Monday, 13 May 2019

Chicago - Chicago X (1976)

  

Released June 1976

By 1976, Chicago had long abandoned the bloated, jazzy, experimental double albums that made up their first three offerings. This was their eighth studio album and they were now concentrating on succinct, perfectly-formed, short poppy songs. This album forms a transition point from Chicago "phase one", finally, into the more commercial, easy-listening band that may people only knew them for being. Yes, this album contain the huge hit single that became their most famous song, but there is also still some pretty credible horn-driven, upbeat soulful rock on here. People who bought the album on the back of "If You Leave Me Now" may well have found themselves a little disappointed. Not me, I have always been pleasantly surprised by the album. It is certainly no "easy listening" offering. It is far more of a funky rock one.

TRACK LISTING

1. Once Or Twice
2. You Are On My Mind
3. Skin Tight
4. If You Leave Me Now
5. Together Again
6. Another Rainy Day In New York City
7. Mama Mama
8. Scrapbook
9. Gently I'll Wake You
10. You Get It Up
11. Hope For Love

"Once Or Twice" is a surprisingly frenetic, horn-powered lively bar-room rocker of an opener, while "You Are On My Mind" changes the feel completely with a summery, samba-influenced groove. There is a bit of Tower Of Power about the horn parts. "Skin Tight" is a solid, muscular piece of bassy funk rock.

"If You Leave Me Now" was a number one single, it was considered a bit of a throwaway by the band themselves. What did they know, huh? It has been heard thousands of times, but that still doesn't detract from its perfection. It is so nostalgic for me. Reminds me of the cold winter of late 1976 and the video clip of the band in concert that was shown on "Top Of The Pops". Of course, nobody could reproduce Peter Cetera's falsetto when singing along.

"Together Again" is another chunky, brassy rocker. "Another Rainy Day In New York City" is sort of Paul Simon-esque in places, with its cod-Latin rhythm. "Mama Mama" is a slow tempo, sweet soul number that will please the "If You Leave Me Now" fans. Some delicious brass on it. "Scrapbook" is an infectious piece of funk rock with more Tower Of Power influence. "Gently I'll Wake You" is a Paul McCartney & Wings-ish mid-pace unthreatening number. "You Get It Up" serves up more of that punchy, brassy stuff with considerable funk. Wah-wah guitars all over the place. "Hope For Love" is a soulful "message" song with some big orchestration. Overall this is a lively, appealing album that contains no tracks remotely similar to its most famous inclusion.

B-

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