Friday, May 30, 2008

Love - Forever Changes Collector's Edition (Elektra, 1967, 2008)

Arthur Lee's band Love was one of the most artistic and creative bands of the early rock 'n' roll era. On this album they employed string arrangements and other additions to create a masterpiece of songcraft, raising the idea of pop music to high art. This album has been re-released several times, and this current edition is a two-disc set with the original album on disc one and then disc two containing an alternate mix of the album and some B sides and singles. Set at the height of the Summer of Love, Forever Changes spoke to both the joys and the fears of that time in America. The psychedelic arrangements of "Alone Again Or" and "andmoreagain" are framed by gentle strings and a wistful melancholy with a longing for peace and justice. But amidst all of the incense and peppermints, is the undercurrent of unhappiness and anxiety in the lyrics of "Little Red Telephone" and "The Daily Planet" shows the fears of racial inequality and war. The alternate mix of the album really isn't that much different than the original version, only having slight variations in arrangements or vocals. There is an excellent booklet of liner notes with essays and photographs included. This expanded edition is probably best geared toward fanatics of either the band or psychedelic rock in general. But the album itself in it's original state shouldn't be missed on any account. Along with the work of The Beatles and The Velvet Underground, Love was expanding the idea of rock 'n' roll and enlarging thepalette available for all of the musicians that followed them.

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