Music Review: Corporate America (MusicTap)
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Music Review
Matt Rowe -Reviewer

Boston, long a staple of rock radio for their arena sized music, have issued their 5th album in 26 years. Fans of the band know the history, they know the songs, they revere the band. The first album sold better than 15 million with admittedly singable songs. They obviously defined an era of Album Oriented Rock and released solid material to back it up. Along comes "Corporate America", representing 8 years of hiatus and the music is changed.
While some will be dismayed at the obvious changes, others will realize the forward movement and respect it. It just depends on the depth of the fan. There are shades of the old Boston sound, varying throughout the album, song to song. Interestingly, the band's involvement appears fragmented throughout. On the first track, "I Had A Good Time", the musical chores are handled by Tom Scholz while the vocals is delivered by longtime vocalist, Brad Delp. On the rest of the album, varying support is used.

Delp appears strained in his singing, which used to be higher than what it is here. But it doesn't hurt the compositions. There are times where the signature sound of Boston just jumps out. You realize that some of these tunes could have worked on some of their earlier albums. Scholz's musicality is still effective. He knows what Boston sounds like. However, he chooses, many times, to alter the formula.

That's OK. Bands change. You can hear the change in the pleasant "Stare Out Your Window" but then you get to "Corporate America" and suddenly the band has developed a conscience. This title track, not only offers little Boston recognition except for recognizable leads, but delves into a bit of icky and reprehensible hypocritical drivel. The challenge here is lyrical credibility. Without diving too deep in the critical pool, it seems that what Scholz rails against is negated by the release of this CD. The disc was created at an environmental cost by a corporation with a bottom line that he so delicately tells to ..."shove it". He should leave the social conscience to others better suited or at least make it more subtle.

But there's plenty to appease Boston fans here just not enough to serve up a great Boston disc. Is the disc bad? No. Is it signature Boston? No, there's too much creative separation from their earlier materials. Does it fly? Sure. For those that insist that it's a disenfranchised work, they need to realize that they themselves have submitted to changes in their lives. So have Boston.

So...if you come looking for vintage Boston, you'll get it in measured doses. What you'll really get is a grown up band, one who gives you a different view of what Boston can sound like...older, different, wiser.

Good production on the disc. I would have liked to have heard more interesting channel play. The booklet is a stapled, glossy 12 page insert that provides lyrics, photos, and credits. The track listing is informative.

Boston explores different territories, especially with the curious addition of Kimberley Dahme. Not a great Boston album, but since you get so few to begin with, you have to roll with the changes. You might as well enjoy it.

Dedicated to Randy Day; the biggest Boston fan I knew. And a great friend.
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