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Gentle Giant

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Gentle Giant Giant for a Day album cover
2.33 | 579 ratings | 45 reviews | 3% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Words from the Wise (4:10)
2. Thank You (4:45)
3. Giant for a Day (3:45)
4. Spooky Boogie (3:31)
5. Take Me (2:45)
6. Little Brown Bag (3:32)
7. Friends (1:58)
8. No Stranger (2:27)
9. It's Only Goodbye (4:16)
10. Rock Climber (3:50)

Total Time 34:59

Line-up / Musicians

- Derek Shulman / lead vocals
- Gary Green / electric, acoustic (2,7) & slide (2) guitars, backing vocals
- Kerry Minnear / piano & electric piano, Minimoog (3-5), Hammond (2), clavinet (1), synth & xylophone (4), bass (2,7), co-lead (1) & backing vocals
- Ray Shulman / bass, 12-string guitar (2,7), backing vocals
- John Weathers / drums, percussion, lead (7) & backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Owen with Ray and Barbara Shulman (concept)

LP Chrysalis ‎- CHR 1186 (1978, UK)

CD Terrapin Trucking ‎- TRUCK CD 007 (1993, UK)
CD DRT Entertainment ‎- RTE 00355 (2005, US) 35th Anniv. remaster (?)
CD Alucard ‎- ALU-GG-016 (2009, US) 24-bit remaster by Fred Kevorkian

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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GENTLE GIANT Giant for a Day ratings distribution

(579 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(3%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(8%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (41%)
Poor. Only for completionists (20%)

GENTLE GIANT Giant for a Day reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
3 stars Aword for the wise: don't buy this album until you've acquired all of the GENTLE GIANT albums before it. GENTLE GIANT is a great band, but their greatness is predicated on a facility for counterpoint and medieval-themed arrangements which the band had largely abandoned by this stage in their career. Beginning with "The Missing Piece", GG tried to appeal to a wider audience by "dumbing down" their songs; complex instrumental passages and classical motifs were replaced by more conventional song structures. The end result was something of a "baroque boogie", not unlike listening to a Supertramp record while letting the turntable speed skip between 33 and 45 rpm.

Needless to say, commercial success eluded them, while their original fan base began to grow restless. True, you can catch a whiff of greatness on songs like "Friends" (written by drummer John WEATHERS), "No Stranger" and "Words From The Wise", but their earlier albums fairly reek with the stuff. In the old days, you could expect to hear Ray SHULMAN whip out his violin and join Kerry MINNEAR on keyboards and Weathers on tuned percussion for a tight-seamed mosaic of sounds that left this mortal realm in search of finer things. On this album, Gary GREEN turns his guitar up a little and you get kind of a half-hearted guitar solo like the one on "It's Only Goodbye."

Not that GENTLE GIANT was the only band to ever make a bad album. According to my Theory of Chicken McNuggetivity, the consumption of any product has a point at which you're likely to bite into something that just plain tastes bad. And plenty of prog rock artists have misjudged the portability of their product when soliciting new customers (CAMEL, JON ANDERSON, JETHRO TULL). Little consolation for anyone who's listened to this album, though, since hearing the band stoop this low to conquer is downright depressing.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Second part of the 'pop' trilogy and I still can't figure what went through the Schulman brothers mind when they wrote this album other than tiring of turning blank sheet notes into black pages, this album is pure 70's pop-rock with very few connections to their classic phase from 70-76. Interestingly enough though, "Spooky Boogie" samples a few melodies from past albums, haunting the poppy tunes that fill the rest of the album, mwaha. Barring that, there are still several very good tunes here, including the signature song "Words From the Wise" that features all five band members on lead vocals, with the usual superb musicianship, but rating this here on archives makes it just under two stars overall.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is probably their worst album: like Triumvirat, the guys probably fell in love, so they are forgiven! Do not expect here another "Octopus" or "Free hand" album! It is rarely progressive! The guys tried to make a pop rock album, but they completely missed it! Anyway, is there any prog musician, apart Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel, who can deal with pop success? The singer's voice has something wrong here: he seems to lack assurance. Are all his notes right? I'm not so sure! There are a couples of piano boogie tracks. The violins, horns, woodwind instruments, sophisticated vintage keyboards, percussions and complex structured parts are practically absent. The problem is not the simplicity of the tracks; it is rather the absence of catchiness, which will cause to the listener a loss of interest. If this was a concert, then many prog fans would certainly leave before the end!!
Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The end of the 70s was a bit of a mixed bag for rock fans. As new acts flooded the airwaves, revitalizing what had become a somewhat stagnant, insular popular music scene, older acts were dropping like obsolete dinosaurs unable to cope in the new climate. Gentle Giant tried to metamorphose into an accessible, radio-friendly band in an effort to survive and thrive, but their attempted transformation from unique prog pioneers to purveyors of pop was largely a failure (the later CIVILIAN was arguably a more successful change in direction), and the writing was on the wall.

Now, looking back upon what has always been my least favourite GG disc, I find that 1978's GIANT FOR A DAY is not quite as lame as I had remembered it -- but neither is it particularly good. While those who came late to the band's camp may find much to praise here, long-term fans will almost certainly be disappointed with this lightweight, too-gentle Giant.

The album gets off to a rousing and promising-enough start with the infectious "Words From the Wise." It's hardly "Knots," but it's a fun, worthy enough (if "safe") addition to the Giant canon.

Things take a slower, sentimental turn on the likeable, acoustic-strummed "Thank You," which, though ostensibly a love song, could well be seen as being sheepishly directed toward the band's long-term fan base: "Thank you, for staying around so long -- though it's been hard...." A nice enough ditty, if a trifle disposable (much like the tacky "make your own mask" album art).

Next up, the rocking title cut shows flashes of the band's trademark eclecticism and humour in the manic vocals and statacco keys, and Gary Green provides some nice ringing lead guitar. Not too bad!

The instrumental (with the focus on the "mental") "Spooky Boogie" is a campy, throw-away novelty tune that evokes dancing spectres and skeleton-rib percussion. Best unearthed only for Halloween parties, this one quickly wears thin in the sober light of day.

"Take Me," despite an organ-riff intro that hearkens back to the group's heyday, is just an average pop song that again could be construed as a bit of wishful thinking on the part of the band. (I suppose even aging egghead proggers get randy at times....)

"Little Brown Bag" is an up-tempo piece with some good guitar, a driving chorus, pounding drums, and energetic vocals. One of the album's stronger tracks, this one could actually be quite good live.

The short, ballad-like "Friends'" expresses a nice-enough sentiment, but is strictly commercial, and eminently forgettable in a mediocre, innocuous way.

The reggae-tinged "No Stranger" is another mostly meatless effort that passes quickly by without making much of an impression.

"It's Only Goodbye" seems to be a sort of stab at the power ballad, but misses the mark, and overstays its welcome. The band seem to be only going through the motions with this frankly insipid piece of songwriting.

Finally, "Rock Climber" presents another take on the arena rocker, and deals (as the title suggests) with the "ladies of the road" known as groupies. Like its subject matter, this one can bring pleasure, for a time, but isn't necessarily one to "bring home to mother," and will likely leave you yearning for something deeper and more meaningful -- like FREE HAND, for instance.

So, not a terrible album, in its context, but certainly not an essential one, either. As other reviewers have indicated, GIANT FOR A DAY can "cap off" the collection of a completist, but fails to come close to the bold and brilliant progressive rock that preceded it. I thus give this music two and a half stars, but round it down to two in view of its source in a band that used to light the way, but was now content to follow. Get all the rest first -- this one is for collectors and very dedicated fans only.

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

After the much disappointing Missing Piece album, GG could not manage to stop the slide that had begun IMHO after In a Glass House, but if they had managed to keep a good standard until Interview, unfortunately this was clearly less so. To say that this is not an album worthy of GG would be a great exaggeration, as from the first second of vocals of the opening Words From The Wise until the last notes from Rock Climber, this is unmistakably a GG album, and for that matter the only one to have receive any correct promotion and a dumb marketing scheme about cut-out faces right at the time that the punk movement was sweeping the media attention.

So this album confirms that GG was on a trend to simplify their songwriting to fit their possible retreat towards the US market, with some tracks close to sounding like Steely Dan (like Thank You) or very noisy (title track), quite simple (Spooky Boogie - was even marketed as a single or Friends) or plainly uninteresting (Take Me and Little Brown Bag) but the album is maybe were guitarist Gary Green makes its presence felt the most of all GG albums.

But what really irks me on this album, outside the lack of inspiration (but this was clear from TP&TG onwards) is that the vocals here sound quite irritating especially for the simplified songwriting. Clearly with this album (and confirming what TMP had announced) GG was becoming a spent force. Sadly for them, the premonitory It's Only Goodbye (they should've said Adios) makes you think that they should've quit while they were ahead. Do not get me wrong all GG unconditional fans should get this album and the ones before and after, but clearly this is hardly essential and not good enough to warrant that third star.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
2 stars Giant For A Day is often considered Giants worst album, and with good reason. This is the biggest misstep in GG's career, IMO. By this time, Giant had gone completely pop, and its not good pop (like what you'll find on Civilian). Also, the 80s sound completly plauges this album. The drums sound terrible, and I find the production to be sub-par for a Gentle Giant record as well. The music is played well, but the trouble is, for the most part, it's not good music.

Things start off with the average Words From The Wise. Not a bad track, but not progressive. Also, i find that the chours sounds an awful lot like I Am A Camera from Civilian (but i suppose thats Cilivians problem). Giant For A Day is a 'rockier' track that to me is just killed by the 80s sound, although not a complete waste of a song. The only shining moment on this record is the instrumental Spooky Boogie. And sadly, it is one of the shortest. Good keyboard and vibes work here, as well as guitar and a well placed scream. (Also, according to Gentle Giant's offical website, this song was used the Nation Hockey League when going to commericals during the month of October, so i suppose they were recognized somehow, although years later). I bought the record for this song, and I still think it was worth it. Take Me is, again, an average pop song. Unfortunatly the only song worth mentioning after that one is Friends (a mediocore ballad to friendship). The rest of the album, IMO, is just poorly written 80s pop. Truly a sad day for the Gentle Giant fan.

All in all, this is for people who want to be able to say 'I own all of Gentle Giant's studio albums'. I would also recommend this for Spooky Boogie, although only if you could find it for cheap. For fans only. A solid two stars.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars Midget For A Day

I became a big prog rock fan in the late 70's. Was fortunate enough to see a show from their last tour (for Civilian) at the Atlanta Agora (now defunct) and to get a friend to tape the live broadcast. I stongly suspect they didn't care for much of the songs here themselves as they only did Giant for a Day. The rest of the set was tunes from Civilian and the oldiers but goodiers. What a privilege, as it turned out to be their last tour and I was too yound to get into clubs places like that at the time. Guess I looked a little older than I actually was (long hair).

I have to say was my least favorite album at the time and I still rank it at the bottom. However, I softened on prog fanaticism musical "snobbery" as I grew older. I would not leave it out of my collection, but if you are exploring their music for the first time, I would try it out last.

I got the CD about three years ago and have softened my assessment of it upon relistening. A previous reviewer said it's marred by the " '80's sound. Pretty good for an album released in 1978, I guess. Maybe they were ahead of their time in this regard as they were in many other ways on their better releases. My favorite these days is Little Brown Bag. Not particularly progressive but a good rocker. Back in the day, Spookie Boogie was the only song I really found interesting. This album's more of an acquired taste for prog nuts. (excuse the title pun). Damn shame they didn't do anything after Civilian. I think the only appearance of a member after that was Gary Green on Eddie Jobson's Zinc album (1983).

Review by Melomaniac
2 stars Back in the early nineties, when I first got into Gentle Giant, friends and older GG fans urged me to stay away from the last three albums, namely The Missing Piece, Giant for a Day and Civilian. When the 35th anniversary remastered releases came out last year, I still had not listened to those albums and I thought O.K., that's enough, I'll make my own opinion about these albums . So I bought them. The Missing Piece I love from beginning to end, Civilian almost every song I love. With 'Giant for a Day', that's another story. Regardless of what many think about The Missing Piece, I find it is with Giant for a Day that Gentle Giant really changed their sound, and where they failed for the first (and only) time.

Lead vocalist Derek Shulman was now the band's manager, and for Giant for a Day he gave the controls of the writing and direction of the album to brother Ray Shulman, which apparently was a mistake. GG wanted to adapt to the new musical currents, but Ray was not the man for the job. Minnear proved to be more apt at adaptation than his bandmates, as he was mostly responsible for Civilian, which was, all in all, a great entry into the 80's pop arena for GG.

On with the album. Opener 'Words from the Wise' is a catchy pop tune with nice vocal harmonies. Musically it sets the tone of the album, and even though it is catchy, one can hear that things are going to be very different on this album than on any of it's predecessors. 'Thank You' is the closest thing to a folk pop song as you might get from GG, only not really good. Overly simple, and even for a pop tune, it misses the mark. Title track 'Giant for a Day' I really like. An upbeat rocker with guitar lines that remind me a bit of Babe Ruth's'The Mexican'. Straightforward rock, nicely done. Instrumental 'Spooky Boogie' is the only track reminiscent of the good old days, with vibraphones and typical Minnear keyboard work, only simpler. Entertaining and funny. Take Me is, blandly put, really dull, and a bit cheesy. If this song had been an instrumental, I can easily imagine it playing in a late 70's porn movie (lol). 'Little Brown Bag' is a decent pop rocker, neither bad nor good. Just entertaining. 'Friends' is a John Weathers track, short but sincere. Acoustic guitars and vocals, nothing else. Good guitar work and nice vocal melody. 'No Stranger', along with the aforementionned 'Take Me', is without a doubt the album's worst track, and probably in the GG top three worst songs. I find nothing remotely satisfying in that song. 'It's Only Goodbye' is a ballad int the same line as 'I'm Turning Around' on 'The Missing Piece', only more modern sounding and a bit less interesting. Gary Green's guitar work in that song is thematic, a sign of the times. Bluesy, but a bit unsincere. Closer 'Rock Climber' is another rocker not unlike 'Little Brown Bag', with Kerry Minnear playing somewhat of a ragtime piano pattern. Not good nor bad.

Undoubtedly Gentle Giant's less interesting album, as far as prog music goes, and even as pop music goes. Follow-up Civilian would prove to be a better shot at being modern, but alas, it would also be their last. Good thing they did not call a day after Giant for a Day. Fans will probably like a few songs, but nothing more.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Giant for a Day is the tenth studio album from Gentle Giant and it marked the end of a great career for the band. Civilian was of course the last album but it was with Giant for a Day that the good times were over. Gentle Giant really hit rock bottom with this album. The previous album The Missing Piece had already signalled new times for Gentle Giant but it was still an enjoyable album with lots of power and emotional playing. With Giant for a Day we get an album that seems very uninspired and aimed directly at a commercial audience.

Most of the songs on Giant for a Day is really below standard and there are no progressive elements to be found. Those days are definitely over with this album. Song like Words From The Wise, Giant For A Day, Little Brown Bag and Rock Climber are rocking songs but its really only the title track that can partially make me satisfied. Spooky Boogie is an instrumental track and the only thing that reminds you that Gentle Giant was once a prog rock band. Its a pretty lame affair though and there is nothing in that song that comes close to what Gentle Giant have done before. Take Me and No Stranger are really cheesy mid tempo rock tracks that I couldnt care less about. Friends which is a song written by drummer John Weathers is a pathetic ode to friendship. Horrible is the word Im looking for here. But the worst songs are the two semi ballad tracks Thank You and It's Only Goodbye. Heartfelt emotional cheese. Im sorry but those two songs are so lame that Ill have to call them an abomination upon the Gentle Giant discography.

The musicianship which was once so outstanding and unique now sounds like most other soft rock bands of the late seventies. No virtuosity and no challenging exciting parts.

The production is allright.

Giant for a Day is a big disappointment. I was actually one of those people who liked the new style introduced on The Missing Piece but this time Gentle Giant have gone where no man should go. This is the album that every Gentle Giant fan loathes. I wont give Giant for a Day 1 star as the musicianship is allright, the production is good and some of the songs do have parts that are not totally lame, but my 2 star rating is very small. Avoid this album if youre curious about Gentle Giant. Its always a bad sign when even the fans cant stand it.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
2 stars Giant for a Day continues the style of the previous album - The Missing Piece, but this time even worse than The Missing Line. I easily name this album as the weakest of the band. It contains a lot of boring and uninteresting songs. It's a mixture between pop rock, soft rock, rock & roll, but nothing special. It obvious the balance between the musicians was lost with the previous album. Gentle Giant prove to the another superb progressive band turns pop later on their career. There are two songs deserving little attention like: the experimental Spooky Boogie and the ballad It's Only Goodbye. As whole, a quite big disappointment, but not totally poor one. 2 stars!
Review by tarkus1980
4 stars Wow! You really can teach an old dog new tricks! The band took some time off after the mediocrity of Piece, and during that time apparently decided to make a serious effort at creating a good pop/rock'n'roll album. I'm guessing that the band honestly believed that, with a strong effort, they could reach a mass audience while at the same time not totally alienating all of their fans. Of course, they were totally wrong on both counts, but that's the fault of circumstance, not of the album, because the album is really quite good. All traces of prog have been wiped away (as opposed to on Piece, where the second half had some weird chord sequences and of course an epic), but when the replacement is solid pop-rock, I can hardly complain.

One big difference between this and the last album is that the long stretches of tastelessness that abounded on Piece are mostly eradicated here - some of the songs entertain me less than others, sure, but only one of them (the power ballad "It's Only Goodbye") makes me wretch in disgust. Otherwise, the album's largely a fascinating exercise in style, one that shows the band occasionally using its experiences in other genres to influence the ideas shown here, without directly cribbing from their previous albums. For instance, we have the opening "Words from the Wise," which starts off by showcasing the band's great vocal harmonies, but in a straightup poppy manner instead of the modern classical stylings of "On Reflection." Even haters of this period of the band tend to like this song (probably because of those same vocal harmonies), even though its gloriously catchy (yet involved) verse melody and chorus bleed poppy goodness at all points.

Or, if you're a fan of the band's long stretches of no vocals, there's a hilarious instrumental called "Spooky Boogie," which uses occasional quiet dissonant keyboard chords to provide a "scary" effect as an augmentation to the nice, jazzy melody. And if you're a fan of the band's ability to combine styles that should have nothing to do with each other, then the title track is for you. Vaguely punkish, with a simple nagging guitar/keyboard pattern driving it forward, as well as booming drumming, it shows a band willing to make a total fool of itself and come up with something extremely entertaining in the process.

The other songs are basically "conventional," but they're at worst nice and at best great, so I'm definitely in no position to complain. "Thank You" is an EXCELLENT acoustic pop ballad, with totally non-trivial chord sequences, a nice vocal performance from Derek (one thing I should note - I like Derek's voice more on this album than I did on the "classic" GG albums. Fancy that.), moving lyrics, and of course those little subtle guitar augmentations in the background. "Little Brown Bag" is a terrific, punchy rocker, with Derek bellowing in a convincing manner, Kerry sounding like he spent hours listening to Gary Brooker's playing on Exotic Birds and Fruit (another example of an art-rock band turning to a 'simpler' sound to great effect) and Gary's guitars sounding like Keith Richards pounding out those crisp lines.

I'm also quite partial to "Friends," which is a solid two-minute acoustic ballad, with John Weathers (drums) on vocals, and all sorts of nice acoustic flourishes underneath the good vocal melody. And of course, there's the brilliant closer "Rock Climber," which took me a couple of listens to like (don't know why), but that I'll likely enjoy for the rest of my life. Man, who would've thought that the prog band that would be able to do real rock'n'roll the best would be Gentle Giant, the ideal band for people who thought rock'n'roll was retched'n'retarded...

The other two songs ("Take Me," which has a nice chorus but that took me a zillion listens to remember how the song goes, and the nice-but-head-drooping "No Stranger") aren't as good, but definitely not bad either. Add up these ten songs, and you have an extremely solid album that, through no fault of its own, completely fell between the cracks of history. Hardcore GG fans will probably hang me in effigy for liking this more than Glass House or Glory, but I really wish they'd reconsider and accept the possibility that there can, in fact, be such a thing as a very good pop album. Like, say, this one.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars They were Giants for more than a day!

But in 1978 it was clear they were not. Like so many other prog acts of the early 70s the group was caught by the overwhelming changing tides. The press was completely in love with punk and the general public was going disco. Prog was no longer hip or anything even close to that. So, like many other great bands of the time, GG tried to adapt and survive in what seemed to be an ever hostile enviroment. If The Missing Piece already showed some sights, this one is totally non prog. Not a single track reminds of their glorious past. Not that it is bad either.

Actually I was quite surprised to see that they did write some fine tunes among a few turds (specially the more rocking stuff like Little Brown Bag). Certainly the band had all the chops needed to play almost any kind of music. When writing something simpler and more popish they managed to deliver some interesting stuff. Take Its Only Goodbye for instance: it is a great pop song with beautiful guitar lines by Gary Green and a convincing vocal perfomance by Derek Shulman. Rock Climb has a nice riffing and the piano licks are catchy and very good. Word From The Wise sounds like one of those Yes pop songs from the 80s: infectious and groovy. And so it goes. Most tracks has good things to show. As usual, their perfomances are exceptional (for a pop band, of course)

So in the end I found this record far from the hideous piece of crap so many called it at the time. They could write some fine pop songs, ok. But it is not Gentle Giant as we knew it. so if youre looking for the GG trademark art rock excellence, avoid this CD. Even the most devoted fans should be aware of its difference and get this album only when they had purchased all of GGs previous ones before. This is a good pop rock album and nothing more. And since I like good pop tunes, I can say I enjoyed this recordm but I dont consider this as a GG work. They should have changed their name.

They could have made it as a simple rock band if properly promoted, I guess, but that was not to be. For a pop record Id give it gladly a higher rate, but for a prog site 2 stars is more fitting. Definitly different and not for the hardcore prog fan. People who likes fine melodies and have an open mind will certainly find something interesting listening to Giant For A Day.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars As soon as you look to the cover of this album, you know that something wrong is going on.

And this is indeed confirmed as soon as you listen to the opening number: some poor AOR style music, pop-rock with little attraction. Some sort of music that "Yes"will also play years later ("Big Generator").

I have never been a great fan of the genuine GG, so I really didn't have any expectations before listening to this work. It has definitely nothing to do with the originality and complexity performed by this band. It was of course not the best moment to release prog albums, but this one has little to share with prog. It is easy listening and average music.

Some tracks are on the rocking side (title track and "Little Brown Bag" as well as the closing "Rock Climber") but are not convincing at all. The best available is probably "Spookie Boogie" which shows some definite prog feel. During "Take Me", even if it is more on the poppish side, some GG from the good old days can also be noticed.

Some reggae flavor for the rock ballad "No Stranger" and some good guitar during another ballad ("It's Only Goodbye") are the main attraction. No big deal really.

In all, this is quite different than their classic output. Two stars.

Review by colorofmoney91
2 stars Giant For A Day is the second album in Gentle Giant's pop foray, and is ultimately a very uninspired album. It's extremely bland pop-rock, sometimes just pop. There is absolutely nothing in the way of technicality or progressive musicianship or songwriting. I've tried listening to this album many times hoping to enjoy it as just simple music, but it really is just unbearably boring. By now, the interesting instrumentation and medieval influences are totally a thing of the past. I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone, friend or foe of Gentle Giant, but perhaps this is a good collectors item and has a fairly decent album cover.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
1 stars I suppose after "The Missing Piece", where Gentle Giant began in the direction of, but had not completely gone into making pop music, that this should not have been a surprise. It was a disappointment no less.

Words From The Wise begins the album with some big harmonies. At this point it could go in either direction, toward prog or pop. But then the instruments come in, with faceless arena pop riffs. Occasionally, it sounds as if the band wants to throw in something interesting, but less artistic producers prevail.

Thank You, a completely bland pop ballad, could have been released by just about every third tier pop band. A better title, and message to their fans, would have been what Cee Lo Green calls Forget You.

Giant For A Day is only slightly better. It's a fairly straight rock piece, almost new wave, where Gary Green at least gets to play some nice, but not astounding guitar fills.

Spooky Boogie is the only bone thrown to Gentle Giant's prog base. It's a case of too little, too late.

Take Me has some nice interplay between Kerry Minnear's electric piano and Ray Shulman's bass. But the song is ruined by a poor chorus.

Little Brown Bag opens the second side of the album. It rocks as hard as any song on this album. But, Little Brown Bag? Really?

Friends, an acoustic guitar piece, is just insipid. It makes me want no friends. No Stranger is no better. It's Only Goodbye could have been a good song, but instead chooses schmaltz.

Rock Climber tries hard. It almost has some prog. But no.

This rivals some of Genesis' and ELP's later albums for the title of "worst album by a once great band". For some bands, this would be a two star album, but considering the greatness Gentle Giant had once achieved, it only gets one.

The album cover suggest that you cut it up to create a Gentle Giant mask. You may want to leave the record inside when doing so.

Review by Neu!mann
1 stars Picking on this unqualified disaster of an album is like shooting already dead fish in a very shallow barrel: not very sporting, but hard to resist when in a trigger-happy mood.

If it's any consolation, this is one dog that deserves to be kicked, because it represents nothing less than a total betrayal of the loyal fans who supported a struggling, uncompromising band for so long. At least "The Missing Piece", released one year earlier, showed some welcome signs of resuscitated enthusiasm. But any residual vitality had completely evaporated by the time this turkey took wing: an album conceived, composed, and performed with a total lack of conviction, and I hope for their own sake that the band hated every minute of the process.

Never mind the featherweight pop of the album opener "Words From the Wise" (and I can still recall my deflated anticipation when hearing it fresh in 1978). There's simply no excuse, from an erstwhile group of Progressive Rock artists known to challenge themselves both in the studio and on stage, for such anemic AM-radio fodder like "Thank You" or "Friends" (the former obviously acknowledging an empty room; the latter resembling, in post-Punk 1978, something from Bert and Ernie's living room on Sesame Street).

And then there's (in Frank Zappa's memorable phrase) "the smash flop" single "Little Brown Bag", also known as "Betcha Thought We Couldn't Do It Again (And You'd Be Right)". The song "Take Me" hits a new aesthetic low in the downward career arc of the band, and if there's a hell I'm betting it sounds a lot like "No Stranger".

The only song able to generate a facsimile of interest is the self-promoting title track, thanks mostly to the dynamic tracking of J.P. Weathers' drum kit, and a memorable riff by guitarist Gary Green. But even that effort is sabotaged by Derek Shulman's affected vocal delivery, sounding not unlike New Wave chanteuse Lene Lovich with a touch of bronchitis.

In truth I've always had a soft spot for the album cover concept (it reminds me of childhood dinners at Lyons Restaurant, where the children's placemats doubled as masks). But let's face it: at the end of the day the only thing more embarrassing than a sell-out is a sell-out that nobody buys.

Looking for a silver lining, at least the album wasn't titled "Love Beach"...

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars And the Giant came crashing down

I just got through this again for this review and it was a weary slog. This one is up there with "Love Beach" as the biggest sell out of a prog band in history. The music is accessible, the voices are clear and bright, the music is three chord precision but this is an appalling waste of talent. This album is so uninspired it is almost beyond reason. There are major risks taken with this one and GG are obviously trying to fit into the new wave music of 1978 when prog was snubbed but they are sapped of all their power and become insipid as an AOR band. They were never meant to play this type of sap so without the complexities, the concepts and sprawling instrumental breaks, there is nothing left. This imposter band going by the name of Gentle Giant play some of the sappiest most boring repetitive drivel I have ever heard. I acquired this album as a double feature with "The Missing Piece" and that album certainly did have some great moments and really once that album is over I rip the CD out so that I don't have to be inundated with any of "Giant for a Day". You gotta love the original packaging with that corny Giant mask! Did anyone cut up their album cover and wear that around the place? Madness! Attacking this album is like turning a cannon upon a budgie cage; you can't miss. Nothing on this is redeemeable, and believe me I tried to find something. Let's look at some of these tracks, heaven help us!

'Words From The Wise' is over harmonised and sounds like Little River Band meets Petra, except those bands have better songs than what is offered here. 'Thank You' is pop pap so boring it is unsettling. 'Giant For A Day' is perhaps the best track and is AOR but I liked some of the guitar riffs though I cant remember a single note. 'Spooky Boogie' should have been good as an instrumental but is really silly Halloween themed nonsense with a forgettable melody. John Weather's only solo composition 'Friends' is acoustic humdrum compost filler, and the last track 'Rock Climber' makes me want to throw rocks at the CD player to put this thing out of its misery.

The liner notes are the best thing about this; "ironically keyboard player Kerry Minnear's 'It's Only Goodbye' was written specifically as a single, but was never released as such." And the album "failed to elicit much enthusiasm when it was released", and stating the bleeding obvious, it "left long term fans dissatisfied." But best of all and most delusional I quote "the album's disappointing sales in no way reflect a lack of quality." I beg to differ because after hearing all the other excellent GG albums this is an absolute disaster and one to avoid unless you desire a rather expensive coffee coaster.

Review by Menswear
3 stars What if Einstein liked Froot Loops?

Would it be the end of the world? If a great mind, a talentuous brain, likes his cereal sweet and colorful, does it deprives him of his talent? Of course not!

So if Gentle Giant gave us a couple of pop rock albums, it does not deprives them of their initial talent nor their past albums! It just like Genesis, Yes or even Triumvirat, they had to make a living. Some succeeded more than others; Yes and Genesis in particuliar.

To me, a lot of reviewers are unfair towards this album. They bash it in the name of 'intelligent music' and 'anti-pop' arguments; so be it. Okay, the album has some of the band weakest numbers (Only Goodbye), but songs like Giant for A Day are solid rockers with clever arrangements and primo playing, the same staples that made them famous. The fingerprints of GG are all over this album, with lots of winks to the old days.

To all who gave this album a hard time, I say : 'Curiously, we don't see your names in lights and big letters anywhere. Try to pull up an album like this one and we'll talk some more'. Artists like The Cure, 311 or Prince have more than what it takes to take a bite at progressive rock but chose to do what they do with a progressive flavor. What if GG did the same?

Einstein could've liked Fruit Loops, and it's his God given right.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Giant for a Day' - Gentle Giant (46/100)

To put it plainly; Gentle Giant went from tackling ambitious album-long concepts, philosophical themes and referencing Rabelais, to writing songs about banging groupies. Not that I mean to imply Gentle Giant were particularly nuanced lyricists to begin with, but there is a sharp contrast between, say, "The Nativity of Pantagruel", and "Rock Climber", a skuzzy rock n' roller about some of the unexpected benefits of being a prog-turned-pop rocker. Giant for a Day completes Gentle Giant's transformation into a would-be pop rock act, so it should be scarcely surprising that it's earned such a bad reputation. Indeed, I think any album that dared to 'turn' one of the most cerebral prog bands in history into bite-sized party rock would be hated, regardless of how good it really was. Having apparently brushed up on their newfound pop sensibilities following the mess that was The Missing Piece, Gentle Giant have made an album that is truly mediocre, virtually to the point where I may be able to use it as an example of a perfectly mediocre rock album. Is it the worst Gentle Giant album ever, as most fans seem to declare? I don't think so, if only for the fact that there's nothing here quite so bad as some of the AOR cuts off The Missing Link here to cringe through. It is, however, the least involving and involved Gentle Giant album by a wide margin, and given that much of their career flourished on the basis of seemingly overwhelming complexity, that is a pretty sorry statement in of itself.

Gentle Giant are far from the only progressive rock bands that decided to fly the coop and migrate towards a pop-oriented sound, though they may have been among the first to feel the heat of a late '70s prog- hating public. Say what you will about pop compared to the would-be 'superiority' of prog, Yes and Genesis saw fit to reinvent themselves for the 80s in a pretty amazing way, and opened entirely new doors for themselves as a result. It's little wonder that Gentle Giant couldn't do the same. While Genesis had Phil Collins to pick up the slack and take charge, and Yes enlisted the help of pop genius Trevor Rabin to guide them successfully throughout the next decade, there wasn't anyone in Gentle Giant with the proper set of skills to write a good pop song. Sure, they had tried over the last few recordings (possibly even including their last 'great' record Free Hand) but they were never able to make good music without their bells, whistles, and instrumental fireworks.

It's downright puzzling that Gentle Giant decided to cut prog out of their sounds entirely with Giant for a Day. Their main influence here appears to be the classic rock n' roll from two decades prior, mixed with a handful of surprisingly pleasant acoustic tunes. Nothing here is ever truly bad (Gentle Giant were too skilled a band to have ever devolved entirely) but a lack of inspiration is always audible in music; in pop music, doubly so.

The cheerful driving energy of a lot of these tracks doesn't really feel fun or infectious so much as predictable, maybe even a little contrived. There's a surefire identity crisis with "Rock Climber" in particular; if Gentle Giant had spent the weight of their career making pretentious avant-prog played with a million instruments and inspired by Renaissance-era toilet humour, would it not stand to reason that Gentle Giant wouldn't have had a great deal of experience with trashy groupies?

Maybe things were different in the '70s- it's just been my experience that sexual lust doesn't like to go hand in hand with MiniMoogs and time signature changes.

The truth be told, the rock songs here feel hollow- pleasantly listenable, but there's nothing to get me hooked, either from an intellectual or emotional level. A very surprising exception to that actually comes in the form of the acoustic songs Gentle Giant have included here. "Thank You" and "Friends" go a step further, condensing Gentle Giant to little more than an unplugged guitar and the voice of Derek Shulman, and you know what- it works! Especially when heard with the crackle of a vinyl player, there's a warmth to the acoustic pieces here I wouldn't have dared expect from Gentle Giant, on this or any other of their albums. It's a shame they're so brief. Barring that, the title track is pretty decent (recalling the New Wave approach they would further adopt with Civilian in 1980) and "Spooky Boogie" seems to be meant as some sort of instrumental eulogy to their progressive style. It's a pretty uninventive reprise of some of their past instrumental ideas, but might be worth a fan's gander for sake of the retroactive nostalgia.

Giant for a Day ain't that bad. It's not good either. Going one step further, it's not much of anything. The majority of the personality and charm invested into the making of this album may be found on the cover. Having found a copy on vinyl in a discount bin (appropriately), there have been times I was tempted to fetch the scissors and be a giant for a day. Truth be told, there's some cold symbolism in removing the band's trademark mascot from the music. True to what many others have said of this album, barring Derek Shulman's voice it would be impossible to tell this was Gentle Giant based on the music alone. I find it bleakly ironic that well under a decade before with Acquiring the Taste, they had proudly declared themselves to be playing against the grain of popular music (at the risk of becoming terribly unpopular, so they said.) With this album, they gave it up and finally tried to be popular, and as a result became even more unpopular. Lots of people are still enjoying Acquiring the Taste. I don't see quite so many enjoying Giant for a Day. Go figure.

Review by VianaProghead
1 stars Review N 187

Gentle Giant was never a band with great mass popularity and great record sales. With the arrival of the punk and the new wave by the late of 1976, Gentle Giant saw their popularity and the support of their fan base decrease. Pressed by their record label they decided to change their type of music. A first attempt was made on their previous ninth studio album "The Missing Piece", where they simplified their music and introduced a few songs clearly influenced by pop, punk and new wave. Still, "The Missing Piece" remains an album with many characteristics of the usual band's sound.

However, and especially because the sales of that album, which were very poor, they decided abandon definitely their counterpoint on vocals and their type of music strongly influenced by the classical and medieval sounds. Somehow, certainly they were eluded by the commercial success hoping to increase their fan base. So, it was in that very peculiar context that appears "Giant For A Day" which is generally acknowledged as the lowest point inside the band's career.

Even not the most pop oriented moments of "The Missing Piece" could have prepared anyone for the utterly horrible heap of worthless crap on this album. "Giant For A Day" is just so bad that I still can't believe it. They should just have continued with their own sound, as they would have had their faithful fans anyway and not much would have changed at all. I'm sure that also always was the band's attitude, but pressured from Chrysalis probably caught up with them in the end. But what's even far worse is the shockingly poor material. For a cult band like them, it was a real fatal disaster.

"Giant For A Day" is the tenth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1978. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman, except "Take Me" written by Derek Shulman and John Weathers and "Friends" written by John Weathers. The album has ten tracks. The first track "Words From The Wise", the song choosen to open the album, is a pop song with nice vocal harmonies, but apart from that it's monotonous and repetitive which has the effect of making the song appears to seem much bigger than it is. I seriously wondered if the record was skipping. The second track "Thank You" is a slow sentimental love song almost acoustic, very simple and is close to a Gentle Giant's folk/pop/rock song. But it's so lame and uninspired as a song possibly can be, and Derek Shulman delivers his weakest vocal performance on the album. The third track "Giant For A Day" is a very strange song that in certain parts reminds me Sparks. It's an upbeat rock song with an interesting guitar line, clearly influenced by the new wave. The final effect isn't too unpleasant at all, really. The fourth track "Spooky Boogie" has a mysterious and experimental beginning that reminds us vaguely the typical Gentle Giant's sound. This is the only reminiscent song that reminds us the goog old times of the band with some good musical instrumental workings. The fifth track "Take Me" is, in my humble opinion, an interesting song. It's a nice pop song with a catchy melody. Sincerely, I don't dislike this song at all. It's a simple and emotional power ballad. The sixth track "Little Brown Bag" is a pop rocker song with good rhythm, some good guitar work and energetic vocals, but, in reality, it's a very vulgar song with nothing special on it. The seventh track "Friends" is the shortest song on the album and is the John Weathers' song. It's strictly a very direct commercial song. It's also a very vulgar song with nothing special on it, like the previous track. The eighth track "No Stranger" is another uninspired commercial pop song very monotonous and repetitive. It's one of the weakest songs on the album without making any positive impression, and consequently, nothing is really satisfactory on this song. It continues the uninspired spiral which makes part of the all album. The ninth track "It's Only Goodbye" is apparently a very nice and interesting love ballad, but unfortunately is incipient and repetitive without any kind of imagination. It isn't a very interesting song too. The tenth and last track on the album is "Rocker Climber", and as the name says, is another rocker song. I don't get excited with this song because is a vulgar and uninspired song, more typical of a pop rock vulgar band than a great band like Gentle Giant are. It's with "Little Brown Bag" the two cheesy rockers on the album.

Conclusion: "Giant For A Day" is a complete fiasco. It's without any kind of doubt a mediocre album and the worst Gentle Giant's studio album. It isn't a really progressive album and hasn't enough quality to be a Gentle Giant's album. It's a bunch of disconnected songs, most of them mediocre, without a guideline, where we have a clear perception that the group doesn't know what to do. It's probably an album that shames the band itself. With this album, Gentle Giant made the big mistake of leaving their unmistakable style of music, which made of them a so special and beloved band. Few progressive bands knew how to change their type of music with some quality and commercial success. In my opinion, only Genesis knew to create good pop songs, especially because Phil Collins is, in my humble opinion, a great pop composer. To finish, we may say that Gentle Giant weren't giants just for one day. They were giants for eight years. So, let us forget and absolve them of "Giant For A Day" and "Civilian", and remember them as the great band they were.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by jamesbaldwin
2 stars After the good " The Missing Piece", Gentle Giant lose their inspiration and they could not make progress along the new direction they have taken. In fact, GIANT FOR A DAY is the album of the definitive detachment from progressive rock, the only one where Minnear does not sing and has a clearly secondary role in the group's music, being a quite trivial guitar-oriented album.

After the nice but repetitive vocal harmonies of the opening piece (Words From the Wise, vote 7,5), follows a simple acoustic ballad, in Roger Hodgson style (Supertramp) but not very effective, sometimes inascible (Thank You, vote 5,5/6). The third song (Giant for a Day, vote 7,5/8) is at least original and introduces new sounds and new singing in the production of GG. The fourth piece is an instrumental worthy of a soundtrack of a grotesque film (Spooky Boogy, vote 7). "Take Me" is a funkpop that follows the easy listening of side A (vote 7+).

With "Little Brown Bag" (vote 7) the sound goes to the land of hard rock, but without real conviction. The GG seem beginners or retired musicians who write just to earn some extra money. The two minutes of "Friends" (written by the drummer Weathers) seem to say that the GG do not take it seriously (vote 6,5). In fact, another song comes, "No Stranger", where the group's commitment is minimal (vote 6+). Instead with "It's Only Goodbye" (vote 8), the GGs look for the epic melody, and they succeed: the most beautiful romantic and commercial melodic ballad of the group comes out. The last piece (Rock Climber, vote 7+) is a bogie rock.

Giant for a Day is a commercial album of pop and rock easy listening, with melodic interventions, which has no internal consistency but that seeks only the success of the charts but does not succeed. The GG are wasted for this type of music (and Derek Shulman does not have the right voice), and we see that they do not take it seriously as those who really breaks through the charts.

Medium quality: 7,025; Vote album: 6+; Two Stars

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars GENTLE GIANT was prog's greatest cult band as it emerged from nowhere in 1970 and cranked out one stellar album of the most eclectic arrangements possible under the banner of rock music and thus this band was so ahead of its time that it has literally taken the rest of the world decades to catch up with these musicians' experimental mix of disparate musical genres into an overall sound that was and still is unmatched. While the band has become legendary, things weren't so great for this talented crew of multi-instrumentalists who were known as being too complex and progressive for even the progressive rock crowds but there were a few stalwart hardcore proggers of the day who rabidly followed the great GENTLE GIANT wherever they went through thick and thin. Well, that's until the band decided to take a turn to the poppy side of the force. So much for tolerance from the rabid fans.

In the mid-70s as the musical tastes were turning towards more simplified forms of music from the perceived overweening pomp of prog found itself in an existential crisis. Either adapt to the newer trends or die. True that certain newer strains of prog like the avant-garde weirdness of Henry Cow and Univers Zero was finding a new niche in complex music as well as crossover artists like Rush but for the most part even the bigwigs of prog like Yes, Genesis and Jethro Tull were taming things down a few notches. Having been one of the underdogs at least in terms of commercial success, GENTLE GIANT was also forced to do or die so do they did. While a few more trendy musical elements like reggae trickled into "Interview," it was the band's ninth album "The Missing Piece" where they decided to go in a more pop direction but on that album the band was sort of sticking their feet in the swimming pool without committing to jumping in. All that changed on the band's tenth album GIANT FOR A DAY which found all the provocative use of counterpoints, medieval themes and prog excesses completely disappearing for good.

Despite this album being almost universally panned and also happening to be the lowest rated of any GENTLE GIANT album, GIANT FOR A DAY is actually quite an eclectic album in its own right. While all the prog elements that graced the band's most ambitious albums like "Octopus" and "In A Glass House" are nowhere to be found, the five members of lineup of GENTLE GIANT still incorporated many styles and ideas into their pop rock hooks and as far as catchy melodic melodies go, GIANT FOR A DAY is a much more cohesive and satisfying pop rock album than its predecessor, at least in my world. While it's clear that GG was going for pop crossover mainstream success in hopes of joining the ranks of mega-selling acts like The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac or David Bowie, the band was still subtly sophisticated in how they crafted their tunes and if one listens carefully, it's obvious that these guys were still quite passionate about the music they were crafting as much attention was paid to crafting the very best melodic pop hooks possible.

The album begins with a familiar style of GENTLE GIANT with the opening "Words From The Wise" which finds the band's vocal harmonizing usher in an energetic rock groove with Gary Green setting the stage for a guitar groove led song structure with pounding bass and drums as the subordinate rhythmic heft. Other catchy guitar led hooks unfold on the upbeat rockers "Little Brown Bag" and "Rock Climber," the latter which displays the use of stride piano runs from Kerry Minnear. Two softer acoustic guitar ballads include "Take Me" which sounds something like a Supertramp song in the vein of "Give A Little" and the only tune that Derek Schulman didn't provide lead vocals, the Paul McCartney sounding "Friends" which featured drummer John Weather as vocalist in chief. This tune sounds right of the the "Yesterday" playbook and is actually equally compelling. Weather's voice is a surprise in how tender and precise it is.

My favorite cut of all has to be the extraordinary title track which finds the band crossing the line into new wave with a jittery Devo staccato robotic groove with a call and response between Schulman's lyrics and guitar licks. The track is off the charts catchy and the only song off this album that the band has ever played live. There was no tour to support this album which could be one of the reasons it may have been mostly forgotten. Another cool song is "Spooky Boogie" which is a playful instrumental that would make a good Halloween playlist. I could totally see this in tandem with an Elvira, Mistress of the Dark video where she's doing one of those nipple ring twirls. You know where she does one, then does the other and then both simultaneously? Ha! Other styles i detect vary from Steely Dan jazz-rock in "No Stranger," the boogie fueled soft rock of "Take Me" and the tear jerking "It's Only Goodbye" which milks the guitar for all its worth into a sad sorrowful lick that crafts a very distinct melodic development.

For prog snobs this will surely cause them to lose their lunch as the prog years had been completely extinguished and the pop hooks are all sprinkled with sugar and saccharine possible but out of all the sell out prog bands that crafted mesmerizing and really cleverly crafted pop rock hooks, GENTLE GIANT really hit a high note on GIANT FOR A DAY and along with albums such as Yes' "Drama" and "90215," Genesis' early 80s albums, King Crimson's "Discipline" and other progressive pop albums by Asia and Supertramp, this GENTLE GIANT album ranks high on my list and is actually an album i love to play on a regular basis. The tracks are super catchy, pleasantly diverse and yet just off-kilter enough to stand out from anything else even by GG itself. Yep, i'm in a lonely room loving the heck outa this album but if you view this from an objective lens with no comparisons to the past and judge it solely on its own merits, then there's no denying that GIANT FOR A DAY is a really brilliant pop rock album that if done by a more commercial band could've been a huge hit. In other words, the music is so much better than the awful album cover could possibly convey. I LOVE IT!

Review by Warthur
4 stars It's really no surprise why Giant For a Day gets a harsh ride from critics and fans. Whilst I personally quite enjoy it, I think its biggest flaw is that it was released as a Gentle Giant album. Had it been the debut album for a new successor project, perhaps it would not have been weighed down by the baggage of the preceding 10 albums (including Playing the Fool).

As it stands, however, the reasons for its commercial and critical failure are painfully clear. Nobody who'd fallen in love with Gentle Giant's distinctive, original style of prog could fail to find this album jarring compared to the group's earlier work (though those who paid close attention to the first side of The Missing Piece would at least have had warnings that things might develop in this direction).

Equally, it was deeply unlikely that anyone who'd already disliked Gentle Giant would have given them a second chance. (Why would they expect the band's 10th studio album to sound all that different to the preceding 8 years' worth of work?) And anyone new to the band and curious about them would surely have been steered by word of mouth from fans to more widely-celebrated albums by the band, and probably correctly so.

Putting the Gentle Giant name aside, though, and assessing this album based purely on the music, this isn't actually that bad. Yes, the vocal harmonies owe more to Kansas than to the Gentle Giant of old, but the band turn out to be not too shabby at turning out quirky pop with a progressive sheen to it - the sort of material which many of their peers would resort to in the early 1980s in order to adapt to changing times. In this way, you could argue that Gentle Giant were actually as ahead of the times here as they were for much of the rest of their career - it's just that the times they were foreseeing would prove to be a difficult era indeed to be a prog band.

I rather like Giant For a Day - in particular, it feels to me like a more consistent album than The Missing Piece, which was split between attempts at poppier works on its first side and more classically prog-sounding songs on its second side, with the result that whilst, yes, the prog pieces do make it more palatable for fans of Gentle Giant's classic sound, but as an overall album it comes across as somewhat disjointed. Here, at least, the band seem to have settled on a direction and have a specific music statement to make with the album.

Unfortunately, it's not something anyone wanted to hear at the time of release; nor will it scratch the itch if you are in a particular mood for a Gentle Giant album which sounds, well, anything like Gentle Giant. On the other hand, if you're in the mood for quirky late-1970s pop rock with a few progressive tricks up its sleeves, it's a fun little listen... just pretend you didn't see the band name on the cover and you'll probably enjoy it better.

Review by Mirakaze
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Contrary to The Missing Piece which still made some unsuccessful overtures to Gentle Giant's prog fans, Giant For A Day! is an unashamed, self-assured pop album. You might think this would be an improvement: after all, it's better to go in a single direction with conviction than to go for an unsuccessful middle-of-the-road approach between two genres that you're not able to fuse all that well. All the same, I must admit to really not liking this album. Most of it has an extremely generic late 70s soft rock taste to it, a bit like Fleetwood Mac except watered down to a soggy mush, and only alternated by some obnoxiously overblown power pop trash ("Words From The Wise", "It's Only Goodbye"), a pointless instrumental ("Spooky Boogie") and a simple short folk ditty of John Weathers singing and strumming on his acoustic guitar without accompaniment ("Friends"). The fact that I probably have to count the latter as my favourite song on the album should tell you all you need to know, really.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I really did not mind Gentle Giant going in a more accessible direction while retaining the essential progressive sound with Missing Piece. However with the follow up, Giant For A Day they completely abandoned any trace of their progressive roots and went in a pure pop-rock direction.Even that ... (read more)

Report this review (#2696277) | Posted by Lupton | Wednesday, March 2, 2022 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Review #102 This album hurts, seriously: hurts bad. It's not that this is a bad album, it's that this is an AWFUL album, seriously, what on Earth were they thinking? Even the most acceptable songs are not something worth saving. There is absolutely no originality in this record, every song so ... (read more)

Report this review (#2598061) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Friday, October 1, 2021 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I wish that there was a 0/5 stars option so that I could express my contempt for the absolute trash that is this album. What truly baffles me is the fact that it came from Gentle Giant, a band who is known for its masterful compositional skills, which are able to manifest in their music while there ... (read more)

Report this review (#1738846) | Posted by Caleb9000 | Wednesday, June 28, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Funny to comprehend some people marked it with the label "masterpiece of progressive rock", but it is by no means ununderstandable when they gave it five stars. I've made me my own rating system of listener's and buyer's ratings, and in my recognition it's 7 C, that is "charming though not remar ... (read more)

Report this review (#1059412) | Posted by Woon | Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars NOT for the first time I wonder at the ears of some of the "expert" reviewers, because this isn't as bad as some of you folks make out. Certainly it's not prog, but prog snobbery isn't attractive. By 77 most prog bands had modified their sound to some extent and this is a year on from that date ... (read more)

Report this review (#803728) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Monday, August 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Along with other progrock dinosaurs Gentle Giant were facing tough propositions by the late '70s, having practically been abandoned by their UK record representatives in favour of punk rock they also found themselves struggling to maintain a foothold in the North American markets where the enemy ... (read more)

Report this review (#184374) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Thursday, October 2, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is usually said to be the worst GG album, so I expected very little of it. I gave it a try, though, and I was surprised: I do enjoy it. Of course this is not prog at all, and it's not a pop masterpiece either, but if you forget that the band is GG and take it as, say, a Cheap Trick or a M ... (read more)

Report this review (#106666) | Posted by eddietrooper | Monday, January 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Not really bad, but certainly not really good, when you recognise the Inspector Gadget tune in one of the songs (Spookie Boogie) you know what time it is, and it's time to put the baby to sleep. Selling out is not a bad thing if it's done properly, but this is meat nor fish. Still some good m ... (read more)

Report this review (#98680) | Posted by tuxon | Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This isn't GENTLE GIANT anymore! Allright progheads, I've listened to this album and I just found that four songs were listenable and only one of those four songs was really good. The other songs were not forgettable, but they bored me, though they are not sleazy, they were just to poppy for m ... (read more)

Report this review (#86112) | Posted by Badabec | Monday, August 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Giant For A Day - 35th Anniversary Edition 1978...The symphonic-prog genre is crumbling... KING CRIMSON doesn't exist... GENESIS release "And Then There Were Three".... successful, but clearly not the Gensis of old... ELP release the abominable "Love Beach"... YES releases the jumbled ... (read more)

Report this review (#64242) | Posted by Rutgers Joe | Wednesday, January 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of their best, in fact. Most fans seem to hate it, but I think they are deeply wrong and don't understand that less complicated doesn't mean worse... This album is a collection of very enjoyable songs. This is another type of music than most of their albums, but I would recommend it to tho ... (read more)

Report this review (#62661) | Posted by | Sunday, January 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album isn't truly prog in the Gentle Giant sense, but I do believe that it is still prog music even though it is anti-progressive in relation to the rest of Gentle Giant's music. It is true that anything after Interview is probably for collectors only but I still think that this is a great a ... (read more)

Report this review (#57231) | Posted by | Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Now... don't get me wrong. I love Gentle Giant. But this is not the Big GG! I suppose you could consider this album to be the most defined turning point for them. It seems as if they almost made a V-line from Prog to Pop with this one... I just don't get it. I will admit that I sort of enjoy ... (read more)

Report this review (#57229) | Posted by Legoman | Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Giant for a Day is one of the best pop recordings around. An album late 70's and onwards Genesis could only dream of making. If released under a different name, it would have been seen as a classic in pop music. It is a pop abum with progressive overtones. It is not a new wave recording with ... (read more)

Report this review (#39393) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Yes, GG's worse (progressively talking, cos' as a pop album it's definetely a 5 star). But that doesn't mean you, GG collectors (like me), shouldn't have it. That's why I've rated "Collectors/fans only". If you only mind the prog ones, get all from GENTLE GIANT to FREE HAND. If you are a GG co ... (read more)

Report this review (#37092) | Posted by | Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars You poor souls, Sure "Giant for a Day" is not as complex as previous albums but it is still essential. It's nice to hear them in a simpler format. It's shows that they are human. The same holds true for "Civilian". So get off your prog rock high horse and be a little bit more forgiving. ... (read more)

Report this review (#6277) | Posted by | Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I agree with last reviewer, albums are frozen in time. I bought it from new and a love for all gentle giant. From my college in Aston Birmingham I took it to a DJ and played 'words from the wise' alongside patti smith, ramones, sex pistols and damned. At that time music was going through a maj ... (read more)

Report this review (#6276) | Posted by | Sunday, May 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As far as pop albums go, this isn't good, probably because its not really pop. As far as prog. albums go, well, its just not prog. What can I say about this album? For some retarded reason I love it. Everyone likes to talk about how it just isn't true to the Gentle Giant way, and I could actua ... (read more)

Report this review (#6273) | Posted by | Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I lost 23 years. I bought this album in1978, and it was the first time I heard Gentle Giant. The Band weren't popular in Brazil, all my friends didn't knew any of their albums at that time. I hate this record and never more heard GG until 2000 when internet opened my ears to the band again. Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#6272) | Posted by | Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This truly is bad. GG were never really good at 'rock' music: As reviewers of their other albums attest, it is their willingness to experiment, and to force bizarre changes (and I do think their music often sounds 'forced', though this is not necessarily a bad thing), that make GG somewhat special. ... (read more)

Report this review (#6266) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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