"Corporate America" (Artemis; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Here's something a little different. Boston's "Corporate America" is rock with a soul. In addition to the kinder, gentler music and lyrics hereon, the band gets a little political, proclaiming on the insert, "Help us Protect Life on Earth! Conserve fuel, avoid material waste, learn about vegetarian living, avoid animal products, shoot with a camera ..." Well, you get the idea.

Thankfully, and that's definitely a capital "T", "Corporate America" doesn't ram any of that stuff down your throat. Instead, they let the music do the talking, with softer rocking tunes (some almost reaching the level of folk music), gentler rockers (the instantly irresistible "I Had a Good Time") and female lead vocals on some tracks. Okay, the title track delves into the politics a little again but, again, without hammering you too hard over the head. The CD ends with a live version of "Livin' For You" from the "Walk On" album.

"Corporate America" is a completely different sounding, and feeling, album from the band that sold millions of blistering rockers like "Don't Look Back" and "More Than a Feeling." Some will no doubt be disappointed in the band's "softening," but, perhaps surprisingly, Boston doesn't suffer from that gentler trend. Instead, they simply morph into something else.

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"Third Stage" (MCA; 1986)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Boston was still viable and in 1986 they released "Third Stage" which follows along with their spaceship artwork. Although it doesn't feature the recognizable UFO that the first and second albums did, the music is still classic Boston. Even though it had been roughly eight years since their previous disc was released you could still hear those songs on the radio. There were three hits from this disc as well: "Amanda," "We're Ready" and "Can'tcha Say (You Believe in Me)/ Still in Love."

Tom Scholz used this disc to introduce his Rockman guitar processor and things have never been the same. This disc was certified gold in CD and LP format; I'd like to see any other band attempt that feat. Brad Delp is still (in my opinion) the highest voice that rock ever had and he's in fine form on "Third Stage" with rockers and ballads to his credit. Tom Scholz creates some great riffs and plays his trademark solos with precision. I saw them in concert once and they sounded just like the record.

This disc might seem a little lighter than their previous two. A few songs start with Brad crooning and then the song will pick up. This would be a good disc to play at a party because all the songs power up at some point but you might want to make your own play list to pull the heavier songs out.

Boston: Brad Delp - lead vocals, harmony vocals; Tom Scholz - guitars, organs, piano, bass, drums, percussion; Jim Masdea - drums, percussion; Sib Hashian - drums, percussion; Fran Sheehan bass; Gary Pihl - guitar on "I Think I like It."

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"Don't Look Back" (Epic; 1978)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

The follow-up to Boston's self-titled album was called "Don't Look Back." It was originally going to be called "Arrival" but an unknown Swedish band named ABBA had already released their album with that title so it was changed. The same incredible music would be heard again on this album and Boston would soften things up a bit with tracks such as "A Man I'll Never Be" and with intros that included acoustic guitar.

The voice of Brad Delp still soared above the norm and the guitar of Tom Scholz would sound even more versatile due to his recording process. The guitar also had a bluesier feel on "Don't Look Back" and those who marveled at Tom's talent would find the tablature just as challenging as before.

This album sold 4 million copies in the first month of its release which proves that people were hungry for Boston's sound again. It has gone on to sell 7 million copies since then. For those who love Boston it's required that you listen to the whole album in one sitting. One particular track that I'd like to draw your attention to is the last one, "Don't Be Afraid;" it's got one of the best guitar intros of all time. Cue it up and prove me right.

Boston: Brad Delp lead and harmony vocals; Barry Goudreau lead guitar, slide guitar, rhythm guitar on "Don't Look Back," "The Journey," "Used to Be Bad News" and "Don't Be Afraid"; Sib Hashian drums, percussion; Tom Scholz lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, organs, piano, percussion, producer, engineer, arranger, digital remastering, cover concept; Fran Sheehan bass guitar, percussion on "Don't Look Back."

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"Boston" (Epic; 1976)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I was eight years old when this album came out. I had my little Philco radio (it was yellow) and I was lying on the floor with a coloring book. It was the summer of '76, the  Bicentennial of The United States. I can't think of a more fitting time for Boston to be heard. I'm sure most of us can remember when we first heard Boston and the voice of Brad Delp ... what a great memory.

This disc is second only to GNR's "Appetite For Destruction" as the best selling debut album ever. "Boston" has sold more than 17 million copies and I'm sure they will continue to sell this one until the end of time. The music is incredible and Tom Scholz was a guitar player that everybody wanted to play like.

I had this album on vinyl, 8-track, and cassette and then I got the CD. Of course, then they re-mastered it and now I've got it in digital format. I'm waiting for the microchip to make it complete. "Foreplay/Long Time" was a song that you had to play back to back. Radio did it right and if they ever thought about playing one without the other there would be protests.

Scholz introduced arena rock to those of us who didn't even know it existed. The songs on "Boston" never get old and I never get tired of hearing them. "When we got up on the stage and got ready to play, everybody'd listen." Yes, they did.

Boston: Brad Delp lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar, producer, engineer, remastering, liner notes; Tom Scholz lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars, clavinet, organ, bass guitar, design consultant; Sib Hashian drums; Jim Masdea drums on "Rock & Roll Band"; Barry Goudreau lead guitars, rhythm guitars on "Foreplay/Long Time" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight"; Fran Sheehan bass guitar on "Foreplay" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight."

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Mar 2018 16:17:35 -0500 .