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The Alan Parsons Project - Vulture Culture CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

2.36 | 233 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Back in the days long since passed when my goal in life was to be a member of a successful and wildly famous rock & roll band, I used to have involved discussions (that's putting it tactfully) with one of my writing partners concerning the folly of his so- called "formula" for manufacturing hit songs. His theory was to compose tunes that sounded like the ones currently residing at the top of the charts. My retort was that by the time we penned, recorded, packaged and marketed those golden ditties at least a year would have come and gone and so would've the fickle taste of the public without fail. This album is a case in point.

By the time this LP hit the stores the team of Parsons & Woolfson had for years ceased all pretensions of attempting to be trail blazers and settled into the safer role of trend followers which, for the reason I stated above, doesn't work. And, lest you somehow be misled, there's not a smidgen of prog to be found here. Not a whisper. What you will discover is eight MTV-infected commercial tracks that sound like somebody else wrote them.

The aptly named "Let's Talk About Me" rolls out first and it perfectly epitomizes the narcissistic attitude of the 80s. This one bears the distinctive mark of Supertramp except that it doesn't come anywhere close to measuring up. If you were to mix the post-Gabriel/Hackett version of Genesis with a flash-in-the-pan video combo like the Thompson Twins you'd probably hear something akin to "Separate Lives." The next cut is actually rather charming and could possibly have been a smash for someone in the George Michaels mold. "Days are Numbers (The Traveller)" is a smooth, slick but memorable song that has a decent sax solo to enjoy. "Sooner or Later" follows and if you didn't know better you might swear that it's a tune from the Norwegian band A-Ha. (I hope I'm not making you nostalgic and/or nauseated for the 80s with all this but I'm honestly telling it like it is.)

Disco lives! Or at least it does on the title cut, "Vulture Culture," which sounds like a cross between Huey Lewis & the News and Michael Jackson. I think you catch my drift. But the plastic, soulless instrumental "Hawkeye" takes the ribbon for the worst tune on the album. It sounds like it could have been used as background music on a TV spot advertising "Barbie goes to the Ecstasy Rave" or something. It's embarrassingly lame. "Somebody Out There" starts off just like an Elton John number but then turns into something more fitting the movie "Flashdance." You know what I'm talking about, too. Makes you want to dance like a maniac. The ender, "The Same Old Sun," imitates the patented torch song methodology of Chicago complete with Peter Cetera- like vocals and it's sappier than a Vermont maple tree.

Of course the production and engineering is flawless as always and, for an AOR contemporary pop album, it's not too shabby. But this is a progressive rock website and that description's not going to make anyone reading this eager to fire it up in the CD player anytime soon. I mean, just look at the release date and that should tell you volumes. For fans only. 2.4 stars.

Chicapah | 2/5 |


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