Book Of Dreams

Steve Miller Band

Eagle, 1977

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


It should be noted that seven of the songs on this 12-track LP were featured on Miller's popular Best Of 1974-1978 collection. The only other albums I can think of that had seven hits were Thriller and Born In The U.S.A., both landmarks for their particular artists.

But Steve Miller is no Bruce Springsteen or Michael Jackson. He loves to write hit singles (and has said so), and he makes his easy blues/rock style palatable to the masses. That means there is no unifying theme here, no artistic achievements, no lyrics to speak to the heart, and certainly nothing longer than five minutes (except "Sacrifice"). What that leaves is simple pop music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Fortunately, Miller's take on pop is a lot more memorable than his contemporaries of the mid-70's. Coming from the bluesy psychedelic background, Miller knows how to add little flourishes to his songs, but indulges in none of his former tricks. That makes Book Of Dreams an entertaining, solid and short listen, and was probably the last great album the guy ever made.

The full versions of the hits are present here, but they only add slightly longer introductions than the radio edits. "Threshold" and "Jet Airliner" start the party off with a little bit of synthesizer and a lot of boogie pop, before things come back to Earth with the slower "Winter Time," one of Miller's best latter-day ballads. "Swingtown" is just a great song, but "True Fine Love" has awful lyrics ("Someone, another / Who's as sweet as your mother / A true, fine love"...that's the way to a girl's heart, Steve). "Wish Upon A Star" tries for a medieval sound but fails to catch on.

Side two kicks off with "Jungle Love," again with inane lyrics but with a very catchy beat and well-placed whistles and tambourines. "Electro Lux Imbroglio" is a short keyboard solo and "The Stake" has a cool bluesy beat and some good bass work that gives the song muscle, although Miller's singing leaves a bit to be desired. "Sacrifice" and "My Own Space" are decent, while the closing instrumental "Babes In The Wood" goes for the medieval sound again, and while the acoustic guitar picking is done well the overall sound is a bit wimpy and annoying.

So while Book Of Dreams is not consistently filling, it has enough good tracks to recommend as one of the first albums a new fan should purchase (after Fly Like An Eagle and Brave New World). It may be fluffy and substance-free, but sometimes that's not a bad thing, and these songs are so darn catchy that they'll be lodged in your head all day. There are worse ways to spend 40 minutes.

Rating: B

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