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Roger Hodgson - Rites of Passage CD (album) cover


Roger Hodgson


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2.36 | 39 ratings

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2 stars Roger Hodgson is a pretty melancholy guy, so it is not surprising that this is kind of a sad album. As opposed to some of his more memorable work though, I don't believe he intended these songs to be depressing. The sadness comes from listeners like me who fondly recall the emotional power of his more prolific days penning both giant pop hits and uncomfortably personal introspective tunes as the driving force behind Supertramp. On this live album there is an air of tired resignation, and not a whole lot of the intensity of albums like 'Crime of the Century', 'Even in the Quietest Moments', and the criminally underappreciated 'Famous Last Words'. Hodgson just seems to be going through the motions.

Most of the tracks here are new compositions, and they are all technically well-written, tastefully arranged, and enthusiastically received by the crowd. But aside from the occasional Supertramp hit ("Take the Long Way Home", "The Logical Song", and "Give a Little Bit"), most of them don't make any particular emotional connection, at least when listened to from a cold CD and not live in the auditorium where they were performed. Perhaps the concert setting was a bit more inspiring - let's hope so.

The closest Hodgson comes to recapturing past magic is on the lengthy and expansive "Time Waits for No One". This composition opens with quite a few of the trademarks characteristics of the better Hodgson songs - slow, brooding intro that builds a sense of anticipation with tense keyboards; glum and bleating brass; and languid vocals that are more expressive than they are actually articulate. But it never does really take off, and the net result is a musically intellectual exercise that doesn't have any really substantive message beyond the repetitive phrase "time waits for no one" (which we all already knew).

I will say that the Supertramp tunes are delivered with gusto, and are quite faithful to their original recordings. Hodgson seems to especially come alive for "Give a Little Bit" at the end, and I can imagine the spark in his eyes as he delivers it from the stage while reminiscing in his head about the setting in which this song became his trademark. "The Logical Song" is technically good, but a bit more subdued than I remembered it as a teenager. But maybe that's just me.

This was a worthwhile addition to my collection, but I can't say as I would go out of my way to recommend it to anyone except a hardcore Supertramp or Roger Hodgson fan. And since those fans most likely already have this album, I would have to say that it isn't particularly highly recommended at all. Too bad, because this guy is a shared national treasure who migrated from Britain to California at the height of his popularity, and seems to have never really left. No worries - we'll take care of him while he's here. But I can only hope that he manages to find his creative voice just once more before the time he obsesses about so often, slips by.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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