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Supertramp - Crime of the Century CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.30 | 1727 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars |A| Supertramp's beautiful, creative, timeless, diverse, brilliant masterpiece of artistic popular music.

Crime of the Century is widely considered by prog listeners and commercial musicians alike to be one of the greatest classic works of art-rock ever created. Many prog listeners believe that artistic integrity and commercial appeal and their audiences are inherently incompatible; this is an album, along with Moving Pictures and OK Computor, that turn that assertion completely on its head, creating radio-friendly music that is simultaneously so creative that it endures the test of time. In fact, I'd say as a musician that it is probably one of the most creative and brilliant albums in my entire collection.

The music here is comprised of delicately assorted combinations of rock, jazz, funk, blues, pop, and classical music, utilizing and blending sounds and musical devices from all of those genres to create a completely unique sounding work of art. As well, one of the things I appreciate most about this album is the variation with which these influences are mixed for each track. I don't think there is an album I have where the tracks have such huge differences in their overall sound between each track. And yet they all indeed sound like they're from the same band, same musicians and everything. There's so much depth to listen for in the band's orchestration of parts, especially now that I can hear it with a musician's ear, it's almost scary. Most of the harmonic structure is jazz-oriented, to my liking.

I'll give a description of the musical and instrument devices in the first track School, just to give the reader an idea of the diversity they are in for: the opening track School starts off with a bluesy harmonica solo, with a haunting bass figure in the background. In comes the verse with chorused wah-guitar and atmospheric keyboard pads. Then an over-driven guitar rings out a high ringing harmonic drone, which crescendos to lead into a funk driven tutti section. This leads back into a soft jazz-organ playing haunting arpeggios (similar to what the chorused wah-guitar was playing previously), topped with a quick over-driven guitar duet. After the duet fades out, we still hear the soft jazz-organ atmosphere (now joined by the guitar) that is occasionally interrupted by a quick bass/tonal percussion arpeggio figure. The drums sneak in with a flam figure, which crescendos to an exciting tutti latin-jazz felt piano solo, the harmonica coming in the background a little. This leads into the chorus, which has a phat saxophone heavy jazz-funk sort of rock sound. This leads back into the verse, with the vocal melody used during the soft section earlier in the song, only this time with the driving Latin-jazz feel that had been established before the chorus. This climaxes with the singer suddenly by himself singing on the word "way" which fades out, and he says by himself, "you're comin' along." Then the instrumentalists all hit a phat last note with a little improv from the drums, guitar, and keybaord. The guitarist finds himself the last playing, ringing out his over-driven stuff again (not as high this time), which decrescendos... very much a concert sort of ending. But, just before the guitar is about to completely fade out, the second track begins with a bang.

And this is all done in five and a half minutes.

Indeed, the whole rest of this album carries out this sort of creativity in different ways. These guys are obviously incredible musicians and composers, and maybe some of the only true professions in the rock industry (as in knowing this much about music and conveying it so incredibly subtly in their work). This is the kind of album where I notice something I never noticed before in the music, even after listening to it for over half of my life. And if you had it on score, you could analyse the hell out of it for days and always find something incredible that you missed before.

One of the glorious recordings of modern artistic music from the last century. Everyone who listens to any form of rock, jazz, pop, ec. should have a copy of this album in their home. And everyone who chooses to go into the music business related to those genres should have it as well. A staple work of progressive rock for the ages. Period.

Isa | 5/5 |


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