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Supertramp - Famous Last Words CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.20 | 345 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars It's strange, you know. You create one of the monster album hits of the rock era, spawning a bundle of hit singles, in Breakfast In America, and, yet, your follow-up, in relative terms, is a bit of a flop. Famous Last Words didn't bomb, but it certainly did not get anywhere near the heights of its famous predecessor, something I find strange really, because most large acts tend to shift shed loads of albums, if nothing else, on the back of reputation and loyalty.

Anyhow, in musical terms, and Supertramp terms, this is most certainly not as good. The hit single, It's Raining Again, is a joy to listen to, and yet more proof, if any were needed, that the hit machine was now exclusively Roger Hodgson's. Quite why, after leaving the band at the end of this recording session, he agreed to waive performance rights to the Rick Davies vehicle which succeeded is anyone's guess. I rather think he must be waking up night after night in a cold sweat, personally.

In more than a few of my reviews, I have expressed my opinion that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a prog band having commercial success, and this lot have provided me with so much pleasure over the years. Going back to my point earlier regarding relatively poor sales, when you listen to relatively mediocre fare such as Put On Your Old Brown Shoes and Bonnie, both continuing Davies' cod pop/jazz, you can see why. These tracks, in particular, for me simply exemplify the massive shift in an artist who provided us with gems such as Rudy, and the peerless Asylum, to, well, AOR blandness. Waiting So Long on the second side was a more thoughtful affair, but I was never to enjoy a subsequent Tramp album.

The highlight of the LP is the wonderful closer, Don't Leave Me Now, a song so dripping with melancholy and regret, you seriously think about that noose on the ceiling. It is beautiful, and clearly written with the departure of Hodgson in mind - he had, of course, announced his departure during this recording process. Of all of the rest, the Hodgson tracks stand out a bit more, with a personal favourite being the sad Know Who You Are. However, by this stage, all pretence as a songwriting collective had been abandoned (Davies and Hodgson always wrote separately, but at least there was a pretence of collective artistry prior to Breakfast In America).

Following this, neither party would ever reach anywhere near the commercial heights of yesteryear, even with the personal endorsement of Princess Diana as being her favourite band, and the feuding between the main protagonists made Waters and Gilmour look like a kindergarten bun fight.

Only two stars for this, I am afraid. I have it as a completist, and that is all it has to recommend itself, for two excellent tracks do not an excellent album make. A shame, really. Best to remember the good times

lazland | 2/5 |


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