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Chicago - Chicago 17 CD (album) cover

CHICAGO 17

Chicago

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.60 | 31 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
2 stars CHICAGO XVII (oh, wait a minute, that's '17' - by 1984, we weren't supposed to understand Roman numerals, right ??). O.K. I didn't intend on submitting a review of this POP album, but its strong parts are, well, strong, so any reader/listener with an open mind may find something to appreciate here. I strongly admire their brand of inventive Brass-Rock so it's interesting to hear how the band have evolved to (unfortunately) cater for the masses during these rather 'plastic' times - I'll try and nudge their (somewhat) syrupy reputation in a positive direction. Chicago have endured the loss of a very strong part of their chemistry with the accidental death of guitarist Terry Kath in 1978, indeed a sad, sad blow to their existence, future and inspiration. How to recover from such a sad blow ???..... Former 'SONS OF CHAMPLIN' leader Bill Champlin has been integrated within their ranks as second Keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist, and Bassist Peter Cetera has emerged as a strong composer/performer in his own right (for better or worse....). On this album we have the incredibly POPular hits 'Hard Habit To Break' (which I find to be a superb, catchy, multi-layered track, unfortunately penned by outsiders) and Cetera's own 'You're The Inspiration' (a tune he originally wrote for C & W icon Kenny Rodgers), both featuring excellent vocals from himself (and Champlin), but he doesn't contribute much Bass Guitar throughout because "when (producer) David Foster pulled out those Moog bass-lines, they sounded so good I put my Bass back in the case" (seemingly forever). There were 1 or 2 more decent tunes which garnered radio-play (the MTV clip to 'Stay The Night' is well done), but overall, the exciting creativity and jazzy twists were by now gone long gone. On a positive, this album is an incredible POP album and precursor to much of those over-the-top 80's productions (even a certain Richard Marx contributes backing vocals on a track) which could be considered as a forward-pushing move, but sadly, CHICAGO were now an idol of die-hard followers and a new crowd of POPsters who would probably regurgitate breakfast upon hearing Kath's mini-suite 'An Hour In The Shower' (from Chicago III). 2 stars. Nothing 'Prog' here, but a credible Pop/Rock album.
Tom Ozric | 2/5 |

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