Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Love - Forever Changes (1967)

Who, you may ask, is Love? Up until recently, I would have asked the same question. Such is the greatness of discovery in life. Led by Arthur Lee, a highly volatile singer/composer, Love created a unique blend of psychedelic, folk, Latin-tinged melodies of a darker contrast than what their band name may have suggested. Yet, for inexplicable reasons, Love never took off, despite endorsements from The Doors and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, to name a few. Perhaps it was due to their self-destructive behavior, their drug addictions, their unwillingness to play gigs outside of L.A. All of this matters little, though, to the fact that not only are Love's first three releases absolutely solid, but that their 1967 effort, Forever Changes, is perhaps one of the greatest albums to come out of the 60s, and equally deserves a nod in a hat as one of the better records of our time.

Wait a second, who is this again? Love. You know, that band with an album full of that grand, almost perfected sense of melody, interweaving acoustic riffs and Mariachi horns, sweeping but still understated orchestral string flourishes with an almost poetic numbness; and behind the helm, the dark wordsmith himself, providing wonderful vocal contrast with the swelling around him. In "Live And Let Live," as the seeming harmony of the music plods forward, a few minor keys rise, and Lee begins to sing, "Oh, the snot was caked against my pants; it has turned to crystal. There's a bluebird sitting on a branch; I guess I'll take my pistol. I've got it in my hand, because he's on my land." And if "Live And Let Live" showcases Lee's vocal maturity, "Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale" bends it, allowing his range to slide in and out of verses to the barrage of horns and intricate acoustic layers.

Or what of "Red Telephone" in which Lee is "sitting on a hillside, watching all the people die"? In "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This," it seems that the Summer of Love itself is dying to a close. Other equally astounding tracks: "A House Is Not A Motel," "Bummer In The Summer," "Alone Again Or." Do yourself a favor, put past your apprehensions about how you've never heard of these guys and buy it now. A

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