60. Big Star – “Radio City”

What a step up these guys made from album one to two. This effort is stunningly coherent and well-structured. The band have developed a clear, unmistakable sound, one which will be aped almost to the note by a few followers down the track (Matthew Sweet, are you out there?).

big-star-radio-city-album-coverIt is seems so stunningly simple. Lay down a tom-heavy beat, some Byrds-ish guitar layers (especially a trebly lead riff), and then top it off with some relaxed, adenoidal vocals. Folks have been trying this on for decades. Somehow Big Star get it so much more on the money than anyone sense (other than perhaps Teenage Fanclub who are ever so more rockingier – Wow, could that sound any more contrived?).

While the album lacks an all-time classic single, it certainly gets inside your head. The opener O My Soul is a fantastic roadhouse bar band effort, with a hilarious opening rift. Back of a Car is the tune you’d play to show how Matthew Sweet sounds. While this album is much less Brit-invasion than their debut, Mod Lang would easily fit the Stones’ repertoire.

Oh, to timemachine back to 1974 and see these guys in action…

File under: Power pop mastery


2 responses to “60. Big Star – “Radio City”

  1. Whilst I don’t really have any comments on Bigstar’s albums except to remind people that Danzig did a very nice cover of Thirteen as well, which goes to prove that good songs stand up no matter how many crucifix laden artists get their hands on things. I would also like to express my excitement about the forthcoming review of Colourblind James Experience – can’t wait really.

    BTW, whilst I’m happy with your blog concept, I think you’re system is flawed by listening to all albums of the same artist in close proximity to one another. How can you possibly compare great Colourblind James Experience albums day after day after day. They need space, man.

  2. Unrelenting Tedium

    Am I falling for the gag by noting they are different 13s?..Danzig wrote his for Johnny Cash and then used it himself during his late era desperation for material. If I am falling for the gag I am least confirming my reputation as a humourless prick in the process.

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