Saturday, December 13, 2014
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: SUPERTRAMP - CRIME OF THE CENTURY (Deluxe Edition)
Here's a little-discussed fact. Crime Of The Century, Supertramp's breakthrough from 1974, and probably best-loved release, found its biggest success right here in Canada. While it was a big hit in England, and a decent one in the U.S., in Canada we went nuts for it. It sold over a million copies in Canada, twice as much as the U.S. I didn't even own the album, yet listening to this Deluxe Edition released forty years later, I know every note. Not just the hits, I mean the album tracks too, that's how often my friends played it.
The album came out of nowhere, the band having released two uninspired previously albums in 1970 and 1971. But somehow the songwriting clicked in Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, and they came up with a new sound, somewhere between prog and pop. They used searching lyrics, and a keyboard sound that was different for radio, the Wurlitzer electric piano. The big tracks were School, Bloody Well Right and Dreamer, each moody and dramatic, and exciting. I don't think they ever wrote better, even though the hits kept coming, especially with the world-wide #1, Breakfast In America.
This deluxe edition isn't as packed as some others, offering up only a live concert on the second disc, from 1975. The entire album is played, along with some newly-written tunes that would come out on the follow-up, Crisis? What Crisis? Fans who have complained about the too-loud mix on the earlier compact discs will be pleased to know the audio has been restored to original levels, so that's a major plus. But the biggest bonus might possibly be rediscovering this gem, one of those albums that was so big (in Canada) that we couldn't enjoy the subtleties at the time.