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BREAKFAST IN AMERICA

Supertramp

Crossover Prog


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Supertramp Breakfast in America album cover
3.93 | 492 ratings | 60 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gone Hollywood
2. The Logical Song
3. Goodbye Stranger
4. Breakfast In America
5. Oh Darling
6. Take The Long Way Home
7. Lord Is It Mine
8. Just Another Nervous Wreck
9. Casual Conversations
10. Child Of Vision

Total Time: 45:57

Disc2 of the superdeluxe edition (of 2010)

Disc 2
1. The Logical Song Live At Pavillon de Paris/1979
2. Goodbye Stranger Live At Pavillon de Paris/1979
3. Breakfast In America Live At Wembley/1979
4. Oh Darling Live In Miami/1979
5. Take The Long Way Home Live At Wembley/1979
6. Another Man's Woman Live At Pavillon de Paris/1979
7. Even In The Quietest Moments Live At Pavillon de Paris/1979
8. Rudy Live At Wembley/1979
9. Downstream Live At Pavillon de Paris/1979
10. Give A Little Bit Live At Pavillon de Paris/1979
11. From Now On Live At Wembley/1979
12. Child Of Vision Live At Pavillon de Paris/1979

Lyrics

Search SUPERTRAMP Breakfast in America lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search SUPERTRAMP Breakfast in America tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Davies / vocals and keyboards
- Roger Hodgson / vocals, keyboards and guitars
- John A. Helliwell / woodwind instruments
- Dougie Thomson / bass
- Bob C. Benberg / drums

Releases information

LP A&M Records AMLK63708 (1979)
CD A&M Records (USA) 493349 (2002)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to bsurmano for the last updates
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Crisis? What Crisis?Crisis? What Crisis?
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Famous Last WordsFamous Last Words
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ParisParis
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SUPERTRAMP Breakfast in America ratings distribution


3.93
(492 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
31%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
45%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

SUPERTRAMP Breakfast in America reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Breakfast, lunch and diner all over the world

After the healthy sales of Moments, Supertramp decided to indeed concentrate on the North american market and was ready to go at lengths to achieve massive success, as the title and the wink New York City artwork indicates. Still with its classic line-up, this album is loaded with hits, although I think that even the group was surprised at the number of successfull 45 rpm singles they pulled out of this monster album, again mostly Hodgson's, most likely on the strength of his instantly recognizable voice. I'm sure that this Hodgson preference did unsettle the balance and ambiance in the group on the mid-term range, because Davies' tracks are at least as good, but not getting the deserved success, despite the success of Goodbye Stranger, one of the most cynical song of the group.

The All-For-America intent is blattantly expressed in the excellent and cynic Davies-penned Gone Hollywood album-opener, with its outstanding middle section. Unfortunately, this type of track gets shunned by the monstrous hits like the superb-but-overexposed soul-baring Logical Song and the wanker melody of the title track, the album's first two hits. Inbetween these mega successses Davies's Goodbye Stranger tunes does manage to pull some attention, but it is mostly due to the song's bitterness, a good guitar solo and unfortunately the awful Hodgson-sung chorus.

The flipside is of the same accabit, opening on the interesting (no more) but also mega-selling single Take The Long Way Home, followed by Hodgson's very personal and emotional Lord Is It Mine track. Rick's Nervous Wreck is another fine Davies track that got shunned by Hodgson's mega-selling hits. I've always wondered if Casual conversations shouldn't have been sung by Helliwell, though. Closing the album is the fantastic Child Of Vision tune, the only track on BIA that reminds us of the progressive slant of the group, with its awesome contrast between the Hodgson vereses a,nd the Davies chorus and the long instrumental finale. In fact, Child Of Vision is simply a stupendous track that would have not been out of place on Crime - its lyrics approach that concept.

If it wasn't the last track, Child of Vision, I would hate this album (well mostly its commercial aura). Although this vinyl has superb pop music, but outside of the scope of this site, this was a major let-down for prog fans, who after Crime and Fool's Overture, expected much more than this collection of pop songs, no matter how beautiful some could be. I still have problems about this album; because of its over-exposure at the time (although I've re-warmed to it in the last decade or so), but the most of the tracks are very Supertramp-worthy. Unavoidable in Supertramp's discography, despite its not-always disserving over-exposure, but I wouldn't call BIA essential listening.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#6775) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Breakfast in America" is one of the most catchy and popular album that Supertramp made. The excellent sax parts are not so omnipresent. There are tons of catchy & rhythmic piano. The very varied and well recorded rhythmic guitar occupies an important role; there are also some excellent catchy & melodic electric guitar solos. The drums and bass enhance the rhythmic provided by the keyboards and the guitars. The lead & backing vocals are ABSOLUTELY addictive and memorable: the silly highly pitched backing vocals slightly remind me the ones on the Frank Zappa's "Zoot allures" album. There is still the omnipresent hammering Wurlitzer piano, the Supertramp's trademark! The sound is fresh, and ALL the tracks are excellent. It seems there are some excellent background strings arrangements, like on "The logical song". The track "Breakfast in America" has some subtle clarinet & unidentified tenor brass instrument. "Take a long way home" has catchy harmonica parts, rhythmic piano and organ parts; again, some string arrangements are in the background. "Lord is it mine" is a bit more melancholic than the other songs. "Just another nervous wreck" has en excellent electric guitar solo accompanied by ambient floating organ. The more mellow "Casual conversation" has some discrete percussion parts in the beginning, sounding like a vibraphone; this track is a bit less lively and more low profile than the other ones. The last track, "Child of vision", is probably the most progressive one: WOW! The powerful backing vocals chanting "Child of vision" of the refrain is SUPERB; the fast hammering Wurlitzer piano, the crystal clear piano solo and the background keyboards are delightful, well supported by the drums and bass. This record is maybe barely progressive, but who cares, when nothing bad can be said about it?

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#6792) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I remember "spring cleaning" in "Seven"ty-Nine with my Mom and stopping in mid-swipe of a dust rag because "The Logical Song" had begun to fill the room with its captivating magic from my AM/FM radio, and I had to stop lest I miss one delicious line, one sympathetic note, one drop of the musical ambrosia that the British Isles seemed to hoard in abundance. Long before the words "progressive rock" meant a thing to me, when things simply broke down into good and bad, Supertramp was infinitely good if it existed in the universe. They straddled a world between 10CC and ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, filtering their eccentricities through (what then seemed) a symphonic understanding of pop music, geniuses sympathetic to the musical ennui an American teenager might encounter in the average day of a radio deejay. In later years, the reveries of childhood give way to what we call reality (an evil if ever there was one), and we attach an asterisk to the old gods as a preventative to a pantheism that might admit mortals into the ranks of the immortals. Having let "Breakfast In America" grow cold over the years, believing I'd outgrown its surfeit of sweetness, I was delighted to find that I had plenty of good taste even at the tender age of thirteen. Listen to "Gone Hollywood", "The Logical Song", "Goodbye Stranger", "Breakfast In America", "Take The Long Way Home" and "Just Another Nervous Wreck." Listen to the songs in between.

If Supertramp didn't have their hand on the pulse of pop music's powerful potentialities, if they weren't a revelation to radio listeners who thought the airwaves were sleeping with the enemy too often, then you weren't there in that room with me. I soon bought the album and took the magic home with me, at my beck and call whenever I felt blue or misunderstood. With time my tastes changed, the raging hormones found a better ally in THE CLASH and THE DEAD KENNEDYS, and somehow I never found the time for "Breakfast". Call it the cyclical nature of life, but I have time now, and the original wonder is there all over again. Hello, stranger.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#6780) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 03, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Prog loses out to the lure of commercial success. again

By the time of "Breakfast in America", Supertramp were BIG.

With a number of hit singles already under their belt, this album provided further evidence of their ability to write good catchy pop songs, along with more structured progressive numbers. It has to be said that the former are predominant here, with only "Child of vision" having any real leanings at all to prog. That said, the other tracks are strong and melodic.

"The logical song" was a great single (dreadfully covered more recently as a dance number by the Scissor Sisters), with Roger Hodgson in fine vocal form, delivering some rather disturbing lyrics about mind manipulation. The song has passing similarities to "Dreamer" from the "Crime of the century" album.

"Take the long way home" has a wonderful melody to it, not unlike a cut down version of "Hide in your shell". The keyboard effects on this track are truly magical. When you hear Roger Hodgson's massive input to tracks like this you realise how the writing was on the wall for the band from the moment he left.

The closing "Child of vision" contrasts noticeably with the rest of the album. It is a lengthy keyboard based piece, which draws together many of the band's traits into a more complex, absorbing piece.

With the huge commercial success of Supertramp with "Breakfast in America" , it was a case of giving the masses what they want. In doing so, they did continue to make thoroughly enjoyable music, but the prog world was losing a great band.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#6781) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 06, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I think four stars is a good call on Breakfast In America. Commercially their biggest ' day' and it would probably warrant a five star rating if ' Take The Long Way Home' was not on it. ' Child of Vision' is my favourite long track by the Supertramp outfit and it is very cleverly put together. Rick Davie's piano work is stunning. Another great track is ' Gone Hollywood' which moves around uncomfortably but delivers a great mood and works as a great opener to the album.' Casual conversations' sung by Davies is also great much in the same vein as ' Downstream' from Even in The Quietest Moments. Yes they went even more commercial on the follow up to this but there is thankfully more excellent material to come from Supertramp after this fine album.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#6785) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2004

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album was recorded between 1978 and early 1979, and it was released in March 1979, while Disco Music was still the fad and people like me who didn`t like Disco Music (with some good exceptions like KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND) had to continue looking for new good quality Prog Rock and Rock bands. I first listened to SUPERTRAMP in the Radio, in late 1979 or maybe in early 1980. The first song was "Goodbye Stranger". I liked this song a lot, but still recognizing that it sounded somewhat commercial and even with some slightly Disco drums arrangements. So, in May of 1980 I went to a record shop with one of my brothers, we saw this album (with a cover which seemed to me very "ordinary commercial" in those days!) and I bought this album, and my brother was happy too because he also liked the "Goodbye Stranger" song. We arrived to my parents`house, I played the album, and when the stylus was in the song "Goodbye Stranger" one of my other brothers was dancing and singing the falsetto lyrics of the chorus: "Goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane"! We liked very much this album, but I particularly liked it more, and one day I played four times the whole album from start to finish."Gone Hollywood" has "loser/winner at last" lyrics and a good sax solo in the end. "The Logical Song" has very good lyrics. "Goodbye Stranger" too, and also a very good lead guitar at the end. "Breakfast in America" is very commercial pop. "Oh Darling" is a great love song with excellent arrangements. "Take the long way home" also has good lyrics and piano, plus Harmonica and clarinet solos. The beautiful "Lord is it mine" is a very good religious song, sung with feeling by Hodgson and with a superb clarinet solo (I consider this song my favourite from this album). "Another Nervous Wreck" is a "nervous" song really, with very good lead guitars. "Casual Conversations" has funny lyrics about a couple in fight, with an arrangement which sounds to me similar as Billy Joel`s "Just Like the Way You Are", and a very good sax solo and funny backing vocals (due to the subject of the lyrics!). Is curious how previous reviewers consider "Child of Vision" a Prog Song. For me, it is slightly Disco Music in arrangement, at least some the drums parts. But it is also a good song. I think that at that time I considered Supertramp a commercial pop band with some Progressive Rock arrangements, but maybe I was most interested in this band due to the lyrics: a high quality commercial pop-prog band with good quality lyrics which were "deep" in meaning and messages. This album is good from start to finish. I still consider the cover design of this album to be very commercial, but it is a good design really.In mid 1981 I bought my next Supertramp`s albums ("Even in the Quietest Moments..." and "Paris") and I still like Supertramp`s music.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#6787) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2004

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Released in spring 1979, "Breakfast In America" was Supertramp's commercial peak, selling well over 18 million copies worldwide. It's much poppier than their previous albums, but in a good way. "The Logical Song" is their most-known hit, and it surely have been overplayed, but no-matter how much I listen to it, I never really get tired of it. The title track, however, is the weakest on the album. The rest ones are fantastic, in my opinion. "Gone Hollywood" is a very progressive and great song, and "Child of Vision" is a great closer to the album. The crystal clear production makes the album even better too. The musicianship is tight and impressive!

One of my favorites with them. 5/5

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Posted Monday, November 29, 2004

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars SUPERTRAMP Reissues Part I

I have many fond memories of SUPERTRAMP and their music. I remember it like it was yesterday when I first heard "Crime Of The Century". I was visiting my brother in Boston (at the time I was around 15 years old) and the guy next door invited me in to listen to this cool new band. He proceeded to roll up a big fat one and give the record a spin. I was amazed at how different the music sounded; I had not heard anything like it before. "Bloody Well Right" really stayed with me for a while after that virgin listen. Although I can recall fondly all the great music that would come after that, I never got into the band as I did others of that time. It is now 2002 and nearly their entire catalog is available in the remastered form. I feel more like the new audience rather than the old classic rock fan after hearing these amazing recordings with the crisp and pristine sound.

The listeners that were previously gained prior to the impact of "Crime Of The Century" became disappointed with the bands more mainstream rock direction. I personally feel it made them a better band and allowed for more diversification, thereby reaching a much larger audience. "Crisis? What Crisis?" was an earful of the prog-rock-pop combination, and a very strong statement that could have easily gained some hardliner prog heads back and bring onboard some new fans as well. "Sister Moonshine" served notice that they were not about to rebuild their foundation just to make it commercially ... well, not yet. "Even In The Quietest Moments" started to hint around that they were beginning to soften up a bit and change direction with more acoustic guitar flavorings, although it was a very strong release and good follow up to the previous release. "Fools Overture" was a masterstroke of musical genius clocking in at over 10 minutes. In fact, there were so many great songs on these four albums it is hard to keep track of them all. Some tracks would be become FM radio staples (and remain so today) and others huge hits on the AM radio side of the dial. There was enough mixture of genres in their sound for them to satisfy a large mix of admirers. The usage of piano, acoustic and electric guitars, soaring vocals, and all-around outstanding musicianship is brilliant on all four of these albums. The sound has become simply phenomenal with the remastering process.

The combination of progressive rock and pop would prevail over the course of the first three releases. When the multi-platinum (by the 90s 18 million units were sold) "Breakfast In America" was released they became a full-blown rock-pop sensation, leaving all of their progressive influences behind. The featured instrument was the keyboards, when previously the guitar and keys had an equal measure of influence on all of the other releases. Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies voices played off each other beautifully, and their harmonies were so sweet and melodic. I think that they reached their peak working together on this album.

After the huge triumph of their most successful album, the aftermath would result in creative burn out. I can see how it would be difficult to match the string of successful albums that they produced over the course of a five-year period. They were a literal musical juggernaut, but all good things must eventually come to end. These four albums stand as the most prolific and significant of the group's catalog. Each album stands on its own as classic renderings of rock, progressive rock, and pop.

SUPERTRAMP - The Supertramp Remasters - "Crime Of The Century", "Crisis? What Crisis?", "Even In The Quietest Moments", "Breakfast In America"

Rating: 5/5 (all four)

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Posted Thursday, February 03, 2005

Review by Yanns
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Ah, this album remains to this day one of my favorite listens. The style of the music prevents it, for me, from being a masterpiece of the genre, but what a fantastic album it is anyway. I would consider giving this album 4 or 5 stars if this wasn't a "prog" website. However, it is far more "pop prog" then actual "prog", so it gets 3 from me, although I must stress how much I love the album.

This can easily become one of anyone's favorite albums, simply by listening to it a couple times. The album is so purely enjoyable that most anyone can love it.

The highlights are, for me, tracks 1 through 6 or so. The others are great, but these always stand out for me. Gone Hollywood sets the album in motion in typical Supertramp style.

A standout for the album, for me, is the vocals. The different vocalists and styles of singing provide a great contrast. The main example of this is the song Goodbye Stranger, which, incidentally, is my favorite song on the album.

This is among the most, as I said before, enjoyable albums on the planet. Hence, only 12% of the people here rated this as a 3 or lower (I did too, as you see, but only because of what I said above in the first paragraph). So pop it in and enjoy fellas. You'll enjoy it hands down, even though it isn't fully "prog". 3/5 stars.

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Posted Monday, January 02, 2006

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm not a big fan of Supertramp and I have not followed the who's who and what roles they play in the band. And, this is my first review about Supertramp. Oh yes, for sure this album was one of rock albums that colored my schooldays when I was in transition from Senior High School into undergraduate. I heard some tunes of this album were played at the radio and became hits at that time. I even purchased the cassette which I was amazed about the high quality of sonic quality - even though it was just a cassette. It became my favorite when it came into a record with great high fidelity. I could not remember clearly which songs that I regularly played at that time. But when I saw the CD of this album at secondary market I did purchase one and the CD sonic quality is truly amazing! All sound details from the instruments played are produced clearly with perfect balance of bass, treble and mid-range. I really enjoy it very much and never regret owning the CD. Together with this one, I also purchased the live concert album "Paris" volume 1 and 2 (separate CD).

Let's talk about the music. First off I never thought that this is categorized under prog even though when I scrutinized the chords and notations used here resemble prog composition - a bit, at least! Forget about it's prog or not I reckon that this album is definitely very enjoyable with great melody and memorable musical parts. The guys in the band compose the music beautifully - combining sweet melody, rich textures (especially with the use of woodwind instruments) and straight forward structure.

Second, the key characteristics of Supertramp are represented by the powerful and harmonious vocal quality and piano-based music. Almost all songs are sung wonderfully with excellent quality of vocal combined with piano and keyboard work. Take an example of my best favorite track which indeed a title track of this album (track 4) is a perfect composition combining piano, powerful vocal and great rhythm section. The inclusion of woodwind instruments throughout the song has made the song truly rich in textures and set the music apart from any other rock or pop music. The other songs like "Logical Song", "Lord Is It Mine" or "Child of Vision" are examples on how excellent the compositions are. "Child of Vision" is also one of my favorites. It's hard to believe if there is a human being that does not enjoy this well-crafted song. It's the longest one in term of duration and it's very enjoyable from start to end, especially with the piano solo and rhythm section.

Third, in terms of songwriting, I like the lyrics of this album. I think, that's another strong point of Supertramp music. Breakfast In America is a good example of powerful lyrics, especially when it's combined with music punctuation.

It's hard to deny that this is the band's excellent album that any music buffs should own a copy. The music is completely accessible to many ears and also memorable. This album is produced by Supertramp and Peter Henderson.Keep on proggin' .!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Sunday, May 28, 2006

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars I think if this album suffers from anything, it is for being too good. There are some who shun massively popular music simply as a matter of course. I don’t think that’s the issue with Breakfast in America. With this album the problem is more the 20 quadrillion or so number of times most of the songs have been played on the radio, at social events, or appeared as period references on film or television. Most of the songs on this album are integral icons in our modern landscape.

Roger Hodgson and crew had relocated from England to Los Angeles shortly before this album was recorded, and were clearly impacted by the major cultural shift (hell, most of us who live in America are even impacted by the cultural shift of Los Angeles). In addition, the 70s were coming to a close and the na´ve innocence of that time was being supplanted by a hairy-chested and shallow machismo scene being played out between socially-active men and their conquests (er., “companions”). Hodgson and Rick Davies expanded on both of these themes with their usual wry sense of humor and sarcasm, but all the while keeping at the forefront a charmingly unaffected and upbeat attitude. The combination of those themes that unique combination of personalities and attitudes, and some damn fine musical sensibilities, made for a truly memorable album. Perhaps even too memorable.

The album kicks off with the usual suspects picking up right where Even in the Quietest Moments left off – Rick Davies’ captivating work on the Wurlitzer piano; plenty of horns and woodwinds, in this instance saxophone and what might be a very faint flute; and both Hodgson and Davies with their butch guy/fluff guy one-two vocal punch. Great stuff! The boys are describing their adjustment to the cold and impersonal environ of Tinseltown -

“Ain’t nothing new in my life today, I’m tired of walking from place to place;

I’ve yet to come across a friendly face, and now the words sound familiar, as them slam the door - ’you’re not what we’re looking for.’”

But like I said this band seems to be irrepressibly upbeat, so even here the outgoing message for the song becomes –

“So keep your chin up boy, forget the pain - I know you’ll make it if you try again.

There’s no use in quitting when the world is waiting for you”.

And so on with the show! What follows is nothing short of a musical assault of intensely gorgeous art encased on the shell of rock (if you want to call it ‘rock’) music, beginning with the first and biggest of four hit singles off the album, “The Logical Song”. The lyrics here, much like “School” from Crime of the Century, are a direct communication between the band and the soul of every teenager in hearing range. Any kid alive in 1979 probably has these lyrics permanently committed to memory, either because they identified with the very personal message, or because they couldn’t escape the radio barrage of the song in heavy rotation. Musically the band employs at least two keyboards here, the familiar piano but also pretty heavy on a harmonic organ piece. In addition, the liberal use of saxophone is a bit in contrast with the band’s tendency to use brass selectively, but I must say that hear it definitely adds am edginess to the music. So part of the irony of this song was that it was a mega-hit in 1979 with teens and adults alike, but I’m not sure either group knew what they were listening to. The upbeat tempo made this almost danceable, but in fact this is some angst-ridden lamenting on the verge of a breakdown by a grown man struggling to come to grips with his own sense of being. Brilliant stuff!

“Goodbye Stranger” has some of the most intriguing keyboard work on the album, highly repetitive but very nice progressions that are almost hidden and disguised as a pop song. The use of whistling adds to the cavalier theme here, a character sketch of a ‘player’ in the purest sense of the word who is casually tossing insincere comments over his shoulder on his way out the door after a one-night stand. I don’t know where these guys picked up some theater experience, but it’s especially on songs like this one that aspect of their art really shows through. Hodgson cuts loose with some fine guitar work at the end of this one. Despite their label as an ‘art rock’ band, the emphasis is clearly more on the ‘art’ than the ‘rock’, as the presence of the guitar is secondary to the rest of the instrumentation throughout most of the album.

“Breakfast in America” is one of the very few instances in progressive (or popular) music where a tuba is employed as a feature instrument (there they go with more of that theatrical charm again). It is the perfect complement to the choppy keyboards and sparse drum/bass rhythm (and I’m not sure what the woodwind is here – clarinet?). The theme here is a bit of an amalgamation of the first three combined –

“Take a jumbo cross the water - like to see America. See the girls in California - I’m hoping it’s going to come true, but there’s not a lot I can do”

Hodgson brings back his guitar for “Oh Darling”, but the emphasis is still on the twin keyboards. This is a short love song, almost out of place with the building rant the rest of the album represents, but it makes for a quiet interlude before the ranting starts up again.

Which of course doesn’t take long. “Take the Long Way Home” should really have been the closing track for the album, but – oh well. The theme here is one that can really wrap itself around you psyche and squeeze of you’re not careful. It’s all about unfilled dreams, the monotony of the day-to-day, and that innate desire for a little bit of respect. Soul-wrenching stuff, wrapped in the guise of a slightly poppish piano and harmonica ditty, and I think completely misunderstood by most of those who sang along to it twenty-seven years ago:

“Does it feel that you life’s become a catastrophe? Oh, it has to be for you to grow, boy.

When you look through the years and see what you could have been oh, what you might have been, if you’d had more time.

So, when the day comes to settle down, who’s to blame if you’re not around?

You took the long way home”.

“Lord is it Mine” is another short diversion into self-indulgent pity, but once again the piano work is superb and the vocals drip with emotion.

I’m not sure if there’s a coherent message in “Just Another Nervous Wreck”, and this is the weakest track here, although considering the high quality of the rest of the album, that’s not bad company. Hodgson has some nice licks on guitar in the middle here, and also in the closing. Otherwise this sounds more like a show tune than it does a progressive work.

“Casual Conversations” is Randy Newman meets Warren Zevon with a bit of Harry Nilsson thrown in over Billy Joel. So you get the idea – simple piano, solo vocals, introspective and sad.

In some respects the best is saved for last, as “Child of Vision” combines all the best features of the album into a single track. That said, I would have liked to seen this switched in the track order with “Take the Long Way Home” as it would have made the album flow a bit better lyrically, but this is a minor point. The piano work here is the best on the album, a bit choppy bit highly expressive and augmented well by the pulsating and repetitive organ and an almost melodic bass line. The extended piano solo in the middle is something the band has been known to do in concert, but frankly I think fans would have been well-served to hear more of this on studio albums. Interestingly, it wasn’t until near the end with Famous Last Words that we started to here more of this type of instrumental work. I’m ranted long and often about my distaste for the fadeout ending, but here it actually works, with the saxophone coming in the augment the piano and providing a kind of mournful yet hopeful feel as they both fade to black. Very tastefully done.

Breakfast in America may have been the commercial peak of the band’s career, and it was definitely a very solid album. I vacillate between four and five stars for this one because to me an album only deserves five stars if at the end of hearing it you’re either sitting in stunned silence, or ready to make a major life change. It’s a pretty high bar, but it works for me. I think this album requires a slight expansion of that line to include albums that simply cause you to applaud the honest and straightforward effort of the artists who offered it. That fits here – five stars.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#85175) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006

Review by Australian
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Breakfast in America" is one of the easiest of all progressive albums I've heard to get into. After just one listen you can reap the rewards of this slightly poppy, yet thoroughly enjoyable album. Supertramp are on par with bands like Queen (in style), but sadly they never received the praise they deserved. Many classic songs, a couple of which have recently been redone by some "artists" emerged from "Breakfast in America." The first song which comes to mind is "The Logical song" which I've heard being sung by some stupid high-pitched warped voiced, I've no idea who sings it but it disgraces the song.

All the songs on "Breakfast in America" are very fun to listen to and they are generally quite short, up beat and happy. But at the same time they have unmistakable progressive elements in them. For me, Supertramp wouldn't be the same with out the Saxes and clarinets, played by Mr. Helliwell , they just suite the music so perfectly. The chorus on the song "Breakfast in America" is a very good example of how much better the music is with them.

As the name suggests "Breakfast in America" is primarily an album about America, and it talks of how it looks perfect, but when one arrives, it's suddenly not all that amazing. I wonder if anyone will write an album called Breakfast in Australia, ah, I can imagine it now, it would be jammed full of stereotypes. The titles song of "Breakfast in America" has a strange ethnic Jewish feel which is mainly brought on by the clarinet (or saxophone, I can't tell.) This is my favourite song form "Breakfast" along with "Take the Long Way Home." Thankfully there is nothing bad to ruin the album and everything is done in a seemingly light-hearted fashion. Another song worth mentioning is "Child of Vision"; the closing section is very fun and proggy.

"Breakfast in America" is an album not to be missed, if you like your music (and/or your USA) then you will probably like "Breakfast in America". For me it is stands out against most other Supertramp stuff excluding 'Crime of the Century' which is even better than "Breakfast." This album is plainly a very enjoyable one, and thankfully there is nothing too dark about it. I highly recommend this album!

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Send comments to Australian (BETA) | Report this review (#87290) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As a teenager I was hooked on this album immediately after hearing the big hits: "The Logical Song", "Breakfast in America" and "Take the Long Way Home". These are truly excellent pop rock songs. After purchasing the album I was slightly dissapointed because the rest of the material sounded to me very syrup-flavoured and too much easy-listening. At times, the Hodgson vocals sounded like BEE GEES falsettos, which I hated at the time when I was looking for more avantgarde stuff in rock. However, "Child of Vision" is definitely a masterpiece of this album, with wonderful electric piano (their signature sound!) and assorted keyboards. It was also very popular in Yugoslavia because the instrumental part was used as a background for the famous TV quiz show "Kviskoteka". Looking back, this is a worthy album, definitely the peak of SUPERTRAMP's career. It is very commercial, with American style production, so on the prog side it cannot be highly recommended. But if you like immaculate vocal harmonies, plenty of keyboards and lush arrangements, then this is for you.

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Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Supertramp delivered three very good albums between 74 and 77. I don't remember from where I got this description but I believe it is very true : "Despite chart success the band never attained stardom; it was remarked at the height of their popularity that Supertramp was the best-selling group in the world whose members could walk down any street and not be recognized".

In the meantime punk/new wave on the one hand and disco/sould on the other had surged. So, how will they cope with this, musically ? Well, the trend is definitely towards a more commercial music (but who can blame them) ?

IMO anyway, Tramp has always wrote commercial numbers. So, it is not really an innovation.

"Gone Holywood" opens the album, and one has to wait for about three minutes to have the song really started. The second part is, indeed, a very good Tramp song : good sax, great keys and beautiful melody. "The Logical Song" is 100% pure traditional Supertramp classic : wonderful vocal harmonies, the keys ... so typical (so logical) ? The hit from this album and a very (logical) song.

"Goodbye Stranger" could have been on "Crime" : very good Davies'one : great melody (beautiful dual singing), good rythmic section. Another highlight. "Breakfast in America" follows the poppy orientation, but when it is pop songs of this caliber, let's go for pop ! I have absolutely no problem (I only wish more bands could delivered that high). Short but nice. "Oh Darling" is the weakest track so far. An other attempt on "Goodbye Stranger" but failed.

On the contrary, "Take the Long Way Home", from Hodgson (definitely the Tramp songwriter I like most) is another good poppy moment. Sax and piano in evidence like in most of their good songs (from both Davies and Hodgson). It keeps the level of the album to a very high one.

Unfortunately, the next numbers of this record will not be on par and are a bit of a desillusion for me. "Lord Is it Mine" is a mellow ballad, with a weak melody and too edulcorated. Maybe Roger was touched by the "Lord" when he writes : "When everything's dark and nothing seems right, There's nothing to win, and there's no need to fight". It is not a bad track, because the vocals are, as usual, very good but the general feeling rather melancholic (a bit too much). "Just Another Nervous Wreck" is a poopy tune with little feeling. It's th third weak track followed by the fourth one "Casual Conversations" : a jazzy ballad with almost no flavour (except the sax from Helliwell).

"Child Of Vision" is my preferred song of the album. It is a kaleidoscope of the band's production : wonderful intro, harmony at an all time-high, catchy riff. Tramp's trademark. So typical.

I have been trying for several minutes to remind from which song this one took the chorus from : the answer is "Schools'Out" (by Alice Cooper in 1972). Listen carefully around minute 2'22" and 3'15" : "Child of Vision, won't you listen? Find yourself a new ambition". It is really obvious. Anyway this wonderfully closes the album with a great instrumental part.

Three stars.

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Posted Thursday, February 08, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars There is so much that I don't like about this album, but I confess that there are still some good songs on it none the less.

"Gone Hollywood" really makes me cringe when I hear the background vocals that are so high, almost chipmunk like.The sax is great though. "The Logical Song" is about as commercial as you can get and I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me why I like this. More hit songs with "Goodbye Stranger" and "Breakfast In America" the latter is quite funny. "Oh Darling" features some good piano melodies.

"Take the Long Way Home" features some more amazing sax that lets you know right away that this is SUPERTRAMP. "Lord Is It Mine" is a ballad that has a full sound after 2 minutes. "Just Another Nervous Wreck" is more bombastic, with the drums taking a more prominant role. The last two songs really don't do anything for me.The latter sounds so eighties with the electronic sounding drums.

For me this record is very inconsistant, but was huge because of 4 big commercial hits. I would rate this behind the three previous studio albums. 3 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A guilty pleasure for me. Pass the bacon, please.

Breakfast is a great album with its pop sensibilities. It does suffer from radio overkill disease to be sure and I acknowledge that many of you feel this is too far from prog to matter. I don't believe these songs we've heard a million times require a track by track description, so I'll just say they have many positive attributes like great musicianship, quality songwriting, wonderful melodies, and focus. Compared to something like Tormato, I think it's safe to say that Supertramp were ahead of their competition in execution at this point in time. As I've said before, there is something to be said for tension in a band. I think the obvious tension between Davies and Hodgson pushed both of them to come up with some good stuff. I'd always heard that "Casual Conversations" and "Child of Vision" were direct lyrical messages between the two and if you read the lyrics it would seem to be true.

I like all of the songs although I do skip the title track and Logical Song just because I've heard them so many times. So 3 stars for this website, although if I were reviewing this album for a straight rock site I would go higher.

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Posted Saturday, July 14, 2007

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the many things I love about the privilege of being a prog reviewer on this website is that it has caused me to go back and re-evaluate albums that for one reason or another I chose to dismiss. A lot of it had to do with my being an effete musical snob in my younger days when any genre that I wasn't into at the time I deemed to be inferior. It took me a while but I finally grew out of that. In the case of this LP that unbecoming character flaw was a factor but, as I listen to it now with fresh ears, I think I chose to ignore it because I was jealous of the record's huge success and, on a subliminal level, the sharply pointed lyrics were striking pretty close to home. (To what I thought I wanted, that is). In 1979 I was a struggling musician from Texas working at a Platterpuss record store in Redondo Beach, CA to make ends meet while I fought the good fight to try and land a recording contract for my band. I think I secretly resented any group or artist who achieved their goals and this was the biggest thing going at the time so I wrote it off as commercial pandering and did my best to avoid really hearing its quality. Turns out I was only cutting off my nose to spite my face. This is a great piece of work, y'all.

"Breakfast in America" was their 4th album in succession with the same lineup so by then they had become a smooth machine in the studio, making records that were state-of-the-art sound-wise but their words showed the strain of being in the "biz" all too clearly, starting with the opener "Gone Hollywood." The satiric Bee Gees-like harmonies at the outset lampoons the hole that the music industry had dug for itself and then they quickly segue into a "floating" interlude where John Helliwell's tenor saxophone soars. The singer tells you that he's come to face the harsh reality that he was wrong about the myth of Los Angeles because there's "so many creeps in Hollywood." Do tell. The band makes a dynamic return with the playful falsetto harmonies before John takes over with his sax being processed through some kind of very cool effect during the fadeout.

It would feel like I was being patronizing to describe the exemplary nuances of the arrangements in the next three songs because they are so well known and so often played on the radio to this day. So I will restrain myself accordingly. "The Logical Song" starts with the signature Supertramp electric piano and sweeps you away instantly. The lyric epitomizes the predicament that a young person finds themselves in after finishing their schooling where the administrators would "like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, presentable, .a vegetable!" The confused singer just wants someone to tell him who he is. Helliwell once again throws in a searing sax performance. "Goodbye Stranger" is next and the hits just keep on a comin'. The tune seems to be about an unconscionable love 'em and leave 'em musician who breezily walks away from his one-night-stands with a carefree whistle on his lips. "You can laugh at my behavior/that'll never bother me/say the Devil is my savior/but I don't pay no heed." I've known many cads like that myself. The group delivers a steady buildup until Roger Hodgson's punctuating guitar lead relieves the tension. "Breakfast in America" follows and makes it a hat trick with its clever, imaginative use of polka instruments, culminating in a terrific clarinet solo. The song is about disillusionment with fame as he confesses "I'm playing my jokes upon you."

"Oh Darling" is an average track (especially when compared to the previous three) but the crystalline production makes it rise above mediocrity. The tune is about finding a potential love connection in a person but not having the time to cultivate the relationship. "I've been feeling left behind like a shadow in your light," he sings. The ending is very much in the style of Elton John. A wailing harmonica and a happy, bouncy beat belie the dark words of "Take the Long Way Home," yet another top ten single. There's hardly a man or woman alive that can't relate to "When we look through the years/and see what we could have been/oh, what might have been/if you'd had more time." No kidding. Hindsight is forever in 20/20 vision. The inventive lead break with the harmonica and clarinet together is a treat and the lush chorale of voices at the end is breathtaking.

Rick Davies' acoustic piano work is beautiful in the somber "Lord, Is It Mine," a highly personal hymn of bewilderment as he desperately seeks a "silent place I can call my own." John's pure soprano sax ride is exactly what's called for and the song steadily builds to an emotional peak. The steep price of being famous and desired is examined in "Just Another Nervous Wreck" where we are told that he has "lost the craving for success" and now has to deal with the unpleasant side effects. The tune comes across a little too bitter and is the weakest cut on the record.

A needed change of pace arrives in the form of the melancholy lounge atmosphere of "Casual Conversation," a simple ditty about resigning oneself to an inevitable breakup. "It doesn't matter what I say, you never listen anyway," he laments. Helliwell's sobering sax lead is perfect. The kicker comes when the singer admits it's finally over and that he really believes he's glad. "Child of Vision" is the finale and it starts with a frantic, hyper electric piano and features a huge, full chorus. They sum up the whole theme of the album here with a blatant statement of "How can you live in this way?" I feel that they missed a fine opportunity to spotlight the numerous and versatile lead instruments of the band at the end, though. The piano solo goes nowhere for about three minutes and when they finally bring in John's sax the tune is already starting to fade out. Can't have everything, I reckon.

This album was a mega hit that put Supertramp at the #1 position for weeks and it was a welcome relief from the incessant stream of mind-numbing disco that had saturated the airwaves for years. It was the right sound at exactly the right time and people just couldn't get enough of it as it sold over four million units in the US alone. While I'm still partial to their incredible "Crime of the Century," I've gained a lot of overdue respect for this admirable recording and will no longer hold the group's amazing success with it against them. It's the least I can do. 4.4 stars.

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Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007

Review by Raff
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Supertramp's massively successful "Breakfast in America" might be regarded by some as little more than a good pop-rock album with some prog elements thrown in for good measure. To these ears, though , it is nothing less than the blueprint for that odd, controversial phenomenon known as 'progressive pop', which some see as a contradiction in terms. While this is not the place to go into a debate on whether it is possible for pop and prog to mix, if such a pairing is really possible, then Supertramp, over the course of their long career, have presented us with many remarkable examples.

Breakfast... kicks off with a bang. The barnstorming "Gone Hollywood" boasts killer vocal harmonies, dramatic piano work and a poignant middle section, in which the narrator complains that ain't nothing new/in my life today - definitely a track to be included in a list of the best album openers ever, and one of the most progressive offerings by the band. The interplay between Rick Davies' and Roger Hodgson's vocals is as effective as ever, especially in the song's context of light and shade (or rather, hope and disappointment).

The trio of songs that follow, while not scoring very highly on a progressiveness scale, are undisputed masterpieces of sophisticated, well-crafted pop-rock. "The Logical Song", the band's best-known, most successful composition by far, has thought-provoking lyrics that provide a sting in the tail of the song's infectious, apparently innocuous melody, and an excellent sax solo at the end. "Goodbye Stranger" sees Davies's gruff, expressive voice and brilliant piano lines take centre stage in a skewed, bittersweet romantic song about a player who is nevertheless very honest about his intentions. Then comes the title-track, another slice of intelligent, tasteful catchiness with an endearingly na´ve air about it.

The wistful sound of the harmonica introduces another of the album's highlights, the deceptively jaunty "Take the Long Way Home", another song about disappointed hopes disguised as a pleasant pop offering. While the prayer-like "Lord Is It Mine", showcasing Hodgson's voice at its most poignant, acts like a pause of reflection, "Oh Darling", "Just Another Nervous Wreck" and "Casual Conversations" can be indicted of being somewhat nondescript, and slightly on the boring side. However, album closer "Child of Vision" can be numbered amongst Supertramp's strongest compositions, reminiscent of the immortal "Crime of the Century", though possessed of its own individuality. With a big, dramatic chorus, driving piano, and lyrics that starkly criticise the modern way of life, it is definitely more ambitious than most of the other compositions.

"Breakfast in America" seems to be one of those albums that polarises opinion. Some love it to death, others hate it with equal passion for being too commercial and radio-friendly. Personally, though I find it inferior to the band's masterpiece, "Crime of the Century", I have always had a weakness for this record and its enlightened approach to quality pop music. Highly recommended to all open-minded prog fans, especially when in need of the occasional respite from the likes of Magma or The Mars Volta.

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Posted Saturday, February 02, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Gone successful

Supertramp where already a big name when Breakfast In America came out, but this is the album that would launch them over the top. Granted, afterwards the band would never be the same, and after a enormous flop (the appropriately titled ...Famous Last Words) the band would explore more experimental roads with tremendously mixed results. But let's stick to this album. In terms of music this one has often been pointed out an ridiculed for its many hit tracks and often called not as progressive as its brethren such as Crime Of The Century or Even In The Quietest Moments.... Poppy? At points, yes, but these are fantastically written and arranged pop songs the caliber of which would rarely see the light of day again from any band.

So lets drive right in, shall we?

Opening quietly until the musical burst is Gone Hollywood. Not the biggest standout on the album, this song still sets the tone for the rest of the tracks. Hodgeson and Davies split vocals and the song manages to find time to change speed within its short structure. But it's not until the next track that we get to the hits. First up, The Logical Song which finds the band being very much cynical and logical about the workings of the world. Floating synths and bass make this one more than just a pop song. Following is the ear splintering vocal parts from (surprisingly) Davies on Goodbye Stranger. This is a good thing, of course, and the song actually sees the 'Tramp taking a heavier approach with (*gasp!*) a guitar leading the fray along with the piano.

A couple of shorter songs come along, these ones perhaps the most threatening to the average prog listener. Breakfast In America and Oh Darling are a couple catchy, radio friendly songs that help the album move along without hampering it by becoming increasingly poppy (though some may argue that point).

Then we see the darker side of the 'Tramp once more. The deceivingly light toned Take The Long Way Home hides some very troubled lyrics that make this song a very nice treat. Opened by an excellent sax part and carried by the piano once more this is a huge standout on the album, and indeed, the band's career. Then the speed gets brought down once more for the slow, emotional delivery of Lord Is It Mine, which gets better as it picks up, but remains likely the least necessary song on the album.

However, coming into the end we get a couple of the 'Tramp's best songs.

Just Another Nervous Wreck opens with some nice piano until Davies voice carries it into the heavier parts of the song. Excellent melodies, lyrics and vocals make this a standout on the album above any of the album's hit singles. Another short and bouncy track fades in and out as though nothing happened and then we get to the final track on the album. Child Of Vision is the track that finds Supertramp still taking a more progressive road with it's keys and dual vocal attack. This is likely the second best track on the album (falling right behind Nervous Wreck), but the song that will hold the attention of the average progger the best.

Not Tramp's most progressive album, although its deceptive simplicity still hides a very progressive side. The last good Tramp album for a couple of years, this one is definitely an excellent addition to the prog libraries of the world. Not a masterpiece, but certainly excellent, 4 stars. Highly recommended to Tramp fans and everyone else.

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Posted Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars SUPERTRAMP are classified as 'Crossover Prog.' This album is the reason why.

The band always had an eye for the charts, having already been taken there with 'Dreamer' and 'Give A Little Bit'. They also had an eye for art-rock, where their ear for a melody was married with excellent arrangements to produce some excellent prog-related material. On this album we are presented, finally, with the perfect marriage: gloriously vibrant pop songs with thoughtful lyrics and stunning arrangements. Here, for a brief moment, SUPERTRAMP became the memories of a generation.

Ignore the irrelevant opening track: the album is a full frontal assault of the most clever pop the late 70s had to offer. Yes, I know you've heard it all far too many times, but that's because you listened to the radio. I never did. These songs are still fresh to me. 'The Logical Song' is a marvel, a slice of genius - that opening, with the wurlitzer and the slippery bass heralding some of the cleverest lyrics in pop history, is magic. The song even manages to let go during the instrumental breaks, with Helliwell's sax a little rougher than usual, a little more unsettling, and the wurlitzer driving the song to a satisfying conclusion. 'Goodbye Stranger' is a reasonable DAVIES ballad which achieved unaccountable success given its relative thinness. And then there's the famous title track, known for its memorable lyric and bold piano. I bet you're sick of it. I like its joviality and cheekiness, but would be the first to admit it's not a heavyweight. Still, it's less than three minutes.

'Take the Long Way Home' is, for me, the quintessential SUPERTRAMP song, and easily the most memorable thing HODGSON wrote for the TRAMP. It has a superb dynamic, and what an intro! It generates a genuinely spine-tingling atmosphere, the synth, the sudden deep piano note and the yearning of the harmonica. The lyric leans on close-knit rhymes again, reminding us of 'The Logical Song', but eclipsing that track with ease. Here the band achieve for a blissful moment the perfect balance between melody and structure prog and pop, exemplified by the majestic outro beginning at 3.46. Sorry, I can't fault this.

'Lord Is It Mine' is a splendidly evocative ballad, sung with real emotion, appearing in just the right place on the album. 'Just Another Nervous Wreck' is a strong pop song but is barely noticed here, such is the strength of the album. Ignore 'Casual Conversations.' The finale, 'Child of Vision' was placed there as a sop to the hardy prog fans still sticking with SUPERTRAMP, but nonetheless it's a worthy track, an extended rock track rather than a true prog epic, but thoroughly convincing for all that. I'm particularly taken with the bass work on this track, and enjoy the extended instrumental finish, one out of the ELTON JOHN school of piano-rock.

You need to own two SUPERTRAMP albums. Together 'Crime of the Century' and 'Breakfast In America' encompass everything good about this band. Never a band to reach true prog greatness, they nevertheless inspired other prog bands to reach for the charts. I'm betting that more than a few of you think this was a Bad Thing.

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Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Wow! I Love this album! Ok, there is very little real prog music here (only the long Child Of Vision could be labeled as that), but this a superb work anyway. Of course they would never make another Crime Of The Century. And from the prog-pop of Crime... they went for the pop rock with some prog influences. This transition was done with some ups (Even At The Quietest Moments) and downs (Crisis? What Crisis?). But now they had reached the big time. Breakfast In America may be their album where they took a definitly turn to pop, but it was sophisticated, well crafted pop. And, in that field , they were highly successful. So, if you don┤t like the mix of pop with prog, forget this CD and look elsewhere.

The main reason this album is so satisfying is that one of the good, inspired songwriting. Those guys did know how to pen some fine and catchy tunes while retaining insightful, intelligent lyrics that were still accessible, something that the even the casual listener could relate to. And everything was packed by some outstading perfomances both in terms of the playing and arragements. The right production also helped a lot, since the band was now a tight, very well oiled music machine, after years on the road and an studios with the same line up. Their unique sound and deliverance of the words in the songs (they were serious, but also witty and humorous about those subjects, a rare case of good balance) did place them at the heart of many. Like them or hate them, you have to respect Supertramp for their talent.

For all those reasons, this is a pop/prog record that stood the test of time quite well. With no fillers and a very good tracklist, this is one of the best late 70┤s CDs in my collection (and those times were not exactly the best in the music scene of the last decades, you know...). Although it had some overplayed hits (The Logical Song, the title track) this is an album to hear as a whole. Besides, Take The Long Way Home and Child Of vision are among of their greatest songs ever. Four stars.

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Posted Thursday, October 02, 2008

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
2 stars SUPERTRAMP were made for the charts, the 70s analog to the ARCHIES or the CUFF LINKS, more sophisticated manifold of course, but essentially a studio band assembled to appeal to the broadest range of music fans through an almost utter domination by piano and its ilk, a faux-jazz brass character, pre-pubescent rhyming lyrics and meters with the type of melodies that you wish you'd forget but can't, and ostensibly earnest upper octave vocals. All things considered, it's rather surprising that they didn't receive their due windfall until "Breakfast in America", but this album does represent the most rarefied implementation of their commercial vision.

None of the above characteristics are sufficient for conviction, and in fact there are several excellent tracks only diminished by overexposure - the title cut and "Take the Long Way Home", while "The Logical Song" goes from brilliant to trite after about 2 airings, never to return, and "Goodbye Stranger" starts with promise before settling for the band's trademark childish vocals and stunted tune that even the best arrangements cannot rescue, and in any case no such compensation is to be found. The remaining tracks got virtually no airplay and yet still sound stale and so much a product of their time. Concomitantly, CHRIS DE BERG was developing a more engaging and lyrically rich mixture along similar lines, with reasonable recognition although nothing of the sort enjoyed by Supertramp.

The closing cut is certainly the most progressive if only by taking track length into account., but it's really little more than an extended version of "Lady" dating back to "Crisis...". Some good piano as it rolls along but nothing exceptional especially for the time.

Neither patently progressive a la "The Wall", unabashedly and convincingly poppy like "Spirits Having Flown" (although the vocal stylings are oddly allied), nor risk taking rock in the manner of "Tusk", SUPERTRAMP's best selling meal was a nadir of sorts for the 70s, and, in spite of its ubiquitousness, seems to have influenced virtually nobody.

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Posted Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars The '70s went by really fast for Supertramp and the band's sound had began to fade in popularity towards the shift of the decade. This is why Breakfast In America came as a complete surprise to both the critics and the mainstream audience becoming an international hit and proving that great (Art Rock) music could survive even in the prog-forsaken punk era.

The closest comparison that I can think of whenever listening to Breakfast In America would be that of Black Sabbath's Paranoid. Both albums are generally considered to be the hit-records for the bands with many of the heavy hitters occupying side one of the respective record, leaving side two exposed and suggestive of a turbulence within the collectives. In Supertramp's case we basically get a side filled with hits like The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger and Breakfast In America that don't really need any introduction since they became the backbone of the band's career for years to come. Side two starts with the memorable Take The Long Way Home but that's where it all comes to a screeching halt and the limitations of Rick Davies/Roger Hodgson songwriting start to show.

It also becomes clear, though in the lyrical context, that the songwriters were already on the verge of a breakup and we can only imagine how it would have gone down if Breakfast In America hadn't been the massive hit which it ultimately was. Eventually one of the fellow collaborators had to leave and Roger Hodgson took that step after the release of the much delayed 1982 Breakfast In America-followup album Famous Last Words.

Even though this is a very disjointed release I can't really argue against the excellent quality of the music featured here. Breakfast In America might not come close to the level of Crime Of The Century nor Even In The Quietest Moments... but it's still an essential piece of Supertramp's history making it an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Gone Hollywood (5:19) The Logical Song (4:07) Goodbye Stranger (5:48) Breakfast In America (2:38)

**** star songs: Oh Darling (4:02) Take The Long Way Home (5:08) Lord Is It Mine (4:08)

*** star songs: Just Another Nervous Wreck (4:23) Casual Conversations (2:57) Child Of Vision (7:28)

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Posted Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars The most well known album from Supertramp. The singles from this have been played to death on radio. "The Logical Song", "Take The Long Way Home" and the title track are all great songs, but I've heard them so many times I could play them in my head. The most interesting song to get played on radio is "Goodbye Stranger". The whole album features some great Wurlitzer electric piano, but it doesn't sound better than on this song. I like the fingersnaps and phased guitar in the middle. Good jam at the end.

This is the most radio-friendly album Supertramp made yet. Most of the songs seem made for radio. I have to give them credit, though. This doesn't sound anything like New Wave or disco. It must have been rare for a group with saxes to have huge hits in 1979/1980. Actually, most of the singles here are more adventurous than most singles of the time. "Oh Darling" is a good song that wasn't a single. Because it never got played to death, it still holds up well. "Just Another Nervous Wreck" is one of the best songs. Great chorus. Tempo increases at the end with some good organ.

"Child Of Vision" is the longest and proggiest song. The only song where the synths stand out. It has a great beginning with Wurlitzer and string-synths, then drums. It starts to get weaker once the chorus starts. The 'jam' for the last half of the song goes on for too long. It ruins the whole song. One of the better albums of 1979(prog or not). A prog fan would be better off starting with Crime Of The Century or Even In The Quietest Moments. The first album from 1970 is good too, but not for beginners. The prog moments are few but still a good album. 3 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars This is a superbly produced album. I'm sorry, but that's the best thing I can say about it.

Sure, there are some nice pop songs on the album, but really nothing that reaches the heights of "Crime Of The Century", or even "Even In The Quietest Moments". I'm sure it was the simplification of the songs that helped make this album such a commercial success.

To me, it's Roger Hodgson songs that make the album listenable. On his tracks, where it seems that all of the hits came from, Hodgson at least makes an attempt to spice up the arrangements (just a bit), with woodwinds and keyboard play. Rick Davies' songs tend to me more low key ballads. This stylistic split might be an indication of the rift that split Hodgson & Davies after the tour for this album.

It's a listenable album, but no way is it Supertramp's best.

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Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When one thinks of mega selling (or, in the words of some, "sell-out") pop/prog monsters, most turn to Genesis in the 1980's or Yes with 90125. Well, forget it. As well as they sold, I would imagine there is barely a household on earth with a member of the family over 40 who did not, at one time, own a copy of this album. BIG goes nowhere near describing just how colossal this work was.

Of course, the million dollar question is; is it as good as its sales record suggests? Is it, for prog fans, rather better than one remembers when spitting out that dirty word, commercial? To this reviewer, the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. I love this band, and I think they thoroughly deserved their success.

In terms of album track layout, it follows a familiar pattern, this being separate Hodgson & Davies compositions bound together in a common identity of Supertramp. It's just that they got better at flogging and producing the stuff.

The highlight for me will always remain one of my favourite all time songs of any genre or generation - Logical Song. This is easily Roger Hodgson's finest moment, apparently written when he was still a teenager. In 1979, it struck a chord with me as a 15 year old immediately. It still does. A song full of angst, regret, and passion, detailing the confusion that any decent, right thinking person must have when he views the inequalities, inequities, and sheer injustice of the world run by elected and unelected dictatorships. It also has that unique trick of turning a very serious lyrical piece of work into an instantly accessible musical piece, catchy, well performed, and, overall, a sheer delight to listen to. A song I want played at my funeral.

The one track that, to these ears, takes one star from the masterpiece status is the title track itself, which, to me, takes the concept of whimsical to absurd heights. For sure, it was a monster smash hit, and is still played on radio's the world over to this day, but I remain of the opinion that this is Hodgson's worst ever composition. Grating, annoying, and instantly throwaway. Always, without fail, skipped on my MP3 player when it comes on.

Compare that to another single from the album, Goodbye Stranger. Commercially, it bombed in comparison, but I don't think that Davies ever sounded better, or, indeed, wrote better in terms of commercial blues based rock. This is one of the finest singles ever released, and Davies managed his usual trick of throwing himself in emotionally to compensate fully for the obvious comparisons with Hodgson's better singing voice.

Of this, Lord Is It Mine is perhaps his finest example. This is an exceptional piece of music, and, alongside Logical Song, is amongst the very best in fusion of pop and progressive rock music. Sung with absolute sincerity, theatrical, dripping with emotion, and extremely well performed by a band right at the top of their game, it is a pure joy.

Take The Long Way Home, though, comes pretty close. Another theatrical piece, telling a sad story, it fuses symphonic prog with pop sensibilities perfectly.

The longest track is the closer, Child Of Vision, and the closest to "pure" progressive rock the album came to. It is a natural successor to Fool's Overture from its predecessor, having the same symphonic burn, albeit far catchier.

In comparison to all of this, the other Davies ballads, Oh Darling, Just Another Nervous Wreck, and Casual Conversations sound almost throwaway. They're not that. They are, in fact, very good ballads, but he was, and is, capable of better, and they are bit of a letdown when compared to all else on this album, and also his work on previous albums.

So, the Davies song Goodbye Stranger aside, this is most definitely Hodgson's album, easily his most successful and finest recording ever. This is an excellent album, another in a long line which puts paid to the fiction that commercial is bad. It isn't.

Four stars. An excellent album which you really should own. Go on. We all deserve a guilty pleasure every now and again, don't we?

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Posted Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review by baz91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If you need one pop album in your collection, this is for you!

At this point in history, and certainly after the release of this album, Supertramp became superstars. Unsurprisingly, with this stardom led the group to write less progressive material, and more catchy pop tunes. Fortunately though, this album shows Supertramp adhering to their generally successful formula of sophisticated pop which provokes the listener to think about the music.

Indeed, this album is full of commercial tunes. An astonishing four out of ten songs on this album were released as singles and each one became a hit in it's own right. These songs include the catchy The Logical Song, the feelgood Goodbye Stranger, the brief yet memorable Breakfast In America, and the all-round lovely Take The Long Way Home. This album is like a greatest hits compilation by itself!

Most people say that the 7Ż minute closing track Child Of Vision is the most progressive song on the album, but I must dispute this! Despite it's length, Child Of Vision plays out like a regular AOR track, but with an extended instrumental intro and outro - the outro lasting 4 minutes, over half the song! Unfortunately, the outro is nothing spectacular, and is simply a jam on the same repeating chords.

Indeed, the title of most progressive track must be awarded to the albums opener Gone Hollywood. This is due to the excellent middle section, which begins with a sensational saxophone solo, and slowly builds up to a powerful anthemic section which rocks this reviewer to the core. This is a highly emotional song that is actually too good to be used at the start of the record, because it motivates this reviewer to turn off after the first track. Killer stuff!

In summary this is an album aimed entirely at the public, and at no niche genre. The first side of the album contains the lighter material, and Gone Hollywood, whilst Side 2 has more melodramatic songs. Whilst not being their best album, 'Breakfast in America' is essential to anybody who wants to understand and get into Supertramp. If that's not enough, it's got a bloody good cover too!

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Send comments to baz91 (BETA) | Report this review (#540248) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 02, 2011

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars In fact this review could be a sort of copy of my Crime of the Century review where I tried to point out the progressiveness of the songs on the album. It seems only fair to me to do the same thing with this also high valued album by the band (which I consider - I have to say it again - no more than prog related. Here we go.

1. Gone Hollywood. One of the better songs on the album (piano, sax !) but more pop than prog, so 2,75*

2. Logical Song. This one has been played to death on Dutch radio through the years and this hasn't really contributed to the popularity. One of those that start to bore with to much playing time. Besides that a downright pop hit. 1,5*

3. Goodbye Stranger. On itself nothing special and another pop hit but somehow this one actually does appeal to me. Especially the last 70 seconds are haunting and huge in quality. Unfortunately often skipped on Dutch radio. Obviously they don't appreciate proggy moments. 3,25 *

4. Breakfast in America. One of the worst and most annoying songs they ever produced. Besides that 100% pop and 0% prog. So only 1*

5. Oh Darling is much better but still just pop. I will give 2,25*

6. Take the long way home. Another big hit in their discography and actually a pretty good song according to my taste. But also this one at least 70% pop. 2,75*

7. Lord it's mine is a very nice ballad but again poppy and therefore just 2*

8. Just another nervous wreck is also one of the better compositions on this release but also this one doesn't quite live up to required prog standard. 2,5*

9. Casual Conversations is one of the few sung by Rick Davies and I like his voice a lot better than Hodgson's. A nice ballad but only 20% (or something) proggy. 2,5*

10. Child of Vision is one of the more proggy tracks on the album, if not the most. At least this one warrants the bands presence on PA a little bit. Because of this 3*.

I have to admit the album turned out a bit better than I had in mind. I'm somewhat ambivalent about Supertramp. I don't really hate them but don't love them either. I feel they are in the wrong subgenre on here. It should be prog related instead of crossover. Anyway, it's one of the reasons I can't give their albums high ratings. On a pop site or general music site also this one could score 3 or 3,5 stars for my taste. But here on PA again I (and Supertramp) will have to settle for just two.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#561216) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars With Davies and Hodgson finding it increasingly difficult to work together, Supertramp continued their shuffle towards the mainstream with this finely crafted art-pop album. This wasn't a creative compromise on the scale of, say, Genesis' We Can't Dance or Yes' Big Generator - unlike other prog bands, Supertramp only became good once they dropped their aspirations to complexity and started crafting lovingly polished art rock hits from Crime of the Century onwards. However, the material here shows a marked step down from that classic, or even from the moving Even In the Quietest Moments.

The Logical Song is decent enough, though overplayed, Breakfast In America was another pop hit but has little to recommend it, and on the whole the album presents a stripped down and simplified version of the band's Wurlitzer-heavy sound which flags badly in the second part. Slick and polished, but scratch the surface and it turns out there's nothing underneath.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#561447) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After five albums of steady progress Supertramp finally hit paydirt with this huge-selling 1979 effort, an album that would come to define both the group and their quirky, pop-prog sound. Formed in the early-seventies by the duo of Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies, Supertramp started out as a fully-fledged five-man progressive- rock group with arty ambitions, a slight pop edge and a very generous Dutch millionaire supporting them through their formative years. A first, self-titled album appeared in 1973 to little fanfare, with Hodgson and Davies subsequently sacking the other three members and replacing them with bassist Dougie Thomson, woodwind-specialist John Helliwell and American drummer Bob Siebenberg(here credited as Bob C. Benberg). This line-up would ultimately become known as the 'classic' Supertramp line-up, producing the group's highly- acclaimed third release 'Crime Of The Century', the album that put the five-piece firmly on the major international map. Two more efforts followed in the form of 'Crisis? What Crisis?' and the superior 'Even In The Quietest Moments' before a move to California culminated in their big break. And what a break it was. Featuring a delicate, rather quirky and very catchy art-pop sound, super-slick production values and dominated throughout by the gleaming tones of the Wurlitzer piano, 'Breakfast In America' was an immediate hit, both with fans and critics alike. Every major rock group has one - a masterpiece that is - and for Supertramp this was it. By now, of course, the group's overall sound was far removed from their progressive past, though fragments remained, especially in the swirling, up-tempo odyssey 'Goodbye Stranger' and the final, lengthy cut 'Child Of Vision'. Elsewhere, sparkling pop nous decorates the seminal pop catch of the brief-but-brilliant title-track, whilst CSN-style vocals adorn the acerbic fan favourite 'The Logical Song'. Yes, it may lean very favourably towards a more simplistic, mainstream-baiting sound, yet the combination of crystal-clear pop-rock melodies and witty lyrical observations make 'Breakfast In America' a truly unique spin of the 1970's rock theme. A key album for both group and year, this is an album that oozes class and never grows tiresome. And as career peaks go, this is a mightily impressive one. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#877320) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 17, 2012

Latest members reviews

3 stars This album contains some famous songs such as the title track and "The Logical Song". I consider it a pop, catchy yet intelligent album of crossover prog. I can't help but smile when i hear "Take The Long Way Home". But I suppose this attraction that pop music has is what puts this album in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#966612) | Posted by marcobrusa | Wednesday, May 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 With Breakfast In America Supertramp reached the much desired commercial success that so many bands want. Although Crime of the Century has been his creative peak and definitely their best album (one of the best of all time, in my opinion) Breakfast In America is the album for which th ... (read more)

Report this review (#624652) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, February 01, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are albums on which everything is coming together, the prime of songwriting, the prime of arranging, the prime of performing, the essence of what an artist or a band is about all emerging into one. "Breakfast in America" is such an album for Supertramp. Being completely a world of their own, ... (read more)

Report this review (#610382) | Posted by rupert | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The most successful Supertramp album; although it was not their best rated here in progarchieves. And this sentence summarizes everything, doesn┤t it ? Here in Breakfast in America, the poppy approaching that weakened Even in the Quietest Moments got even more importance. They were well su ... (read more)

Report this review (#364319) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In my review of Crime of the Century, I mentioned that Supertramp were responsible for at least two wonderful songs. One was Dreamer on the Century album, the other, The Logical Song, is here in all its glory. For me, this is one of the great songs of the rock/pop era. Soaring, daring, vocals ride ... (read more)

Report this review (#362241) | Posted by JeanFrame | Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The problem with this album isn't the pop direction that's apparent on it. Supertramp have always been a pop-infused band (at least classic Supertramp has - I'm unfamiliar with the real early, real obscure stuff). The problem is that not all the songs are good. But the strong songs on here are am ... (read more)

Report this review (#326577) | Posted by KyleSchmidlin | Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The most succesfull Supertramp album, shows them mainly as a pop band. High quality pop of course, but sincerely I can't find many progressive rock elements. Hodgson started to take since this album the pop road, continuing in the vein of songs like Give a little bit. The Logical song, Take th ... (read more)

Report this review (#299172) | Posted by genbanks | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is a strong prog-pop-rock album that's very "radio friendly" yet manages to be rewarding enough to the more demanding listener as I'm sure most of you who are reading this review. All of the tracks in here are very "poppy" and actually quite similar to each other (which in my opinio ... (read more)

Report this review (#287646) | Posted by AcostaFulano | Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ok, there's not much to say about this album. Except that it's a flawless masterpiece. With a shaky start with Crime Of The Century, Breakfast In America was a move foward into their contemporary prog aspects. With hit singles, classic Sumpertramp numbers, and their most sophisticated materia ... (read more)

Report this review (#286996) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Friday, June 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I will just say one comment taken from our great fable writer Aesopos: things a fox cannot reach(meaning the grapes hanging from above) the fox says that the grapes are not grapes but coat hangers...if you know what I mean... Breakfast In America apart from being virtually one of the best albums ... (read more)

Report this review (#222229) | Posted by Silent Knight | Monday, June 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Breakfast in America is the last of the four big albums from Supertramp. It's also the most commercially successful, with quite a few hits. Sometimes popularity and or commercial success weighs down an album, especially to us prog fans, but that isn't at all the case here. This album is a great ... (read more)

Report this review (#187301) | Posted by Kix | Wednesday, October 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is magnificent, but no because of those famous pop-prog-sound tracks that we all know. It is magnificent just for the last track Child of Vision which develops and atmosphere of textures. The bass seems to be endless in the no-singing part of the song, And the synthesizer blends perfe ... (read more)

Report this review (#168942) | Posted by jesus | Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Supertramp has the special ability to make music that is the perfect balance between prog and pop. They are loved by both prog fans and mainstream listeners. Almost all the songs here are enjoyable to me. They all have that Supertramp sound especially because of the Wurlitzer piano. My favor ... (read more)

Report this review (#140383) | Posted by White Shadow | Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hi again everyone! It's been a long time since I wrote a review, but I plan on changing that. This time I'll be reviewing ''Breakfast In America'' by Supertramp. I'm currently home from school with a high fever, and I decided to pop this in just to listen. It struck me how great this album is. Ho ... (read more)

Report this review (#114244) | Posted by Axel Dyberg | Monday, March 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Though consider it prog to the far less extent than its predecessor or COTC, this album has nevertheless its moments, specially in very balanced music material, where light melodies prevail garnished with blazing arrangements. Among all the tracks two are my favourites, 'Child Of A Vision' an ... (read more)

Report this review (#106652) | Posted by bsurmano | Monday, January 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The logical song sums up Supertramp very well. In so much as it is a half decent number played brilliantly, but it is rather commercial and Middle of the road. "Child Of Vision" is also typical of Supertramp the lyrics are clever but the delivery is truly lacking. Considering the musical skill ... (read more)

Report this review (#99887) | Posted by burgersoft777 | Wednesday, November 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Perfect Album So perfect that the band was never to match its greatness again. They dont make albums like these any more; there aint any fillers here. People can pan it for being too "commercial" or not enough "progressive rock", but how can you not like tunes that stick in your mind, long ... (read more)

Report this review (#66594) | Posted by chas2u | Tuesday, January 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don`t think it could be possible not to like this album. OK, I am a super supertramp-fan, but it`s an incredibly good album! Gone hollywood: I always jump over to track 2 when I turn on BIA, but gone hollywood is incredibly good, especially the mix of prog rock and rap in the middle! Logi ... (read more)

Report this review (#58006) | Posted by | Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a FANTASTIC (!!) album, no qualms about giving this 5 stars. The best thing they ever did, although there were some great songs on their previous 3 albums. This is very, very commercial, but the excellence of their musicianship makes that forgivable. Their is some terrific woodwind playin ... (read more)

Report this review (#53768) | Posted by | Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Bought this album back in 1979 on vinyl and finely I got it on cd now for just ? 9,95. Although this is more pop then progressive with songs as "The logical song and Breakfast in Ameca" I do like every bit of this album. The way of the vocals for instance, the high voice of Roger Hodgson and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#6795) | Posted by J@pie Mol | Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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