end of the album, I think I can firmly say that this is one of the most enjoyable albums that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this year. Stellar album and I’m looking forward to a review of Book of Dreams in the future. Dad’s Rating 7/10

The opinion above is protected under the Fair Use provision of United States Copyright Law, 17 U.S.C §107 which allows for the fair use of a copyrighted work for criticism without infringement on the copyright.

Boston-Boston (1976): 2 September 2019

Boston – Boston (1976)

Welcome back to Your Dad’s Car Stereo! This week we’re listening to one of the biggest debut albums ever released, the self-titled album Boston. While not as prolific as their contemporaries, Boston made up for their smaller catalog with incredibly high-quality albums and infectious songs that receive more than their fair share of radio play to this day. Boston was released in the year 1976, and I would posit that this album was one of the two released in 1976 that was responsible for bringing rock music from the outskirts of the music scene to the mainstream, the other being Fly Like An Eagle by Steve Miller Band. Think about rock music prior to 1976 and after 1976. 1976 was acts as a divider between the second generation of rock, led by acts like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix, and the third generation which was characterized by the big arena rock acts like Twisted Sister, Poison, Bon Jovi, KISS, and Van Halen. Although many of the albums from the second generation were chart-toppers, rock started getting more attention thanks to albums like Boston.

Boston is a classic arena rock album and there isn’t a single bad song on the record either. Every song fits together perfectly, one into the next, there’s a demonstrated high level of instrumentation, the songs are dynamic, and they ROCK! The band made extensive use of vocal harmonization, big guitar solos, and backing keyboards that would start to come to the front of rock bands over the next few years as rock started to be influenced by New Wave. Despite this, many of their songs have calm elements that bring the listener through the highs and lows of the song with the band, and this dynamicism is why I think the band is so popular; they illicit an emotional response between the highs and lows from the listener, going from anticipation in the calmer sections to rocking out. Boston managed to put together one of the best-selling debut albums of all time and didn’t drop off afterwards, but this week please enjoy their self-titled debut, Boston.

Dad’s Thoughts- The Breakdown

More Than a Feeling: We’re starting the album off with a big one, “More Than a Feeling.” This song does what every good debut album should do; give the listener an idea about what they’re going to be listening to! “More Than a Feeling” is a perfect example of Boston’s sound; calm, strummed lows, energetic highs played with big riffs, and vocal harmonization. It all adds up to a big track and a classic rock legend. Dad’s Rating 8/10

Peace of Mind: “Peace of Mind” is one of the best songs on the album. Period. Take everything that was good in “More Than a Feeling” and turn it up to 11. “Peace of Mind” feels like the more refined version of “More Than a Feeling,” and I would be willing to bet that it’s because they sped the tempo up a bit for this song. This is an easy listening, feel-good song that is perfect for blasting on your next car trip when your getting away from it all for some ‘peace of mind.’ Dad’s Rating 10/10

Foreplay/Long Time: Do you remember when I said that “Peace of Mind” was one the best songs on the album, I had to say ‘one of’ because it shares an album with a monster of a song in “Foreplay/Long Time.” This is Boston. This is what they stand for and what they sound like. If you ever had to explain this band to your friend from another planet who’s never heard them, this is the song you play. Musically this song is practically perfect. The long intro teases you along until launching into the first of two massive guitar solos on the song. The strummed choruses provide the perfect amount of breathing room between big (and I mean big) verses. The vocals are blisteringly powerful and only slightly tempered by the vocal harmonies. “Foreplay/Long Time” may just be one of the best rock songs ever written. High highs and low lows, this song takes you through them all. Dad’s Rating 10/10

Rock & Roll Band: “Rock & Roll Band” doesn’t get as much love as the first three songs on the album or the song that follows it up, “Smokin’,” but it rocks just as well as the others. I prefer this song over “More Than a Feeling” to be completely honest. I think the energy is better, both in terms of the vocals and instrumentation, and I think the guitar solo is better. Just my personal preference! Dad’s Rating 9/10

Smokin’: Can you believe that you’ve listened to over half the record already?! That’s the magic of Boston, you lose track of time because of how good the songs are! “Smokin’” is another one of those songs where everything comes together perfectly. As an added bonus, there’s a solid keyboard solo too, which is worth point out since we haven’t heard the keyboard take that leading role yet on the album. This is another top-notch song with that classic Boston sound. Dad’s Rating 9/10

Hitch a Ride: “Hitch a Ride” is one of the weakest songs on the album, and I think it’s because we’ve been bombarded with massive arena rock songs up to this point and a song that’s more of a ballad than a rocker is just a bit jarring. It’s certainly not because Boston’s sound doesn’t translate well into a ballad, because they did a great job of it here, and I can’t fault the track ordering for the first five songs because it’s absolutely amazing the way that it is. The song does build throughout, showing fantastic musicianship to make a ballad interesting and engaging, but I wish it showed a little more catchiness and memorability. Dad’s Rating 7/10

Something About You: If you’ve learned anything up to this point, then it’s don’t trust the first 20 seconds of a Boston song. “Something About You” is a return to that fantastic sound that we’ve heard all throughout the album, but transitions nicely from “Hitch a Ride” with that soft opening. Nothing more to say here, this is another great song! Dad’s Rating 8/10

Let Me Take You Home Tonight: At first, I wasn’t sure how “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” fit into the picture with its Western-style opening, but that’s a great cover for a soft ballad. I much prefer this to “Hitch a Ride.” It addresses all of my complaints about looking for something catchier and more memorable. The western sound actually doesn’t feel that out of place either and is incorporated nicely with a beautiful vocal harmony (one of the best on the album). And it wouldn’t feel right if the song didn’t spiral up into a big finale full of freewheelin’ guitars, so they did it. I’m particularly fond of how this is the closing song on the record. “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” is just about as fitting as they come to close out a record. Well played. Dad’s Rating 9/10

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