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Chicago - Chicago VI CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.61 | 89 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars What had been a hunch on the fifth album became the catastrophic truth in their sixth one. While this album returns to more-evened songwriting equilibrium, keyboardist Lamm still grabs half the songs to him, leaving the rest of the other usual writers. An interesting dollar- bill-like artwork, but that's about all the proghead will find, except for some two longer tracks. Some 10 songs, just like in the previous album, but this time, the longest is under the 5-mins mark. Generally not a good sign, this is no exception to the rule. But please read on.

You just know something's wrong, just by reading the opening track's title, Critic's Choice (even if there is no doubt there is a negative tinge to it), but lyrics aside, the AOR tooting its head to the fore is now out in the open, and we get some very insipid songs from a formerly great band. And it is not the following track Just You And Me that will erase that nauseous feel, either. Don't get me wrong, the things we love in Chicago are still there, but in much smaller quantity and usually drowned in a AOR soup that discourages an attentive listen. Darlin' Dear is slightly better, due to Kath's slide guitar and good horn replies. The Kath-penned Jenny is a very weak track, which coupled with Alma Mater on V, makes him a spent force in the writing dept. the first side opens on a rare good track: What's This World Coming To, a funky brassy tune that the better Kool, Earth or War wouldn't disown. Definitely the album-saver, this track is the only one here that would find space on their first three albums.

The flipside doesn't fare much better, with a slow Steely Dan-esque Something In This City or the following Hollywood (just the track title tells you how bad these tracks are) and the disastrous In Terms Of Two or the closing Feelin' Stronger, both penned by Cetera, the latter showing his rapid climb to control, leading to the disastrous if You Leave Me Now, in a few whiles. Only Rediscovery is above the (album-poor) average track, and had this closer found space on the previous album (V), it would've pushed it from good to very good.

As I was saying at the end of the top paragraph, this album is made of short songs and this was not auguring well, and after listening, it comes as no surprise that the two longer tracks (close to 5 mins) are from far the best of this otherwise atrocious album. Best avoided.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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