59. Big Star – “#1 Record”

I’m not quite what to do with double-CDs which actually include re-releases of two albums. I’m gonna treat my Big Star two-pack as if it were the two distinct albums. So here’s the first one…

big-star-1-record-album-cover1Sometimes bands have a reputation that precedes them. Teenage Fanclub regularly lauded this early 70s influence. I finally heard a cover of their In the Street as theme song to a sitcom (That 70s Show!).

Listening to this album is a fun game of ‘spot the influences’. From track to track you can hear The Who, The Kinks and The Byrds all thrown into a well-watched melting pot. At its best it is pure, unadulterated guitar-driven, snare up the front of the mix, mid-60s power pop.

It’s the sort of music that many bands have mastered over the years (including more folks prefixed with the definite article like The Stems and The Smithereens, and even, in their earlier less adventurous days, REM (or should that be The REM?)).

Having stereotyped the band in such a fashion, it is worth noting that this debut release actually has a lot of light and shade (wanky music talk for variation), from direct poppy numbers, to more swirly, harmony exploratory pieces. On all accounts, this reflected the existence of two distinct songwriters (a bit like Sebadoh I guess).

That’s enough namedropping from me.This album is a wonderful snapshot of an exciting band who should be bigger.

File under: Sweet and sweaty stellar sounds

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One response to “59. Big Star – “#1 Record”

  1. Unrelenting Tedium

    If the opening few seconds of this record do not make you want to go out and start a band every time you hear that riff you do not have a pulse…and nothing will start white hips shaking like Don’t Lie to Me…and Alex Chilton wrote 13 when he was 13 for fuck’s sake!!! That’s a whole 3 years before he topped the charts in the Box Tops with The Letter. I couldn’t even skateboard at 13.

    The India Song is…ummm…the dud that makes this a classic????

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