Wednesday, December 4, 2013



On Boston's first album in 11 years, and the first since the tragic death of legendary vocalist Brad Delp in 2007, the band sticks with its tried-and-true sound, one that has come to nearly define the classic rock genre.

Or, said another way, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

From the first time the world heard "More Than a Feeling" in the 1970s, Boston burned its way into rock's DNA with an identifiable sound: layer upon layer of angry guitars, harmonic solos and angelic vocals backing Delp, who could hit notes only dogs could hear.

There are three tracks on the album that feature the late Delp’s vocals. The unreleased song, "Sail Away," is about the government's response to Hurricane Katrina (it HAS been a long time between albums, right?), while the two others ("Someone" and "Didn't Mean to Fall in Love") appeared on the band's Corporate America album, but Scholz was never really happy with them and has rebuilt them from top to bottom while keeping the original Delp vocals.

Or, said another way, Scholz was unable to come up with an album full of new material in more than a decade.

"Heaven on Earth," with David Victor singing lead could be a hit single, if all the Boston fans who were "Smokin'" in the '70s remain loyal to a group who helped define what rock 'n' roll sounded like for many years.

Sadly, that audience is probably in the early stages of dementia and may not remember the band.

Other songs don't fare as well, including "If You Were in Love" with Kimberley Dahme's vocals coming off as nothing-special, and Tom’s turn on lead vocals not even passing that bar. 

Vocals by Tommy DeCarlo, the Delp sound-alike found on You Tube, are not bad, but the songwriting does not approach that of the first three Boston albums.

When you consider that there are three re-records and one short instrumental, you’re left with seven new songs in eleven years. 

And only one is good enough to be lined up against that first album.

I would think with that much time on his hands, Scholz would have outdone the first album.

I like the album, don't get me wrong-the songs are ok, the performances good and the production slick (a little overdone, but that's Tom's production style). I'm just not sure that this is an album for everyone-it's a lot closer to the last two albums than the first three.

Overall, worth checking out for die-hard fans. Nostalgic fans looking to revisit the stellar debut may want to just break that one out of mothballs.




  1. I actually like If You Were In Love better... once I get past the "a girl singing lead for Boston" part. But if they are the best the lp has to offer, it doesn't grab me. I don't think anything has since Cool The Engines. I might have liked it even more if there'd have been a shared male lead in there somewhere.

    1. CW-I do not mind the different voices, and Kimberly has a few solo albums that are quite good. But your second point is what miffs me-Third Stage took several years but was a pretty darn good album. The next three albums have been just so-so....and that's mainly the fault of the material....and Tom is writing the material.

    2. No offense, I never heard the lp. Just what I heard on the radio after Don't Look Back. And Amanda was too "let's be like Journey and Styx and make money off the teenyboppers" for me. So CTE was about it.

    3. CW-I never take offense over music opinion...since junior high school, most opinions were the depth of "your bands sucks" and "my band rocks," so I learned a long time ago that I like what I like and everyone else is free to do the same.

      If you think of the song Amanda though, it had a hook in it-you probably could still have caught yourself humming it even while you felt it was a sell out.

      The last few records are missing that.

  2. Sounds like it would be worth it for the nostalgia but that's about it. Shame. All those years to work on it.

    1. I hear ya, Alex-unless Scholz has a day job (I'd think he was set for life from the original album royalties), what else did he have to do but create music? This one is lacking in quantity and quality!

  3. Not gonna lie, wasn't crazy about what I heard. That second song in particular (as you mentioned, her vocals are just kinda... "there") is a huge turn off. Probably won't be adding this album to my collection.

    1. Don't blame ya, Bryan-I'm a completist nut, so of course I had to have it, but for me it's mostly that at a rate of less than one song a year, it should be a better album (in the liner notes, Scholz talks about working on this for more than a decade).