The Alan Parsons Project (IV): decline

Written on the 7th of May 2014

This is another extremely busy week for me, and it doesn’t look this’ll change soon. Anyway I didn’t only write about Eye in the Sky last week, but also about two more TAPP albums so I just added a couple of things and voilà!

After Eye in the Sky, The Alan Parsons Project took their second and last “gap year”, as 1983 would see no albums from the British band come out. Then, there would be four more albums in four consecutive years, but, sadly, and even though they were reasonably good albums, a slow but steady decline could be felt in them.

The first of those four albums was Ammonia Avenue, which came out in 1984. It features two or three of my favourite songs from the band and a bunch of decent but forgettable songs. Prime Time is one of those songs I’m pretty sure I heard as a kid and liked a lot, but I had no idea who was it from, actually when I heard it on this CD, I had forgotten this song existed. Very catchy stuff, but I guess I like it even more because of what I just said (I don’t know if it even makes sense, but that’s how it is!). The video for the song is kind of… strange?

Then there’s Pipeline, which is one of their top 3 instrumentals. As with many other songs, I can’t properly explain what this song makes me feel, but I just can’t get enough of it. The structure is the one I’ve explained quite a few times in the previous posts: a relatively simple melody which is enriched by more and more instruments. I read some guy in youtube saying it’s a perfect song for driving at night, and I think he may be right. Imagine a dark road that goes on endlessly in the middle of nowhere, no cars, and that song. Good combination.

Dancing on a Highwire is relatively simple soft rock song, nothing special there from an unbiased point of view, but I find myself listening to it very often for a reason I can’t explain. And finally there’s the title track and last song of the album, Ammonia Avenue, probably the best song here along with Pipeline. It slightly reminds me of Silence and I because of Woolfson’s voice and the instrumental intermezzo which sometimes is more cheerful that the sung part (although here that intermezzo is not so brilliant).

And the rest of the album? Slightly disappointing. Let Me Go Home, One Good Reason and You Don’t Believe are fillers in the most strict sense of the word. Totally forgettable songs, in my opinion. Finally there are a couple of cheesy songs, Since the Last Goodbye and Don’t Answer Me, which is one of the band’s best known songs, although it doesn’t quite really do the trick for me. The video is very cool though.

1985’s Project album, Vulture Culture is a bit strange in a way. For the first and only time, there are no arrangements by Andrew Powell, and this makes the album a bit too plain and repetitive. On the other hand, this CD is somewhat more consistent than its predecessor. Not necessarily better, though. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, what does matter is that The Alan Parsons Project was producing noticeably worse music.

Oh, for those who love the 80s, this is The Album. Speaking in Star Wars style, the synths are strong in this one. Just check Separate Lives. Or, if you have the remastered version of the album, check the alternative mix version of this song. A song which, by the way, is definitely too similar to another track from the album, Sooner or Later.

I guess once you’ve listened to one song of this album, you’ve listened to all of them. It’s not easy to hightlight songs here, all the songs are decent, but none of them is especially good. Let’s Talk About Me is good mostly because of its video, the beautiful ballad Days Are Numbers may be the best song on the album, and… I guess the other little jewel is a bonus track, the acoustic No Answers, Only Questions, featuring Woolfson’s sweet voice. The album is ok to listen on a lazy afternoon if you don’t want to really think about what you’re listening to, but that’s basically it.

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One thought on “The Alan Parsons Project (IV): decline

  1. Pingback: The Alan Parsons Project (V): it’s almost a good thing they split up… | A Little Light Blogging

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