Label: HL Records - none • Format: CD • Country: Germany • Genre: Rock • Style: Hardcore
Disclaimer : this page is not written from the point of view of a 10cc fanatic and is not generally intended for narrow-perspective 10cc fanatics. If you are deeply offended by criticism, non-worshipping approach to your favourite artist, or opinions that do not match your own, do not read any further.
If you are not, please consult the guidelines for sending your comments before doing so. For information on reviewing principles, please see the introduction.
For specific non-comment-related questions, consult the message board. For reading convenience, please open the reader comments section in a parallel browser window. Oops, sorry, must explain something here. If you're not sure what "meta-pop" is, well, it's pop music that's about pop music. The purpose of 10cc wasn't just making hit records; their purpose was making hit records that were, roughly speaking, spoofs on hit records. Not exactly "parodies" it would be a severe injustice to call 10cc a "parody band" but rather smart deconstructions of all possible genre cliches.
They took their main lesson from people like Frank Zappa, of course in a way, you could argue that Frank's Freak Out! Yeah, no question here, I guess.
Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore so on the early albums, really Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore the bridle on the late ones. Evens out. Overall : 3. I remember when I first put this album on and the first chords of 'Rubber Bullets' echoed through the room, I Mój Mąż Łowi Ryby - Orkiestra Taneczna Polskiego Radia - Dyryguje Jan Cajmer really glad.
I thought, 'hey, they messed up my CD and put on some Beach Boys instead'. You don't know how hard it was at that time to get some Beach Boys in goddamn Russia. Imagine my amazement I even forgot to feel disappointed when I found out that the song was indeed from the 10cc debut album. Yes : these guys pull off an absolutely perfect, note-for-note authentic imitation of the classic Beach Boys sound when they want to, down to the vocal harmonies and imitation of Mike Lowe's and Brian Wilson's voices.
And not only on 'Rubber Bullets', mind you. But that is, of course, not their only forte. This is pop music turned on itself. Sing along to this and get a brain disorder. More like Shit Music! Maturation sets in, but fortunately, this also means toning down the excesses of the previous album. Now this is certainly the band's peak.
Well, maybe not certainly : the slight amount of filler makes it less consistent than the debut, but the high points are definitely higher to me, so let's say these guys had two peaks - come on, they deserve two peaks, if only as a consolating compensation for what would come later. This is, like, the ultimate parody record of all time. Well, maybe not ultimate : that would probably be something by Frank Zappa or by Weird Al or someone like that, so let's say it's just classy.
It's not that the songs are catchier than before, but the best material on here hits so hard that you have to grasp the arms of yer armchair so as not to fall out. Well, maybe you don't really have an armchair, especially if you're one of 'em Eastern types, so let's say you'll have to do whatever you want so as not to do whatever you do not want. You know those feelings, right? Sometimes you feel so ecstatic and so puffed up and so beyond yourself you can't even write a good review? Well, maybe not all of them.
Isn't the soul considered to be a 'fume' of some kind as well? Oh, never mind. The last album for the band's original line-up, it's a slight - but not overwhelming - disappointment.
It's a bit similar to Sheet Music in that once again, the band runs all over the place and carefully avoids overblown lengthy epics, trying to pack up all their messages and anti-messages within a limited amount of minutes Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore seconds; but it's also similar to Soundtrack in that there's not as much humour and satire on the album as before; the band tries to expand more as 'serious musicians', and that's hardly 10cc's forte.
You might save the girl from drowning, but saving the band's identity without two key members is a bit more tricky. Okay, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley left the band, to form their own duo. Was that supposed to make any impact on the sound? Initially I didn't Speedy S - Thee Vaporizer - Ovrspliffed Smash Hits so.
But apparently, I just didn't have my head screwed on properly - for whatever reason I believed that Gouldman was the main creative brain behind the other three guys. Alas, it wasn't that simple. Godley and Creme left and took a the majority of the humour and b the majority of the weirdness with them.
What was left behind, then, Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore Gouldman's excellent sense of pop melody and Stewart's excellent arranging and playing talents. What REALLY gets me paranoid is this constant battle between "we're Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore smart and hip" and "we're so emotional and commercial". It ain't exactly a disaster - these guys still have enough songwriting talent not to put out something without a single redeeming quality - but it's getting ever closer, and it was truly the first 10CC album I didn't feel like relistening to, ever, again, whatever, after the necessary three times.
Time heals all wounds, and in the end I have come to realize that a large part of my bitter disappointment was due to pulverized expectations - Bloody Tourists isn't really much of a departure from the 'pacified' sound of its predecessor; yet it sure ain't better either. Besides, if Deceptive Bends still had at least a little bit of 10CC's former humour, wittiness and experimentality, this record forgets it all.
For the most part, Gouldman and Stewart just pen further exercises in soft-rock, retro-pop and adult contemporary that sound inoffensive and tolerable, even pretty at times, but ultimately forgettable.
Continuing in exactly the same way - which, naturally, means Zapateado De Las Campanas - Various - The Art Of Flamenco Featuring Carlos Montoya the records worsen with every subsequent one. It's like squeezing the last drops of toner powder from a spent printer cartridge, with the print getting finer and finer and paler and paler.
It's not a hopeless album, but I don't see even the most avid 10cc fanatic hunting for this bland, nearly lifeless piece of "music-making" or treasuring it in any way. There's not a single note of classic 10cc humour on this record, and the melodies are less and less unpredictable as they progress. Yeah right. You know, if we sum up the production, the arrangements, the craft, and the reputation, this might turn out different from the utter crapfest that I currently envisage this record as.
But I'd rather we didn't, because sometimes production, arrangements, craft, and reputation don't mean shit. Not when it comes to comparing this profoundly uninspired, shallow, and just plain boring album to 10cc's former absurdist glories. With Ten Out Of Ten Always - François Vermeille Et Son Orchestre* - Bostons, the "band" by this time, the "duo" - Stewart and Gouldman assume full responsibility for this mess hits its nadir.
If we sum up the production, the arrangements, the craft, and the reputation, this might turn out different from the utter crapfest that I currently envisage this record as. With Windows In The Junglethe "band" by this time, the "duo" - Stewart and Gouldman assume full responsibility for this mess hits its nadir.
Are they good or are they bad? As is the case with most Trecui Aseară Pân Codru - Various - Romanian Folk Collection 4 - Transilvania-Banat questions, there's no single answer.
In this particular case, it seems like the band did follow the former scenario, but not completely. More decent quality retro-pop for an audience I'm probably unaware of - or maybe for a non-existing audience. No, Nineties' 10cc are definitely better than Eighties 10cc. They seem to have come to perfect terms with their limitations, the most serious of which is being more sterile than a wombless cow. And what does a professional composer do if he's being sterile?
Option number one is to retire, but hey, they already did that. Option number two is to make unpretentious, openly derivative, openly simple music which you can dismiss for being uninteresting but can't dismiss for being unprofessional or offensive. A triple album made by two adventurous and clever guys - isn't that enough to scare the pants off anybody? Godley and Creme's solo debut was definitely not for everybody.
In fact, considering the times, it was pretty much for nobody. And considering the harsh beating it had taken upon release, it still remains for nobody, even if it's an excellent candidature for one The Ceremony - George Jones & Tammy Wynette - 16 Biggest Hits those "cult classics" that bunches of lonely Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore nerds like to construct shrines around.
And the funniest thing happens when you realise the united front of rock critics unmercifully trashed this album for the exact same reasons that the same people used to praise Frank Zappa. Now, granted, neither Godley nor Creme could be suspected of possessing the equivalent of Zappa's musical talent.
Not that Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore all that turned off by Frank's smuttiness, but having it replicated by these two British buddies would be a travesty. Slightly darker Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore more serious in tone, which isn't all that cool - I prefer their "whacky dementia" to their "moody paranoia".
In any case, just as they managed to make 'Sandwiches Of You' into a minor 'cult hit', so did they, in this particular case, succeed with the album's lead-in track, 'An Englishman In New York'. Not that the two are in any way similar: 'Sandwiches Of You' was all kiddish pranks and Justice For Money - Hookline - Hardcore silliness", where this here song actually strives for social commentary. Lush PopArt RockAvantgarde.
Prendre Un Enfant Par Le Frein (Le Vélo) - Sarclo - Michel Et Denis Jouent À Paris, Snap! - Ooops Up, Variation V - Schoenberg*, Stephen Varcoe, Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble • Philharmonia Orches, Jerry Ross Symposium* - It Happened On A Sunday Morning