Monday, January 14, 2013

"II" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1973)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

"I love to work at nothin' all day."

Key Tracks Good Songs:
Blown, Let It Ride, Takin' Care of Business

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
Everything else

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Average (2/4 stars)

"Sophomore slump" doesn't begin to describe BTo's second release.  There was either a dearth of creativity here or no editorial process whatsoever. It sounds like every idea anybody had got thrown into the mix without regard for whether it fit in or worked. 

The best example is Welcome Home.  The verses sound like bad Steely Dan.  The choruses sound like bad Black Sabbath.  The outro is a bad impersonation of dixieland jazz using electric guitars.  The song works out exactly as well as it looks on paper. 

Every member of the band wrote separate pieces for "II."  And apparently, whoever wrote it sang it because there are three different singers on it's paltry eight tracks.

Really though, none of that is surprising.  BTO put out their first five LPs over the course of three years.  That's a lot of music, and evidence of a monumental difference in the musical landscape of forty years ago.  These days, you won't see three releases over the course of five years from a given artist (not counting re-released "bonus" editions with only one or two new tracks).

But BTO's business plan clearly worked.  "II" went platinum on the strength of two songs.  They must have known what they had with Let It Ride and/or Takin' Care of Business and just phoned in everything else.

So, is it an album?  No.  This is a prime example of just killing time for half an hour because an LP sells for more than a really good double-sided single.

Up next, we continue with the seventies power-rock and check out "Don't Look Back" by Boston.

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