...Famous Last Words...


A&M Records, 1982




The year was 1982 and Supertramp was riding high since their breakthrough album Breakfast In America was released in 1979. The band had been around since 1970, with numerous albums and few hits, but it wasn't until Breakfast where the band received more radio airplay they should have deserved with their previous releases.

With a live 1980 album and 1982's ...famous last words..., it was announced that lead singer Roger Hodgson was leaving the group for a solo career. With an album title such as ...famous last words..., it was assumed that we had seen the last of Supertramp. However, the band went on without Hodgson, as he would begin his solo career.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

...famous last words... to describe it, is half pop, half progressive. The pop half I'd have to compare it to the style of R.E.O. Speedwagon when they became more of a pop-rock band, and/or Styx, another band that went in that direction.

The only big hit from this release is "It's Raining Again," and how pop can you get with that song? It's a nice up-beat pop song, and if you are familiar with this tune, it sounds as if the rest of the album may be as up-beat pop sounding.

"Crazy" and "Put On Your Old Brown Shoes" are as pop and up-beat as "It's Raining Again". "Bonnie" is a more slow-paced piano-based ballad, like an R.E.O. or Billy Joel ballad. Yet, as the song plays towards the end, it has a somewhat theatrical/progressive sound to it. Another song in this same case is "Know Who You Are," where this tune brings back the progressive sound heard from past Supertramp songs/albums.

Another pop-sounder, "My Kind Of Lady," is a medium-paced pop song that has high-range vocals similar to the Bee Gees. (Gee, now there's a strange comparison...) It's not disco Bee Gees, but it's definitely pop. The remaining songs - "C'est Le Bon," "Waiting So Long" and "Don't Leave Me Now" - capture the progressive sounding style as the very early Genesis when Phil Collins took over for Peter Gabriel.

As much as I thought that this album would have a pop sound throughout, I was surprised how the musical style had drastically changed from pop, upbeat tempo songs to a more progressive sound. The progressive sound is how Supertramp is best remembered, as their pre- Breakfast In America releases. The outcome of this album was a surprise in sound, as Supertramp is considered an under-rated band. Their albums may not be best remembered, but their material of music is truly remarkable for the progressive music fan.

The progressive songs on ...famous last words... are truly great, as only Supertramp could play them. Yet the pop-sounding songs were below-average for the kind of music that Supertramp had been previously famous for. Yet the album is good, in a sense, that it starts out low, and ends with a good high.

Rating: B

User Rating: C-



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