Becky's Reviews of Chicago Albums, CTA through 17
Welcome to my Chicago Album Review Page! Here is where you'll find my reviews of every Chicago (the Good Parts Version) album released between 1969 and 1985, plus a few extras. A few points to keep in mind before reading:
*I am a fan of Chicago and have been since the late '70s, so don't accuse me of not being a fan if I criticize something. Sometimes the people we care about the most are our worst critics, and certainly that's the case here. I don't like everything Chicago recorded; in fact, some of their music is downright unlistenable today. Some of their music, though, is among the most enjoyable ever recorded.
*So what do I like about the band? In general, I prefer songs with lots of horns to songs without; socially-conscious lyrics to love ballads; melodic and rhythm guitar playing over noise , and Latin percussion when it blends into the song rather than sticks out. Chicago does some of this better than anyone else; but then...
*My first Chicago album (other than IX) was Hot Streets; I heard all the others after this one was released in 1978, so I bring a late '70s/early '80s perspective to a lot of this. It's hard for me to put the earlier albums in the context of their times. For example, I know that "Wake Up Sunshine" sounds a lot like the Beatles' "Good Day Sunshine", and "Flight 602" owes a lot to Crosby Stills and Nash and the Grateful Dead; but I don't remember how pervasive the influence of these bands were because I was only in grade school at the time! I'll try my best, though.
*The albums are rated on a scale of I to X, with X being the highest. I only give one album a perfect X. For those of you quibbling about my use of decimal points with Roman numerals, tough; I'm a writer, not a mathematician.
*In the summer of 2002, Rhino Records began releasing remastered CD versions of the original Chicago albums, some of which include never-before available "bonus tracks." For example, the remastered version of Chicago VI includes a piano and vocal demo track of an unreleased song by Terry Kath and a version of Al Green's "Tired of Being Alone" in which he is backed by Chicago. I will not include these bonus tracks in these album reviews, because I am trying to preserve the original integrity of the albums as they were released during their time. (Also because I completed the Good Parts Version reviews before the new CDs were released.) I may add a page with the bonus tracks later.
*In preparing this site, I discovered something interesting regarding Chicago album cover art: In general, the more interesting, creative, and attractive the album cover, the less interesting the music inside, and vice versa. 13 has a great cover, but would you want to listen to it over V or VII, both with relatively uninteresting covers?
The Chicago Album Review Pages are dedicated to my mom and dad, who let me put all the posters up and didn't make fun of me, and drove me six hours out of our way to Poplar Creek. Thanks, and remember, Socrates, hemlock is poisonous.