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Gentle Giant - Giant For A Day CD (album) cover

GIANT FOR A DAY

Gentle Giant

 

Eclectic Prog

2.30 | 432 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Review Nš 187

Gentle Giant was never a band with great mass popularity and great record sales. With the arrival of the punk and the new wave by the late of 1976, Gentle Giant saw their popularity and the support of their fan base decrease. Pressed by their record label they decided to change their type of music. A first attempt was made on their previous ninth studio album "The Missing Piece", where they simplified their music and introduced a few songs clearly influenced by pop, punk and new wave. Still, "The Missing Piece" remains an album with many characteristics of the usual band's sound.

However, and especially because the sales of that album, which were very poor, they decided abandon definitely their counterpoint on vocals and their type of music strongly influenced by the classical and medieval sounds. Somehow, certainly they were eluded by the commercial success hoping to increase their fan base. So, it was in that very peculiar context that appears "Giant For A Day" which is generally acknowledged as the lowest point inside the band's career.

Even not the most pop oriented moments of "The Missing Piece" could have prepared anyone for the utterly horrible heap of worthless crap on this album. "Giant For A Day" is just so bad that I still can't believe it. They should just have continued with their own sound, as they would have had their faithful fans anyway and not much would have changed at all. I'm sure that also always was the band's attitude, but pressured from Chrysalis probably caught up with them in the end. But what's even far worse is the shockingly poor material. For a cult band like them, it was a real fatal disaster.

"Giant For A Day" is the tenth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1978. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman, except "Take Me" written by Derek Shulman and John Weathers and "Friends" written by John Weathers. The album has ten tracks. The first track "Words From The Wise", the song choosen to open the album, is a pop song with nice vocal harmonies, but apart from that it's monotonous and repetitive which has the effect of making the song appears to seem much bigger than it is. I seriously wondered if the record was skipping. The second track "Thank You" is a slow sentimental love song almost acoustic, very simple and is close to a Gentle Giant's folk/pop/rock song. But it's so lame and uninspired as a song possibly can be, and Derek Shulman delivers his weakest vocal performance on the album. The third track "Giant For A Day" is a very strange song that in certain parts reminds me Sparks. It's an upbeat rock song with an interesting guitar line, clearly influenced by the new wave. The final effect isn't too unpleasant at all, really. The fourth track "Spooky Boogie" has a mysterious and experimental beginning that reminds us vaguely the typical Gentle Giant's sound. This is the only reminiscent song that reminds us the goog old times of the band with some good musical instrumental workings. The fifth track "Take Me" is, in my humble opinion, an interesting song. It's a nice pop song with a catchy melody. Sincerely, I don't dislike this song at all. It's a simple and emotional power ballad. The sixth track "Little Brown Bag" is a pop rocker song with good rhythm, some good guitar work and energetic vocals, but, in reality, it's a very vulgar song with nothing special on it. The seventh track "Friends" is the shortest song on the album and is the John Weathers' song. It's strictly a very direct commercial song. It's also a very vulgar song with nothing special on it, like the previous track. The eighth track "No Stranger" is another uninspired commercial pop song very monotonous and repetitive. It's one of the weakest songs on the album without making any positive impression, and consequently, nothing is really satisfactory on this song. It continues the uninspired spiral which makes part of the all album. The ninth track "It's Only Goodbye" is apparently a very nice and interesting love ballad, but unfortunately is incipient and repetitive without any kind of imagination. It isn't a very interesting song too. The tenth and last track on the album is "Rocker Climber", and as the name says, is another rocker song. I don't get excited with this song because is a vulgar and uninspired song, more typical of a pop rock vulgar band than a great band like Gentle Giant are. It's with "Little Brown Bag" the two cheesy rockers on the album.

Conclusion: "Giant For A Day" is a complete fiasco. It's without any kind of doubt a mediocre album and the worst Gentle Giant's studio album. It isn't a really progressive album and hasn't enough quality to be a Gentle Giant's album. It's a bunch of disconnected songs, most of them mediocre, without a guideline, where we have a clear perception that the group doesn't know what to do. It's probably an album that shames the band itself. With this album, Gentle Giant made the big mistake of leaving their unmistakable style of music, which made of them a so special and beloved band. Few progressive bands knew how to change their type of music with some quality and commercial success. In my opinion, only Genesis knew to create good pop songs, especially because Phil Collins is, in my humble opinion, a great pop composer. To finish, we may say that Gentle Giant weren't giants just for one day. They were giants for eight years. So, let us forget and absolve them of "Giant For A Day" and "Civilian", and remember them as the great band they were.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 2/5 |

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