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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover

BRAIN SALAD SURGERY

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 1303 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars One of the best albums of ELP and certainly their last good one. Sure, you really start seeing/feeling/smelling the excess and self-indulgence here, but at least they still have good music to offer. One of the things about Brain Salad Surgery(a euphemism for oral sex apparently) that I like but some criticize is Palmer's use of electronic percussion. "Toccata" is one of my favourites here because it is so electronic and crazy. ELP fans were already used to Emerson going apesh*t on his Moogs, but I wonder what they thought when they heard this song. Like me, they probably thought it was Keith making all those strange electronic noises. But no, Palmer had a special synthesizer drum-kit made for him. By the time electronic drums were becoming popular in the early 1980s, nobody was making music this adventurous in the mainstream anymore. Palmer also uses his new toys at the very end of "Karn Evil 9". Come to think of it, it must be him making those weird electro-marimba sounds in the middle of "Karn". (Okay, I admit I'm not exactly sure where one 'Impression' ends and the next begins; I'm used to listening to this as one whole 30-minute piece).

"Benny The Bouncer" is as pointless as "The Sheriff" and "Jeremy Bender". Next. Of Lake's ballads, only "From The Beginning" is better than "Still...You Turn Me On". Although it has some lame lyrics(somebody get this guy a ladder!), the music and Greg's vocal performance are great. I just love that twangy wah-wah part. "Jerusalem" is a fine 'cover' song if you will. One of their best 'cover' songs(some might say "interpretation" but whatever). "Karn Evil 9" is the heart of the album obviously. I've only heard this album on CD so I can't say for sure if the first part of the first impression was on one side of the vinyl and the rest on the other or not. I actually know somebody who has this album on vinyl, but I didn't think to check if this was the case or not before typing my review. Anyway, there are some more stupid lyrics here("seven virgins on a mule, keep it cool, keep it cool"). Didn't Pete Sinfield write some of the lyrics here? He goes from "Epitaph" to writing bad ELP lyrics to writing a hit song for Celine Dion. Yikes.

The music on "Karn" goes from mediocre to great. I love the robotic voice at the end. The playing on the album is generally great with not too much showing off. The cover art is classic (apparently the original painting was stolen recently). The production is a step down from Trilogy, which I think is their best and most consistent album. This doesn't deserve 5 stars mainly for the production, "Benny" and the fact that they didn't compose the first two tracks. So I'll give this a 3.5 but round it up to 4.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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