Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chicago Contra Chicago

I don't approve of Chicago. WAY too many horns. The whole band sounds like a warring group of hirsute session nerds who can't decide what they actually want to sound like and so end up sounding like a committee formed to preserve the idea that white folks are funky too. That said, like a lot of groups that have, like, 45 members and at least three who think they're the "genius," you get such a hodge-podge of experiments -- "let's throw this against the wall and see if it sticks" -- you're occasionally going to get something interesting. In the case of Chicago, the ones that work are typically by Peter Cetera. If you just compiled Cetera's stuff you'd probably come away with an entirely different band. So on side two of Chicago VI, from 1973, you find "In Terms of Two," which is a truly strange piece of work, an experiment in left-turn chord changes and the welding together of disparate styles, some kind of Celtic folk-rock a la Fairport Convention soldered on to some kind of mongrel country-folk pop experiment by Cetera. My friend Doug thought this sounded a lot like solo Frank Black stuff, how Black Francis likes to throw a counterintuitive chord into the mix and achieve an angular, bent quality that still sounds pop-ful. All in all, I think it's a great Chicago song, despite the presence of Chicago.

"In Terms of Two" - Chicago

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