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Supertramp - Crime of the Century CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.31 | 1659 ratings

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5 stars "Maybe I'm mistaken expecting you to fight or maybe I'm just crazy, I don't know wrong from right": ( "School" - Words by Roger Hodgson )

"Crime of the Century" is a timeless masterpiece, telling stories about what happens with individuals inside our society, what basic needs there are and what values we get taught. It's up to us where the journey goes, starting with "School", perhaps the most important song in Supertramp's Oeuvre. In many ways society teaches us that we're alone, responsible for what we do and therefore the consequences, it's our choice. But Society does also mean we're not alone, we also are responsible for one another, we are part of one big whole in which every individual person has duties as well as rights:

"Write your problems down in detail, take them to a higher place You've had your cry - no I should say wail" ( "Bloody Well Right" - Words by Rick Davies )

Justice is a major pillar of Society. But to have a right does not necessarily implicate being right, and being right does not mean that society owes you confirmation. As a community with its wealth built on rather free economy, many things depend on what individuals do possess, be it material gain or power in/over the community. More than often the individual's worth is merely judged by his possessions, not by his abilities and willingness to really serve the community. The rules of economy divide individuals into winners and losers, rich and poor. Any other essential needs tend to get neglected, especially the need for brother-love. It's a cold, competitive society, in which the basic spiritual human needs are more than often being suppressed in favour of status and security. In order to fill the gap society needs religion:

"Heaven or Hell was the journey cold that gave you eyes of steel shelter behind, painting your mind and playing joker" ( "Hide in your Shell" - Words by Roger Hodgson )

The problem with religion is that, being institutionalised and ritualised, people rely on patterns until it cannot really fill the gap anymore, while it brings another division between "good" and "evil". The individual is free to choose between several patterns, as long as they do not question or disturb the economy. The individual should not move too far away from the majority of the others, or else it is not "normal". Being not judged "normal" by the majority of society is dangerous, even if the individual in question is mentally sane. The more an individual can be recognised as "not being normal", the more its mental sanity will be doubted by its environment:

"Don't arrange to have me sent to no asylum I'm just as sane as anyone It''s just a game I play for fun" ( "Asylum" - Words by Rick Davies )

Every human being has got dreams. Being mentally sane, the individual can tell the difference between its dreams and reality. The more it gets burdened by the reality in which it finds itself, the harder it's getting to face it. There's a severe danger of the individual to escape from a reality in which it finds itself overburdened, making up a world of its own and losing the ability to tell the difference between dreams and reality, becoming mentally ill. No one wants to be stamped "mentally ill", for this means to not count a worthy member of society. No one wants to be called a "Dreamer". But to suppress dreams and desires does also lead to mental illness, and an individual being robbed off its personal dreams cannot find an individual way in order to show society any alternative possibilities lying within reality. Truth is, in order to develop and stay sane as a whole, society does depend on dreams and is in need of dreamers who, mentally sane, are quite able to tell the difference between dreams and reality but nonetheless hold on to their dreams. Those people more than often get insulted by the others who want to be seen as "normal", as a result of their fear of being outcast by the majority they're feeling safe inside:

"Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!" ( "Dreamer" - Words by Roger Hodgson )

Several individuals are solely afraid to show themselves to the outside world. There remains, of course, the need to do so, or loneliness will grow to isolation. Giving and taking between individuals is a process demanding courage because one can get hurt, disappointed, judged and sentenced by anyone, and therefore remains a risk that some prefer to avoid. There's several possibilities of hiding away and trying to overcome the feel of isolation instead of really breaking through to the outside world. One of those possibilities is, instead of living one's own life, trying to share feelings and events of others inside the world of entertainment. The world of entertainment is not at all meant to be a substitute for real life, but when a single individual person chooses to abuse it for escape, it can escape from itself for some time and delay the need to start living for himself. Sheltered in anonymity it may condemn itself into isolation, finally turning its back on society and ignoring the demands of the environment. By the time that the isolation has become normal, it may be too late to start living inside it:

"Rudy thought all good things comes to those that wait but recently he must see that it may come too late" ( "Rudy" - Words by Rick Davies )

Several individuals suffer from both, personal isolation and ignorance of a majority. Other than the aforementioned, they take the risk and reach out their hands to the outside world. They even may have found a way to express their individual thoughts and emotions. They became artists. Artists are, at best, able to mirror the state of society to their consumers. They have to find a way to make it entertaining. They need recognition and, in order to make a living, a certain kind of success that enables them to go on creating their art and get it across to an audience. There are creative forces and executing forces. The executing forces do not necessarily know what the creative forces want and allow them to do. In the end, it all depends on what is successful and what not. Anything in the world of art can be misunderstood and also fail to succeed in commercial terms. No matter how meaningful it is, no matter how important, if it does, personal isolation and ignorance of majorities will stay the same. The few people, including the artists, who know about the importance for society, are not enough. It all depends on the majority. And the majority can go wrong:

"If everyone was listening you know There'd be a chance that we could save the show Who'll be the last clown To bring the house down? Oh no, please no, don't let the curtain fall" ( "If everyone was listening" - words by Roger Hodgson )

The majority is still made of individuals. Every individual is responsible for what they do and for the consequences. If we do not recognise our real needs we won't find a way to fulfil them, and no matter how far we go in order to find satisfaction, the result will be destructive. Society does mean we're not alone, we are responsible for one another, we are part of one big whole in which we are not allowed to simply put the blame on others, we do not have the right. And, even if we're doing this for the right reasons, standing on "the right side" and keen to fulfil our duties towards the society, we are guilty just as well, though it may come to our surprise:

"Now they're planning the crime of the century Well what will it be? Read all about their schemes and adventuring It's well worth the fee So roll up and see How they rape the universe How they've gone from bad to worse Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory? Rip off the masks and let's see But that's not right - oh no, what's the story? There's you and there's me That can't be right"

( "Crime of the Century" - words by Rick Davies )

This album - I didn't even say a word about the great music it contains, nor did I mention my favourite track ( "Rudy" - not only from this album, it's my favourite Supertramp-song of them all ) - is essential in every way. No matter how old or young you are, if it serves to entertain and please you ( which is what it should ), there should be the chance of it to help you open your eyes and stay awake. Don't miss out on that chance - for your own sake and for the sake of anyone you "love".


rupert | 5/5 |


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