Wednesday, October 22, 2014


There are deluxe editions and box sets and such, but sometimes it's better to have a classic album reissued as simply as possible, to hear just the magic the way it was originally. There are demos and alternate versions of Big Star tracks around, but leave them on the other sets, here's the first, wonderful album on its own.

This is the band when everything was still possible. The quartet knew they had a bunch of brilliant songs, and with any luck at all, they'd have a hit album. Alex Chilton was a young veteran, and had picked up tons of tricks and knowledge as the singer in The Box Tops, touring and being friends with smart music-makers. Chris Bell was a songwriter and studio fiend, with great ideas and the ability to get those sounds onto tape. The fact these songs from the early '70's still sound perfect says it all.

This album is a celebration of rock and roll's power. Not power chords or hippy ideals or us against the man; it's the power we all got from hearing music which spoke to us as kids, separated us from our parents, and gave us freedom. There's a reason That 70's Show used In The Street as its theme. Look at the faces of the actors goofing around in the car, it's that power and feeling. Then listen to the defiance in Thirteen, as the singer and his girlfriend bond over a Rolling Stones song and defying parental authority. The whole album is wonderful though, made with love and hope, and slowly, it came to the acclaim it deserved.

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