Boston - Topic

Corporate America Play

For all the bad press heaped these days on vintage stadium rock, Boston's Artemis debut resonates with a crisp, fresh energy that's hard to find in the downscale aesthetic of post-punk. As Tom Scholz fans might expect, a metallic sheen gleams across the surface of each track, adding luster to resonant anthems like the politically correct title track as well as more intimate acoustic moments on "With You" and elsewhere. (The same sleek textures coat the album's one live track, a cover of "Livin' for You" that's marred only by the electronic snare drum, which sounds distressingly like the zap of a toy space gun.) Acoustic guitars glisten in fields of dewy reverb, while Scholz's electric leads and fills project a streamlined muscularity. The vocals, delivered by a rotating cast of guests, range from arena stratospherics to whispery folkisms; in the fashion of Phil Spector, Scholz is more concerned with blending them into his timbral landscape than with encouraging interpretive profundities. But that's fine, for Boston has always centered on one man's sonic fantasies, and for better or worse these are undimmed and as assertive as ever, even in the era of Corporate America. ~ Robert L. Doerschuk, Rovi

Third Stage Play

After rushing their second album Don't Look Back, Boston took eight years to complete the album Third Stage. The long delay is even more surprising considering that their sound didn't change at all; even though only songwriter/guitarist Tom Scholz and vocalist Brad Delp remained from the original lineup, they were the ones responsible for Boston's sound. As such, it is difficult to avoid comparisons with their landmark debut. Third Stage has some strong moments, especially the number one hit "Amanda" where the band blends acoustic and electric guitars to complement the layered vocals. However, the songs are not as strong as those on their debut, and the album is marred by the presence of instrumental fillers and an attempt to cling to a theme of "journey through life's third stage." Thus, rather than focusing on universal topics such as the exuberance and uncertainties associated with youth, the mature lyrics are lost on most of their young rock audience. Given the time between albums and the changes in the pop landscape, it was a little disappointing to find Boston stuck in the same sound. The album still sounds great when it works on all cylinders ("We're Ready," "Cool the Engines"), but the album is not filled with enough satisfying moments. This may be nostalgic pop rock of the '80s, but casual listeners should start with their debut. ~ Vik Iyengar, Rovi

Walk On Play

The production on Boston's long-awaited fourth album, Walk On, which this time took Tom Scholz a full seven years to complete, is certainly state of the art and is overflowing with detail. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Boston Play

Boston is one of the best-selling albums of all time, and deservedly so. Because of the rise of disco and punk, FM rock radio seemed all but dead until the rise of acts like Boston, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. Nearly every song on Boston's debut album could still be heard on classic rock radio decades later due to the strong vocals of Brad Delp and unique guitar sound of Tom Scholz. Tom Scholz, who wrote most of the songs, was a studio wizard and used self-designed equipment such as 12-track recording devices to come up with an anthemic "arena rock" sound before the term was even coined. The sound was hard rock, but the layered melodies and harmonics reveal the work of a master craftsman. While much has been written about the sound of the album, the lyrics are often overlooked. There are songs about their rise from a bar band ("Rock and Roll Band") as well as fond remembrances of summers gone by ("More Than a Feeling"). Boston is essential for any fan of classic rock, and the album marks the re-emergence of the genre in the 1970s. ~ Vik Iyengar, Rovi

Don't Look Back Play

The follow-up to Boston's mega-hit first album, Boston, Don't Look Back took two long years to complete, and it's hard to figure out why because it's almost exactly the same as their debut. The guitars still sound like they are being fed through computers and stacked into great walls of sound by robots, lead singer Brad Delp still sounds like he is ripping his throat out, and the harmony vocals still sound like a choir of androids warbling angelically. Most importantly, the songs are overflowing with hooks, there are plenty of riffs to air guitar to, and the songs stick in your head like dirt on a dog. The main difference lies in the semi-melancholy tone of the record. Boston was a nonstop party of a record but one look at the song titles lets you know that Don't Look Back is a little different: "A Man I'll Never Be," "Used to Bad News," "Don't Be Afraid." These songs reveal a reflective side that was nowhere to be found on Boston. Not to say the record doesn't rock because it does mightily. "Don't Look Back" has a killer riff that's very similar to the timeless riff in "More Than a Feeling," "Party" is a storming rocker much like "Smokin'" and "It's Easy" is mellow 70's AOR at its absolute best. Don't Look Back is basically Boston, Pt. 2, but don't let that put you off because even though the band was treading water they were treading it like Esther Williams. This record is better than 96.7% of the AOR records released in the 1970s, combine it with Boston and you are looking at two tickets to AOR paradise. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi

Life Love & Hope Play

This sixth studio album from the U.S. classic rock act -- who broke through in 1976 with their major hit "More Than a Feeling" -- follows 2002's Corporate America and is their first album to be released since the death of vocalist and founding member Brad Delp in 2007. The bulk of the material here was written by their linchpin, Tom Scholz, and with the record drawing on sessions from the past ten years, it features Delp's vocals on four of the included tracks. ~ James Wilkinson, Rovi

More Than a Feeling [Platinum Disc] Play

Boston's original lineup may have only issued a pair of albums during their brief tenure together in the late '70s, but quite a few subsequent compilations have focused on 1976's Boston and 1978's Don't Look Back. And this is a fitting description of the 1999 budget-priced collection More Than a Feeling. Although the majority of the selections on this ten-track collection have been played to death over the years on classic rock radio, Boston were the originators of an over the top and anthemic style that has become known as arena rock. The group's best and most renowned cut remains this collection's title track, but elsewhere there are a few strong selections that often get overlooked -- "It's Easy," "Smokin'," "Party," and an acoustic ballad that should have been issued as a single way back when, "Hitch a Ride." While More Than a Feeling is a worthwhile taster, there are far too many holes to be considered a definitive collection, especially when such Boston classics as "Peace of Mind," "Long Time," and "Don't Look Back" are not included. Also -- since both aforementioned studio albums are already "budget priced," you can snag both for just a few dollars more. [Note: More Than a Feeling is an exact replica of 1998's Rock and Roll Band, except for different cover art.] ~ Greg Prato, Rovi

Greatest Hits Play

Since Tom Scholz is such a slow worker, there were only four Boston albums between the group's 1976 debut and this Greatest Hits collection in 1997. That may mean that there isn't much music to compile, as the reliance on their biggest-selling album, Boston, suggests, but that doesn't matter for most casual fans, since Greatest Hits gathers all of their best songs, from "More Than a Feeling" to "Amanda," on one compact disc. For the collector, the record isn't quite as appealing, even if it contains three new songs as bait. These three songs simply don't deliver the melodic punch or guitar crunch that distinguishes the group's best work. It's nice to hear original vocalist Brad Delp on "Higher Power," but "Tell Me" is slight, and an instrumental version of "The Star Spangled Banner" is nearly an insult. So, for the devoted, Greatest Hits is a mixed bag, but for less dedicated listeners, it may be all the Boston they need. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Rock and Roll Band Play

For many years, there were only the official Boston albums in the group's catalog. Unlike many bands, they held out recycling their work in a series of budget-line collections, granting only a two-fer release of their first two albums in 1983. Things changed once Greatest Hits was released in 1997, since its release guaranteed the eventual appearance of records like Sony Music Special Products' Rock and Roll Band, a budget-line compilation of highlights from the first two albums. Since it's a budget-line collection, it does not contain all of the hits. In fact, it has only one big hit in "More Than a Feeling," which may well satisfy the needs of most casual fans. The remainder of the disc features one minor hit from Don't Look Back ("A Man I'll Never Be"), plus four tracks apiece from the first two albums. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
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