Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Review: Love - Forever Changes (2008 Collector's Edition)

Label: Rhino

Released: April 22, 2008

Love is a second rate band, but at perhaps the creative peak of rock music. They existed at a time when the old marriage of R&B and C&W that was rock n roll was experimenting with a lot of new partners. Love was a part of that. At times, the result was brilliant, making it clear why no less than Jim Morrison found them inspirational during their sets on the Sunset Strip. But just as often, they floundered as they tried to push rock music to new levels.

1967's Forever Changes is in many ways a great snapshot of that period, precisely because it struggles. It isn't Sgt Pepper's or The Doors, but those records have become timeless with generation after generation discovering them anew. Forever Changes is an awkward album stuck in awkward time, giving it the appeal of primary source material rather than being reinterpreted over time. Does that make it essential? No, not for the casual listener. However, for those who want a less rosy glimpse of how rock music got from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to Led Zeppelin and Queen, this album is perhaps the perfect document.

For every great track, there are a couple more that dabble too heavily in show tunes or force a good idea rather than let it take shape. All in all though, it's messy, but not too difficult to get through once or twice. It's not a classic, but does provide a perspective that the classics can not and therein lies its real value.

The 2008 Collector's Edition of Forever Changes is two disc set that includes the original album as well as an alternate mix and some outtakes. The alternate mix serves no real purpose. The album's value is more historic than artistic, so a new mix only amounts to filler. Some of the outtakes are interesting though, because they show the mindset of a band trying to push the limits.

Satriani: 6/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 5/10
Aretha: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.

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Blogger The Mad Hatter said...

From my vantage point, the fact that this hasn't had that timeless quality is kind of refreshing. I also think the messiness that you speak of isn't a detriment, either. I only heard this up until very recently (relative to my life, anyway) and it just blew me away. No, they weren't destined for immortality like the other bands around them -- but this is a great album. The reason everyone knows and loves The Doors is in part because every album was equally good. Love, unfortunately, only did it this once. Essential? Absolutely. To whom it gives joy, that is. I would hope every album you own is essential. As for casual listeners, let them keep stacks of greatest hits albums -- their ears are the problem -- not the bands; they don't deserve to hear a band's back catalog or some more obscure band because their ears aren't deserving. Do you feed a cat filet mignon? I understand where you're coming from with this one, but if you don't flounder, you don't thrive. These guys just never got that far. If they did, maybe Forever Changes wouldn't be their best album.

7:19 PM  

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