Life, Love & Hope


Frontiers Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Very few bands provide a better example of the law of diminishing returns than Boston has since releasing their debut album in 1976. Boston was one of THE albums of the ‘70s, and has remained extremely popular in the present day. If you go back and read through some of the early reviews for the record, there was some debate over which Boston-originated band would be more successful: Boston or a group of guys called Aerosmith. I think it’s clear who won that particular battle…

The year 2002 was the last time Boston released a studio record, entitled Corporate America. I remember it well, as it was my very first review for the Daily Vault. That album was terrible, and unfortunately more than a decade later, not much has changed. In fact, a great many of my complaints about that particular record could literally be copied, pasted and placed here. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s probably a bad sign for Life, Love & Hope.

Now, one would assume that over the course of a decade, a musician could probably write a decent number of songs. Note that I didn’t say the songs themselves were decent, but the actual number would have to be at least double digits, wouldn’t you think? my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Life, Love & Hope, released 11 years after its predecessor, contains three songs previously recorded and released on Boston albums. That’s three re-recorded songs out a total of eleven (at least in this particular version of the album), leaving eight original compositions -- less than one new song a year since the last Boston album. That is a shameful statistic, and only helps to further the point that perhaps, just perhaps, Scholz should hang up the Boston name. Apparently, as a “band” they have nothing left to offer.

If you have listened to any of the great Boston songs, there were two elements that made the group what they were: the first was Tom Scholz’s amazing production values, and the second was Brad Delp’s lead vocals. Delp took songs like “More Than A Feeling” and added another dimension to them. Sadly, Delp took his own life six years ago, and the hole he leaves behind is palpable. His swan song comes in the form of “Sail Away,” a seemingly Hurricane Katrina-inspired jab at the government response to that crisis. Delp is the only saving grace to the track, which sounds like a Corporate America outtake. It’s a sad way for him to go out.

In this age of digital music, where kids can create amazing sounding records in their garage, I cannot just fathom why Life, Love & Hope sounds as poor as it does. Again, the man behind the album is a genius from MIT; Boston and Don’t Look Back sound just as pristine and fresh in 2014 as they did in the ‘70s. Why is there a muddled quality to this record? You can hear the elements of classic Boston there, but I liken listening to this album as looking through a lens that has fingerprint smudges all over it: you can make out the edges and get a rough idea what you’re looking at, but it’s out of focus and the details are completely lost.

Boston is one of this reviewer’s Desert Island albums; it’s a classic and wholly deserving of the legacy it left behind. That is why each new release from Boston, the band, is so disappointing. If there was something here worthwhile, it would be my pleasure to highlight for everyone and call attention to it. But once again, we’re left with a terrible album. Hopefully this time it will be the last.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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