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The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot CD (album) cover

I ROBOT

The Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.80 | 462 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Even the Cylons are bored

"I Robot" was the second album for Parsons and fails to truly impress as a progressive work certainly, but even if measured as a rock album solely. I can enjoy the conceptual nature and science fiction themes along with the stellar production/crisp sound. There are some well crafted pop hooks and catchy tracks, but ultimately this is a rather unfulfilling overall experience. I think there are two very good tracks here: the amazing, perfectly constructed "Some Other Time" which used to completely blow me away in the upstairs of a friend's house during our "listening and partying" days. It features a haunting and seductive piano, acoustic guitar, gentle keyboards and emotionally distant vocal, along with song construction that builds beautifully. It literally floats as it captivates the listener. There is also the fine FM radio track "Breakdown" which is pure ear-candy while simultaneously getting darker. Dramatic choirs and orchestration build at the end, and although this is not exactly Magma MDK territory, it is very effective musical storytelling with a rather simple beat and cautious pace. Much of the rest of the album however languishes in a sort of middle gear with flat ballads and quite lightweight instrumental passages. "I wouldn't want to be like you" is a truly dreadful track regardless of whether you seek prog, rock, or pop. Parts of the album can sound more like the background music for your local TV newscast as they head into commercial break, rather than groundbreaking progressive rock. The "instrumental" sections like "Total Eclipse" and "Nucleus" were probably designed to give the album highbrow or proggy credentials but are either too short or too bland for much effect. "Genesis" is only a bit better interjecting some life in the form of a dreamy guitar solo, but again, it simply fades before ever truly compelling you. The album seems to be shooting for a more approachable version of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" but it fails in that respect, it is neither as gripping nor as interesting as what Wright achieved on that track. "I Robot" is not a horrible album but rather one which promises more than it delivers. I think reviewers over the decades have played into that mindset by overstating its importance. While I can occasionally enjoy the album for mostly nostalgic reasons, I have a hard time recommending it beyond fans of the band. It provides a few good moments scattered throughout an otherwise forgettable album.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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