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10cc - How Dare You! CD (album) cover




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3.73 | 115 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album means many things for 10cc as a musical entity with a history relevant for the development of British rock: it's the swansong for the classic quartet line-up, it's the top opus for the delivery of their elaborated pop-rock offering, it's the album in charge of keeping up with the momentum initiated with their previous two studio albums, it remains one of their most powerful works in terms of rock sonorities and cohesion among their own varied style. Although the chasm open between the two writing pairs (Creme-Godley, Stewart-Gouldman) was evident for the development of the repertoire, the performances, arrangements and sound production surely made it their best group effort. Personally speaking, it's my favorite 10cc album ever. It is only adequate that their cleverest repertoire had to be packaged in their best album cover. But let's go and take a look at the repertoire itself. The opening namesake instrumental is a funny yet somewhat intriguing journey into exotic Mid-Western and Latin ambiences (at certain moments I can tell what seem to be little quotations of Geroge Harrison's 'Within You, Without You'), mixed with alternated psychedelic and funky adornments provided by the guitar solos and clavinet phrases. It's like a musical journey that never seems to develop completely, not even as a jam, but the reason for that is that it's functional as a prelude to 'Lazy Ways', and it works very well so. 'Lazy Ways' bears a very Wings-esque feel, but it also includes a number of slight mood variations, mostly on eerie multi-tracked acoustic guitars that emulate the mind's transition into sleep. Both melody and sound production help the track to portray the laziness referred to in the lyrics. Also highly Wings-esque, albeit with an enhanced elaboration of contrasting moods, is 'I'm Mandy, Fly Me', one true 10cc classic (besdies a hit single). The middle section includes an agile section of strummed acoustic guitars and zithers, plus some fabulous (albeit too short) guitar leads. Here we find again the topic of being lost in our dreams and fantasies, this time in a more poralized fashion. Caught in the middle is the extravagant 'I Wanna Rule the World', a manifesto of future revenge from a bullied, nerdish schoolboy who swears one day will be a Hitlerian dictator. The dominant Zappaesque elements bring a special heat for the song's general R'n'B structure. Cabaret jazz music? 10cc never forgot about it, as it is shown in their bizarre tale of a serial rapist-murderer called 'Iceberg'. The candid vocal harmonies emphasize the band's sarcastic ideology, while the creepy intro and closure clearly portray what kind of danger is being faced by the protagonist's next victim. The album's second half kick off with the album's second hit single, 'Art for Art's Sake', a sort of BTO-meets-Beatles song with some psychedelic and funky tricks served in as resources for variation. Pleasant and catchy as it is, and with an amazing closing guitar solo by Stewart, all in all, it does not match the panache of 'Lazy Ways' or 'Mandy'. The following two tracks are the most simplistic ones. 'Rock'n'Roll Lullaby' is a stylish, clean blues-rock that ironizes about the show business stars' conceited selfs; 'Head Room' is a bluegrass-meets- country song dedicated to sexual initiation. The B-side's master song is the album's closure 'Don't Hang Up', a deconstructive ballad of broken love and unaccepted reconciliation. The drunkard's pathetic claims and memories and the estranged lady's stubborn refusals are graphically portrayed with a clever succession of sad corny melodies, Cabaret chorale, a loud Flamenco-fusion interlude and romantic movie's ambiences, all the way through toward the abrupt phone call's end. This song signifies a very interesting way to close the best chapter of 10cc's history. Although this is a non-prog album by a non-prog band, I label it as an excellent addition to the collection of the proghead with a sensibility for clever, multi-layered pop-rock. "Clever multilayered pop-rock": this describes the very essence of 10cc at their best.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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