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Chicago - Chicago 16 CD (album) cover

CHICAGO 16

Chicago

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.44 | 24 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
3 stars CHICAGO 16 - 1982. Seems it was time for the band to re-invent itself within the commercially-minded biz of the 80's. And they did an admirable job of it ! Having heartily lapped up the band's back catalogue from their impressive debut, Chicago Transit Authority, through to 17, I can only say that the albums from XI onwards (yes, Chicago X is still fairly decent...) don't grab me a whole lot. But continuous listening to this album has finally paid dividends. For some strange reason, this album reminds me of a brassed-up version of ASIA's debut. This 16th album release by the band (17th, if you count the Live In Japan dbl LP) was where the band latched on to producer David Foster - well, maybe bassist Peter Cetera and his love of Pop music gelled perfectly with Foster's vision and production know-how and soon the band were to hit the charts once again with a vengeance. Helped by some of those precision musos from Toto - and there's the odd flashy solo from guitarist Steve Lukather (I've just learnt that Chris Pinnick takes the blistering solo toward the end of 'Follow Me'), the songs are generally A.O.R. / M.O.R. oriented but some of them are genuinely quite listenable and tightly performed as you'd expect. Obviously these songs would've sounded better live, stripped of all the studio gloss. I'm afraid that the drums sound quite poor here, not that they're played badly. Not necessarily 'prog', but tracks which I have found some redeeming qualities to them include the opening tune 'What You're Missing' - nice syncopation between drums and bass and a killer melody line at the chorus with great vox from Cetera, 'Bad Advice' has a nice 'swing' to it, the 'Get Away' section from 'Hard To Say I'm Sorry' is a brief energetic blast that's always a treat to hear - I never fail to notice some cool bass-lines here, and the wind players blowing a storm !!. 'Follow Me' works really well, possibly the 'heaviest' track Chicago have ever done, and Jimmy Pankow's jazzy tune 'What Can I Say' is similar to the softer output of the band's earlier days. 'Love Me Tomorrow' is a beautiful ballad featuring an almost Elizabethan string arrangement as a coda. Some of these songs display more complex chord and key changes which is always refreshing to hear. Pushing this album up to a 3 stars maybe overly generous, but it has grown on me like lichens to a tree.
Tom Ozric | 3/5 |

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