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Chicago - Chicago X CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.02 | 59 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
3 stars One could say that CHICAGO X was the 'Dark Side Of The Moon' for the band's career - for sure the commercial success of the album attaining Grammy awards for best album packaging (a gatefold LP with a picture of a partially unwrapped 'Chicago' stamped chocolate bar on the outer, and an amusing police-chase scene on the inner, an inner sleeve & lyrics sheet) along with the Hit Single (with a bullet, actually, several bullets world-wide - going to 'If You Leave Me Now') indeed garnered them a household name and plenty of bucks. All said, the musicality and execution of the 11 songs presented on this release are, for the most part, flawless. Accessible for sure, it's catchy and many melodies are memorable, the instrumental display, at times, impressive. This is the only album I've noticed to have every track over 3 minutes and under 4 minutes. Said smash hit, the Cetera penned 'If You Leave Me Now' was a last minute addition to the album (and it does show), forced by manager and director James William Guercio (whose dictatorship would dissolve after the following album) sees Cetera taking the lead vocal and acoustic guitar duties (Guercio on bass) along with a rather wistful Orchestral arrangement backing the track - well, for this listener it's a pleasant M.O.R. ride with some unusual key changes amongst its structure, but for most it may be a horribly over- played and way-too-pedestrian ballad. This piece paved the way for future Cetera successes and showed him off as a great singer/songwriter - but having many forget what a great Bassist he actually is (or can be). Keyboardist Robert Lamm has expanded on his choice of sounds by utilising varied e-piano textures, and adding occasional mini-moog and Hammond parts here and there. Elsewhere, there are some minor gems to be found as 'You Are On My Mind' (with excellently placed drum fills from Danny Seraphine), the funkiness of 'Skin Tight' (which boasts a great bass-line and a top brass arrangement), and the band jam 'You Get It Up' (a blowing groove with killer bass (again) from Cetera - and being a bassist, I listen closely to what he does - many may be inspired by his approach). Overall, quite an acceptable album of classic-rock/brass-rock which some Proggers may find engaging elements within. Any weaknesses I can attribute go to the syrupy 'Mama Mama', 'Hope For Love' (which colleague David Wolinski couldn't save with his mellotron...) and the try-hard ballsiness of 'Gently I'll Wake You' (with a rather goofy piano riff) . 3 stars never-the-less.
Tom Ozric | 3/5 |


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