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Triumph - Allied Forces CD (album) cover




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2.57 | 77 ratings

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1 stars Well I decided if I'm going to keep grousing about Triumph wasting space on this site, I should go back and re-listen to some of their albums that I bought back in the early 80's. The first disclaimer is to explain WHY I own these albums, and my only excuse is that I drank heavily back then and my judgment wasn't so good. Meh.

That said, I popped Allied Forces on the turntable and played it through several times this week. This was the first time I've heard these songs in over twenty years, except for the occasional radio play in my car when I couldn't reach the dial fast enough to avoid them. The album is pretty much exactly the way I remember it - power chords, neanderthal lyrics, nothing to really distinguish them from dozens of other hair bands back then. The one thing I'd forgotten about was the liner concert photo where Mike Levine is gripping his bass and looking all the world like he's pleasuring himself. My friends and I got lots of laughs off that picture back then, and it's just as funny today!

The album starts off with "Fool For Your Love", which is about - well, a fool. There's nothing special in the music in this song. Stunning lyrics though - "your love is vicious, slightly malicious" and "I keep lettin' love get the better of me. My head is spinnin' honey - can't you see what I need". Now that's what I call a timeless classic!

I have to grudgingly admit that "Magic Power" still kinds of gets my toes tapping. I don't know if that's because of the memories it brings back from those days, or because it's actually a decent song, but either way the rhythm is solid, and it is a catchy tune. Here again though Emmett's ego kills what might have been an otherwise tolerable tune - "I'm young, I'm wild and I'm free; I got the magic power of the music in me", followed by the ever-present 'God's gift to women' refrain - "She's young, she's wild now, she wants to be free; she gets the magic power of the music from me". "the music's got the magic it's your one chance for escape; so turn me on - turn me up - it's your turn to dream". Thanks for gracing us all with your presence Rik.

"Allied Forces" was a kind of anthem for angry young suburban rednecks around 1981, the so-called "mobile allies", who were apparently "marching every night". In other words, rebels without a clue. This is a song that is apparently a call to arms for frustrated youth to take on the world and kick ass with guitars - the "Allied Forces of Rock and Roll". This was not what you'd call really progressive stuff in any era, ad particularly not in 1981. The Zeppelin riff rip-off toward the end is kind of interesting, I suppose.

If I remember right, "Hot Time (In This City Tonight)" was a modest hit single twenty- five years ago. I would imagine it was a concert staple as well (although hopefully not anymore - that would be almost as embarrassing as Mike Reno of Loverboy in his size 44 spandex doing "Little Girl" at the state fair!). Anyway, this one features that stunningly torrid lyric "rock me baby like a long lost friend, then roll me over and do it again"! I can't help but wonder if Emmett intended this one to be Triumph's equivalent of Lionel Ritchie's "Dance on the Ceiling", only with power chords.

One could assume the back side of this album would at least be no worse than the front, but that would be an incorrect assumption. The only upside is that Rik Emmett's Geddy Lee imitation is less off-key on the final three songs of the album.

"Fight the Good Fight" proved once again the low opinion that Triumph had of their fans' capacity for judging good music, with lyrics like "nothing is easy, nothing good is free. But I can tell you where to start - take a look inside your heart". Thanks for the pep talk..

I wonder if "Ordinary Man" was supposed to be Triumph's "Simple Man", or maybe more like their "Blue Collar Man". Dunno'. Either way, I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now. They do manage to incite their pubescent and liquored-up fans against politicians, the media, the legal system, preachers, teachers, pretty much every familiar authority symbol except parents (smart career move - there were a lot of parents on anti-rock witch hunts back then, and a bad rap from those scary b****es would have been a kiss of death on album sales for Triumph). So they get a point for being more business- savvy than Twisted Sister anyway. I guess the idea with "Ordinary Man" was to make sure there was a chip on any young man's shoulder who was in listening range and didn't already have a bad attitude. I'm sure they were more than a little successful.

The album ends (mercifully) with "Say Goodbye", a sentiment I heartily agreed with by this point. I may have been saying goodbye to the album, but Emmett was apparently telling his skanky girlfriend goodbye because she's some kind of head case. He does point out though that he's leaving "in the morning", I guess so he can squeeze one more off. The guy is a pragmatist, after all.

I have to be honest and say that I really didn't expect to come away from this 'rediscovery' of Triumph with some new-found appreciation for their progressive bent (or even for their "talent"). That said, these few listens did reaffirm my utter dislike for these guys and the tripe they call music. Look, I'm just as quick as anyone to ridicule pompous prog prima-donnas who look down on more mainstream music just because it's popular, or because it has a beat and you can dance to it. However, one doesn't have to be pretentious to quickly develop a dislike for this band - they simply need to have ears.


ClemofNazareth | 1/5 |


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