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Chicago - Chicago [Aka: Chicago  II] CD (album) cover

CHICAGO [AKA: CHICAGO II]

Chicago

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.14 | 192 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Hard to believe that this band's first three recordings were all double albums.Talk about ambitious.Their debut was almost flawless as far as i'm concerned, very adventerous, fresh and raw. This their second recording is much tamer, polished and adult contemporary sounding. Ok that last comment is maybe a stretch but it just sounds too vanilla to me, especially the first five tracks. My favourite CHICAGO song is on here though, "25 Or 6 To Four" a great tune about being on acid.

"Movin' In" opens with horns blasting before it settles with vocals. I hate those backing vocals and really I don't like this track at all. Not a good start. "The Road" does little to impress either. Horns and drums standout before the vocals come in. When they arrive i'm saying yikes inside. "Poem For The People" opens with piano then horns followed by drums. Vocals after a minute. The tempo changes throughout. Some tasteful guitar too. Not a fan. "In The Country" is a little better. Some prominant bass and I like the guitar after 3 minutes. Some passion here at least. "Wake Up Sunshine" is fairly wimpy in just about every way. Not a fan. The next seven songs are part of the "Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon" suite. We finally get a great song in "Make Me Smile", a well known song from the band. Incredible tune.The lyrics, vocals and intensity are fantastic ! Also part of this suite is another hit called "Colour My World". A ballad with flute. I'm surprised they spelled "colour" the Canadian way (haha). "To Be Free" features some good drumwork early. Kind of a bouncy tune with horns. I like it. "Now More Than Ever" ends the suite with a reprise of "Make Me Smile". "Fancy Colours" opens with what sounds like wind chimes. Vocals before a minute with horns. Flute later.

"25 Or 6 To Four" is a song I heard one of the band members talk about on our Toronto classic rock station Q107 years ago. He relates this story when they were all on acid when this guy comes in the room and asks what time it was. One of them say "25 or 6 to four" and they all just started killing themselves laughing. Been there many times in my youth. It doesn't take much sometimes to trigger uncontrollable laughter over and over again. Besides this interview the lyrics are pretty clear about this "trip" they were on. What a song though ! Very powerful with great vocals. A great rock tune. Love the guitar 2 minutes in. The next three tracks are orchestral in nature. "Memories Of Love" is mellow with vocals, not a fan. The next suite is "It Better End Soon" which includes the last five tracks. The "1st Movement" is much better than the last tune. It reminds me of the first album. It has some balls. The "2nd Movement" is excellent as well. I like the flute early and drumming late. The "3rd Movement" puts the focus on the vocals but it does get pretty intense. Good tune. More great music on the "4th Movement" before it ends not so well with "Where Do We Go from Here".

Like most double albums this is a mixed bag. No way could I give this 4 stars. If someone askes if i'm a CHICAGO fan I say "No, i'm a CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY fan.

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |

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