The Alan Parsons Project (V): it’s almost a good thing they split up…

Written on the 13th of May 2014

As always lately, I don’t have much time to write, so I’ll quickly finish writing about the relatively short story of The Alan Parsons Project (the other posts are here, here, here and here). Stereotomy and Gaudi were albums that confirmed the band’s decline, although, as their two predecessors, they still have some high quality songs. Parsons and Woolfson would later move on to solo efforts, although that’s another story I may talk about some other time.

Stereotomy is not an unforgettable album, but it’s at least more diverse than Vulture Culture. Another similar album (meaning another every-song-is-the-same album) would have definitely killed the band for me. Still, the average quality is not very high… the title track is a bit too long, Stereotomy, pt 2 simply shouldn’t be there and I don’t see the point of Chinese Whispers. Also, In The Real World is a catchy rock song… but there are about five million songs written in that style. It’s not as if they discovered America with that song, as we’d say in Spain. It’s an enjoyable song if you’re in the mood, though.

Let’s rather talk about the positive aspects of the album. First of all there’s Beaujolais. I’m totally biased here, actually. I mean, I know the song is totally average, there’s nothing really great here, neither the lyrics, neither the instrumentation in general, neither the guitar solo, which is just ok… but I find it catchy as hell and it puts me in an excellent mood.

The two instrumentals, Urbania and Where’s the Walrus? are very good, as almost always. After the “meh-ish” Hawkeye, from the previous album, the British duo showed that they could still produce very original instrumentals (Urbania is particularly good).

Limelight is one of my favourite songs from them. Again, as with Prime Time, I have a very strong feeling that I heard this song when I was a very young kid and liked it a lot. It’s cheesy pop, but Gary Brooker’s voice totally nails it. Light of the World is even cheesier (yes, they were getting very cheesy and I’ll still use this word a few more times), but hey, cheese is often tasty (lame pseudo-wordgame, I know).

We can find a demo in the bonus tracks, Rumor Goin’ Round. It’s a pity the whole song isn’t there because it sounds interesting. Actually, Woolfson sang it in his solo effort The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was, comprised of (I think) songs they kind of pitched but never really finished. And yes, it sounds great. Simple but rocking (update: due to my channel being deleted, the demo can’t be found on youtube).

Ok, let’s finish this. It’s pretty clear The Alan Parsons Project started as a great band and was, by this time, a little-better-than-average one… re-reading my last couple of posts, I’ve realized that I almost only use the words “catchy” and “cheesy” to describe the music, and there’s a reason… I guess that this little trip I’ve done, writing chronologically about all their music, has made me aware of how big the difference between the first and last albums is, and that makes me especially negative towards their later music. Well, there’s more, it’s unbearably hot here these days and that makes me hate the world. Joking… kind of.

Gaudi is the band’s last album. As you can guess, the title refers to the Spanish (Catalan) architect. There’s no point in writing much about this, really, it’s the same old story, some pretty good songs (nothing special) and some almost mediocre ones. La Sagrada Familia (best song of the album?), Closer to Heaven, Inside Looking Out (both very cheesy but beautiful if you’re in the mood) and Paseo de Gracia (the instrumental track on this album… maybe their worst?) are the decent/ good songs here. The other three? You’ll forget them as soon as you listen to them.

The duo would later start a new album, but they apparently had their differences and split up. Woolfson would continue working on that album, which he turned into a stage musical. A very good one, actually. But I’ll talk about that some other day. And not in the next post, I really should write about something else for a change. And I’ll try to choose something I love so I really get into it. It’s just that, being this one of my favourite bands, I wanted to write about all their albums, even if there are some I’m not especially fond of.

Bonus track: Rumor Goin’ Round… the final version!

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