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Supertramp - Famous Last Words CD (album) cover

FAMOUS LAST WORDS

Supertramp

 

Crossover Prog

3.18 | 313 ratings

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TCat
3 stars After the amazing success of "Breakfast in America", Supertramp decided to take on a more commercial aspect with "Famous Last Words". This may have been a poor choice of direction and a poor choice of title. Many people took the title to mean that the band was breaking up, however, according to John Helliwell, the band was not planning on calling it quits when the album was named.

When listening to the songs on this album, it seems that Roger Hodgson was mostly guilty for taking the band in a commercial direction. "Crazy" is formulaic pop with way too much repetition in the vocals during the fade out, "It's Raining Again" is just a pop song meant for radio, "Know Who You Are" and "C'est le Bon" are boring, overly sentimental ballads that go nowhere and lack all emotion. It seems that all of his songs have taken on a pop sound and all of the emotion and ingenuity in his singing and in his lyrics were missing, that is all of the songs except for the last track which was to be his swan song with the band. "Don't Leave Me Now" is a beautifully written song reminiscent of Supertramp's best work, but in Roger's case, it was too little of an effort when added with the other songs that he contributed to the album.

Rick Davies, on the other hand, has only one half-hearted attempt here and his other contributions to the album are more heart felt and, while still leaning on the pop side more than he was on previous albums, were much better developed and interesting. "Put On Your Old Brown Shoes" is a toe tapping delight with a lot of spice in the music, not flat like Roger's songs. "Bonnie" is a nice up beat song with an excellent piano hook that makes you think that maybe Supertramp still had a lot of life left in them. The piano-led instrumental break in the song is as good as anything from "Even in the Quietest Moments" or "Crisis? What Crisis?" with a beautiful symphonic sound swirling around the piano hooks. "My Kind of Lady" is Rick's most commercial song that has a slight 50's doo wop sound and it is not quite as interesting as his other songs here, but "Waiting So Long" on the other hand is an emotional, sometimes heavy, sometimes humorous (check out the tango beat halfway through the song), always beautiful and it even has an explosive guitar solo to round it out.

It was a sad day when we learned that Roger had decided to depart. However, after this album, even with Roger leaving the band, I felt that we were still in good hands with Rick fronting the band. And so we were with the excellent album "Brother Where You Bound", but after that album, Rick seemed to lose direction and suffered from not having Roger's more commercially savvy songs in later albums.

Even with Rick trying his best to save this album, it just was too hard to be believable with Roger's watered down songs mixed in. I was such a Supertramp fan and was sorely disappointed with this album. Even now, I can only give it a 3 star rating, and that rating only comes about because of Rick's songs on here. Rick proved on the next album he could front the band, but on this album, Roger was bringing the band down, so, at the time, it was probably the best thing for the band. I find it interesting that Roger's first solo album, even though it wasn't really progressive, was so much better than anything he contributed to this album. Makes me wonder if his heart was ever in the band at the time this album was produced.

TCat | 3/5 |

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