Album of the Week 21-2014: Boston – Boston


Back when the term “Arena Rock” hadn’t been coined yet – in fact, AOR was still in its infancy – the first seeds of its sonic representation were sown by a man named Tom Scholz. While the sound on the self-titled debut of his band Boston is still miles away from the reverb-laden productions that would storm the charts about a decade later, the huge, beefy guitar sound and strong melodic hooks that would characterize the genre are prominently featured on the album. And it worked; the album sold enough to fill hundreds of arenas and its songs are still played on the radio universally.

There are three reasons why ‘Boston’ is worthy of much more praise than many critics continue to give it, dismissing it as a “corporate Rock” album. First of all, the album’s sound – including the instantly recognizable guitar sound – was created entirely by Scholz, using his knowledge of engineering to build equipment to record the album with. He tricked the record company into believing it was recorded in an expensive studio and it’s easy to hear why the executives would believe that. Secondly, all the vocal work – including the enormous and intricate choirs – was done by one man only: the amazing Brad Delp. Musically, it’s a similar story; friends were brought in for drums and the occasional guitar solo, but besides that, everything you hear is Scholz.

Besides that, the song material on the album is incredible. Over here in Europe, opening track ‘More Than A Feeling’ is by far the best known song of the album and while its melodic appeal is beyond any shade of doubt, it’s hardly even the best song here. The joyously melodic ‘Peace Of Mind’ with its larger than life chorus would take that cake. Or the classically inspired Progrocker ‘Foreplay/Long Time’, which starts out as a rocking interpretation of a symphony courtesy of Scholz, only to transform into a fantastically unpredictable Rock song during which acoustic and electric guitars battle for supremacy.

However, that’s not where the brilliance ends. In fact, every song on ‘Boston’ could have been an AOR radio hit. Closing track ‘Let Me Take You Home Tonight’ sticks out a little based on the fact that it’s the only composition of Delp and the only one recorded with the band that would eventually hit the stage, but it’s an extremely well written tune. ‘Something About You’ marries Pop sensibilities with heavy Rock guitars and triumphant leads, ‘Rock & Roll Band’ is a swinging boogie with a surprisingly moving chorus and ‘Hitch A Ride’ highlights the lighter side of the band.

Scholz would eventually become every record executive’s nightmare by taking ages to finish each album following this album’s equally brilliant follow-up ‘Don’t Look Back’, but I admire him greatly for his perfectionism. Also, I find his discomfort with playing live relatable. His dedication to studio work is a large part of what makes ‘Boston’ one of the altimate AOR classics. Delp’s unbelievable vocal work does the rest. All of you who are into strong melodies, enormous hooks and a fantastic production and aren’t one of the millions who already own it, should get a hold of ‘Boston’ as soon as possible.

Recommended tracks: ‘Peace Of Mind’, ‘Foreplay/Long Time’, ‘Something About You’

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  1. BOSTON is touring this summer 2014 and you can find the confirmed show dates on http://www.bandboston.com. Interact with us on Facebook.com/bandboston

    • Dear Gail,
      Thanks for sharing this with us. It is appreciated. Sadly, no European dates here, but I’ll be on the lookout for that.

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