Monday, April 19, 2010

Boston


Band: Boston
Album: Boston
Best song: Every song on this record is amazing, but "More Than a Feeling" is the best.
Worst song: "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" is not the best song on the album, but it's damned fine.

Friday saw my first byline in the very reputable Atlantic Web site. The Atlantic is something of a high-minded publication, not dissimilar to the New Yorker and its ilk. The magazine focuses on some more analytical thinking and interesting subject matter. You know, the type of publication that publishes real writers.



As anyone who's trampled around this site has seen, I'm not much of a man of letters. Indeed, I use a bunch of similar rhetorical record review devices, bring up the same theories over and over, go on long tangents and, eventually, just misspell everything. I haven't considered myself a writer, basically, ever. My love has always been talking, criticizing and opinionating. That I've ended up doing it via the written word is just laziness, really.

In my dreams, I matter on talk radio or on a podcast or something wherein I talk. In my dreams, I'm a TV talk show host, but, of course, I'm not a handsome man and I never got into broadcast early enough for it to matter. I tried podcasting and that shit is hard. I'm too lazy to book people, edit the podcast, etc. I'd rather just sit down, fart out 500 words and hit publish. It's super easy.

Which is how I got here. A reporter for my actual awesome job (Web Producer here) freelances for The Atlantic and introduced me to the Culture Channel editor a couple of months ago. I guess Alyssa liked some of the stuff I'd written on my blog -- mostly the top 100 of the decade. So, I met the editor. Her pitch was partially to cover more stuff on the Atlantic site she was specifically interested in a non-pretentious person who bring a non-Williamsburg viewpoint to the site. I gave her the address to this site and mostly forgot about it.

So, come to Thursday and I got an email from the editor asking if I wanted to write something about Peter Steele, the dead guy from Type O Negative. I'm not the world's biggest Type O fan, but I do like them and have some of their records. I have a feeling the editor -- upon Alyssa's recommendation -- saw my top 100 of the decade stuff and saw that I had Mastodon and Isis in the top five and thought "metal." Sort of ironic, being that metal isn't even my most favored genre, but I do have a decent working knowledge of it. I can drop names.

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Which has absolutely nothing to do with one of my favorite albums of all time. At one point in my life, I claimed that I listened to Boston at least twice a week. All the way through.

The guitar work on Boston's debut album is groundbreaking in that the harmonized solos and specific sound that Tom Scholz perfected. After attending MIT, Scholz essentially locked himself in a basement to record most of what would become Boston, while tweaking his guitars, amps and overall sound. Epic bought the demo -- Scholz wanted to release it as is -- and forced Scholz to spend some time in a studio with a drummer and vocalist. Scholz recorded most of the keyboard, guitar and bass parts himself (mostly in his basement, as he cut a deal with the album's producer).

Scholz hates the record industry (sample quote: "The [music] business would be a good thing, except that it's dominated by drug addicts and businessmen.") and a lot of that comes from his early experiences with this album. It's sort of outstanding that Scholz hated the process so much; the product is, essentially flawless.

Three singles from the album scorched the charts, including "Foreplay/Long Time," a near-eight-minute prog/pop opus. Of course, Boston was for many years, the best-selling debut album of all-time (Appetite for Destruction, I believe, has since surpassed it). The album has sold 17 million copies. It is no. 12 on the best-selling albums of all time.

The soaring guitars, Brad Delp's long reads, the easy basslines, the riffs... Boston is about as good as it gets. I still listen to it once a week.


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NylaWoodcock0502 said...
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