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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Love Beach CD (album) cover

LOVE BEACH

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.06 | 468 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

DaveRoxit
2 stars Oh, dear.

This album was, believe it or not, my entry point into ELP. It was in a crate of LP's left behind by an older sister, along with several other records that schooled me in the ways of prog: Genesis' "Selling England", "Lamb, " "Trick," & "Wind & Wuthering," (and "Duke," but let's not go there,) Yes' "Yessongs" and "Going For the One," etc. And among those ageless wonders festered this LP, with its tacky cover art and trite song titles. "Taste of My Love"? Barf.

The cover alone kept me well away from this music for several months. It was only after falling in love with the other LP's in the crate and discovering this music called "progressive rock," and after I had been assured that ELP were major players in the genre, that I gave Love Beach a spin. Trepidation swiftly turned to disdain. Everything was just... bad. As a pop record, it was bad. As a rock record, it was bad. As a prog record, it does not even register.

With hindsight, the first two tracks, while awful, are still better pop tunes than anything Lake contributed to the entire Works fiasco. But any chance the album has of being likable go out the window with the thoroughly execrable "Taste of My Love" and 'The Gambler." Lake's melodramatic ballad "For You" gets good mentions from time to time, but I fail to see why. This song is merely the culmination of the album's dominant lyrical theme, which again and again force the listener to understand that, yes, Greg Lake will love you hard, he will love you long, he will love you right, and also wrong; he will make love to ya, make love to ya, make love to ya, he will love you like nobody's ever loved you, he'll love you so hard you'll shake the stars and... oh my god Greg STOP IT. I wanted a rape whistle, listening to this album. You will smell like Greg Lake's chafed scrotum by the end of Side 1 alone. You have been amply warned.

Side two is genuinely pleasant listening, but nothing exceptional. It wasn't until later, after I had discovered the ELP magic in full (that is, from 1970-74) that I appreciated Side 2 for the uncharacteristic tastefulness of Emerson's playing; nowhere does he attempt to evoke Bartok, or worse yet, those pitiable cocktail-hour "jazz" cliches he loves so much, nor does he toss in any of those stupid Popeye-on-the-poop-deck nautical melodies that scar, like acne, the face of even their classic work. But to praise Side 2 for what it isn't---hideous---is not to overlook it for what it is: Dull.

There is nothing here that adds any dignity to the ELP legacy. It is notable solely as a document of how far a once-great band can fall. Other falls have been swifter, but has any been as steep as ELP's?

Sheer horror, particularly the first half.

DaveRoxit | 2/5 |

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