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Supertramp - Some Things Never Change  CD (album) cover

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

3.06 | 101 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

rupert
3 stars "Supertramp returns ! EMI have finally invested the money it took to make the old times come alive again ! Supertramp, though without Roger Hodgson, still ( and even without Dougie Thomson, who mysteriously had been "lost" - as Rick Davies put it in the booklet to "Retrospectacle" later ), manage to still sound like Supertramp, just listen to the trademark-Wurlitzer-sound on their recent single "You win, I lose" and you'll believe ! And Supertramp are Major-Artists creating Major-Art just like Pink Floyd ( only underrated when compared to them ), so their new album had to be graced by Artwork that should remind you of..." etc ect ect !

Hm. My namesake Rupert Perry, head of EMI UK ( by then ), is a clever business man. Here in Germany, for example, the release of "Some things never change" had been accompanied by TV-advertises that, in their essence, told the watchers/listeners exactly this ( well, nothing about RH and DT not being on board, I've just added these facts for your entertainment/Information ). And, here in Germany at least, it worked. But in spite of the simple fact that Rick Davies and his newly assembled backingband ( including John Helliwell and Bob Siebenberg ) had finally managed to come up with a new studio-album after 1987's "Free as a Bird" and anyone who likes Davies should have been interested, this was not the sensation we were made to believe. It was, in parts, a pleasant return, but no more.

The very best thing about it: It does not sound like "Free as a bird". It contains some songs that are far better than any on that strange album. It really sounds a lot more like "Supertramp". But it sounds tired in huge parts as well, with 12 songs being far too much, too long, too unadventurous, especially in its 2nd half, which I'd like to forget although "C'est what" - for once more - appears to be a little more lively. I have met quite some people who raved about "And the Light" f.e., while me I never knew what it was that made them do so... I can't remember to have missed a part of this sleepy ballad, but then again... perhaps I did, because I may have slept through its exiting ( or heart-moving ) moments every time I listened through the album and then awoke again exactly at the beginning of "Give me a chance"... without having recognised my slumber, but although I can't exclude this possibility, I just don't know why then I haven't slept through "Give me a chance" ( a track that is part of my copy ! ) as well... what in the world had made me wake up ? Mark Hart's lead-vocals ? Cannot be, sorry.

It's a no go for me, he's such a tragic bore, especially on "Sooner or later", 6'50'' minutes of absolute boredom that belong to the dullest of moments in the whole catalogue of this band, just like "Free as a Bird" Tracks 2 to 4, only without any approach at sounding "modern". And progressive Rock music it ain't, either. But that would be too much to ask for, honestly, a decent pop-tune with something of a melody would have done, as no one would have expected 1997 to be 1974 again and Rick Davies giving us another "Rudy"... he may have come close to another "Crime" ( not the album, not the song, but the word ! ) if all of the album would consist of bland attempts at blues and blues and blues but slooooow, please, cause grandpa doesn't like things to sound aggressive ( he, my "Supertramp"- Grandpa, prefers the distinguished side of entertainment, sipping at his Glass of Bourbon and dreaming of how good life used to be in 1940... or any year before the Rolling Stones came to make things sound so dirty, even singing about dirty things. "Some things never change", but other things do, and perhaps, for Grandpa, it are the wrong things in both cases so he'll be pleased with Tracks 7-12 of this album, skipping Track 11, of course, cause... well, it's okay for him, but a little too hectic and a little too loud ).

You may have noticed I'm not being too serious right now but I want my review to be at least more entertaining than the low-points of this album are. Don't worry, I'm not about neglecting its highs and trying to put it down completely, cause therefore, on the other hand, it's too good. So let me try to get back on a serious pace now.

It starts out great. "It's a hard World" is kind of a sinister and dark, "negative" brother of "Gone Hollywood"... telling us the story of a disillusioned man hanging on to his dreams of "making it big", slowly going crazy because nothing ever happens... next ( and last ) could be "Asylum" again, I really love this track featuring great brass and jazzy moods ( and versatile, at parts virtuoso bass-work by Cliff Hugo, excellently introducing himself as a worthy follower to Dougie ), and if the whole of the album would keep that standard... oh, it could be a personal 5-star.

"You win, I lose" is a funny ear-wig in typical Supertramp style, and the single was a well deserved return to radio ( as well as, in Germany, the single-charts )... love its lyrics ! 4 stars.

"Get your Act together" is the first straight dig into average R'n'B here ( the opener has a delicate R'n'B flavour as well, but is a strange hybrid with many different influences woven together, while "You win, I lose" is typically R'n'B-infected Supertramp only ), somehow quite "average Davies" but brilliantly arranged and performed... very pleasant.... 3 stars.

"Live to love you" is the first ballad ( one of the schmaltzy, old fashioned kind... very relaxed but still groovy, the comparism to Lennon's popular songs from "Double Fantasy" is really a fitting one, I think ), it's alright, 3 stars.

"Some things never change" is somehow a track that reminds me of the better ones on "Brother where you bound", and it's the closest they get to "Prog" here, but it's pop, still, so don't be misled... 4.5 stars.

"Listen to me please"... if only Roger Hodgson would have been Davies' Co-Singer on that one instead of Mark Hart... it could have been a Supertramp-classic ( but one of the poppier ones, still ), the verses are haunting, the bridge is perfect, but the refrain perhaps is a bit too obvious a "typical Davies-conclusion" to really make it as good as it could have been... 3.5 stars.

With 3 stars for "C'est what" once more and anything between 1 ( "Sooner or later" ) and 2 stars ( "Where there's a will" ) for the rest it isn't such a bad album ( Grandpa agrees, but he'd rate the songs quite differently, preferring those ones I call "boring" and slightly screwing up his face when it comes to "It's a hard world", cause in spite of it being pleasant to his ears as well as mine, he thinks it could have been better without the muted trumpet of which he says it sounds too odd ).

3 stars, barely but still deserved, with two warning signs added:

1. For the Listeners: "Prog fans may fall asleep even during the - really good, sometimes excellent - first half of this record" ( It's NO, I'm repeating, NO progressive rock at all, it's Rick Davies' Supertramp ! )

2. For the Band: "Please focus on material that has got some interesting chord-changes, melodies or grooves, you're quite capable of that... and if you wanna play blues or blues-ballads, beware to not fall asleep yourself during the performance or simply write and perform better ones than here, thank you".

Greets Roop

rupert | 3/5 |

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