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Jefferson Airplane - Crown Of Creation CD (album) cover


Jefferson Airplane



3.90 | 129 ratings

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3 stars The hangover album.

1967 San Fran was quite the party by all accounts, and Baxters summed up beautifully the craziness of the scene, a snapshot of "acid incense and balloons" as the song goes. It couldn't last of course and 1968 was a bit of a drag in comparison, even the Airplane were not immune. "Crown of Creation" is anything but its grandiose title, a huge drop off in majesty from the two previous stunners. The band sounds tired (which they were, being on a crazy schedule), the songwriting sounds phoned-in, and the album is the spiritual hangover of the four 'classic line-up' albums. I think that even those who like the songs of this set would admit it doesn't have the same fresh vibe of the previous two. That's not to say there aren't some gems of course.

Let's start with what's great, namely the first and last tracks. "Lather" is fantastic leftover psychedelia, a little present from Grace to her boyfriend Spencer who was turning 30. She sings of lost youth and a boy stuck in childhood as his friends come of age. What makes it work is the haunting childlike melody that is beautiful but eerie along with her clever, slightly deranged sounding delivery. The closer "The House At Pooneil Corners" is a drop dead classic, a monster split personality epic with apocalyptic tones on one side and breezy contrasting psych chorus on the other. The definitive version is the live rooftop performance they gave for Godard in New York, beautifully filmed by the master filmmaker. Search for it on YouTube, it's there in all it's glory. For the record they pulled this rooftop stunt two months before the Beatles copied it.

I'm afraid things go downhill from there. "Triad" is Grace doing a boring Crosby track, being as hypocritical about relationships as Kantner would later be about wealth. She chooses to exalt how sophisticated an open three-way relationship is, then she later admits in an interview she'd want no part of such a relationship...ok, thanks Grace. Marty sounds especially deflated on tracks like "Star Track" where he essentially lets the boys noodle for long stretches. Kaukonen and Casady were outstanding players who were stretching out on Crown as they were in the live shows, but their jamming isn't enough to elevate these proceedings to masterpiece level. The title track is particularly boring and repetitive, perhaps as uninspired as I've ever heard this line-up. Don't get me wrong, Crown is still a good album with enough to make it worth owning-it simply falls a bit short of the other three Airplane classics. Most rock fans are going to want to own all four albums by the classic line-up, from Surrealistic Pillow to Volunteers. An amazing band.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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