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Kansas - Vinyl Confessions CD (album) cover

VINYL CONFESSIONS

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

2.74 | 135 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bupie
3 stars I was 16 when this album got to the stores and I remember being very excited about it since its predecessor Audio-Visions -my first encounter with Kansas- literally blew my head off two years before.

At first I enjoyed Vinyl Confessions very much, playing it a lot. At this point, I wasn't even conscious that the band had changed their lead singer. Then, when I discovered Kansas previous work, I saw Vinyl Confessions as a second league Kansas album. However, I still play it from time to time, most often to listen (or make people listen) to "Play The Game Tonight" or "Chasing Shadows", but on almost every occasion I must admit that I don't stop the record after the selected song and play all the others.

So IMHO Vinyl Confessions is not up to what came before but is yet quite good. And maybe I would have appreciated it even more by the time of its release if I had known that it would take 20 years to get another good album by the band.

Of course, it's obvious that with this album Kansas enters -of free will ?- the playground of arena rock, taking the risk to loose a lot of long time progressive fans. To me, this move was far more disputable than the forced change of vocalist since John Elefante does a pretty decent job on this album, even if his voice lacks the variety of Steve Walsh's. On this last point -Walsh's departure- you may have noticed that there are a few words for Walsh in the credits : nice attention from the rest of the band

The album begins with"Play The Game Tonight" and "Right Away", two AOR songs, but still first class AOR that many alas then fellow competitors from the arena scene could only dream to compose. In the some vein, but in a less catchy way, come "Windows" and "Borderline". All are from Livgren except "Right Away" which is from the Elefante brothers but I bet most Kansas fans could guess it without looking at the credits.

"Fair Exchange" is a sub-par song from Livgren that would have failed to make the cut on any previous album but is still worth a listen.

"Chasing Shadows" is a beautiful ballad with touching lyrics. Some may find it cheesy but I find it very enjoyable and I can't help singing along each time I hear it. A very good effort by the Elefante brothers, unlike "Face It", the worst song of the record, even worse if you consider it as the forerunner for the terrible next album.

"Diamonds and Pearls" always divides my feelings : I like the intro and the jazzy piano during the verses but I find the chorus really silly. Some kind of a love and hate song.

"Play On" is the only song composed by both Livgren and Elefante. Maybe that explains why I perceive it as an hybrid between popular music in a pejorative way (verses and chorus) and the progressive attempt in the middle of the song.

"Crossfire" is the track that reminds most of the typical Kansas style. Could have found its place on Point Of Know Return.

So finally this is far from a bad album. The band succeeded -only for this time- to overcome the loss of Steve Walsh but failed to avoid the sliding towards a too commercial area. 3,5 stars.

A last word about the cover. The front is awful, continuing a tradition introduced by Audio-Visions and that will last until the rebirth of both music and artwork with Somewhere to Elsewhere.

Bupie | 3/5 |

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