The First Week: Classics – Chicago and Vanishing Point

Welp, first week of second semester went swimmingly considering I did essentially no work. I should probably be using the few spares days before I start bleeding schoolwork from my tear ducts to put some reviews together but I’ve been too busy digging into some older music that I had been missing.

The first two albums are old in the classic sense, hailing from 1969 and 1971 respectively. The first is the debut self-titled album from Chicago and the second is the soundtrack for the very excellent movie, “Vanishing Point”.

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Chicago, known as the Chicago Transit Authority when this album was released, are a staple of mainstream classic rock radio, with a slew of top-ranking hits across their career. They started to garner fame in the 70’s but I don’t really dig what they were doing then, their debut on the other hand is fucking stellar. It’s an album that has passed me by for a while but holy shit was I missing out.

Not only do they have an absolutely rockin’ brass section on every track, they also manage to cram in a bountiful amount of guitar, bass and drum wizardry as well. Perfectly layered and mixed, there is an unshakable funk ingrained throughout the entire damn album. From extended instrumental solo’s to infectious riffs from both the guitar and horns, you never even get the chance to think about being bored.

This first album also showed a much more prominent experimental side, with “Free Form Guitar” sounding like something you would expect to hear off a modern noise rock record. There are tons of surprises like this, shit that just catches you off guard with how hard it jams. Some seriously good shit to be found here.

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Next up is the soundtrack to the 1971 classic, “Vanishing Point”. A quintessential car-chase movie it also provides a reflection on personal freedom and delves into many deeper concepts than just big motors and burning rubber. For me, a big draw of this movie has always been the music, with the movie providing a stark contrast between moments of silence and righteous tunes.

The soundtrack is 14 tracks from a startling variety of artists, from bluegrass, gospel, funk, soul and hard rock artists of the time. It’s a very eclectic but extremely enjoyable collection that serves as an introduction to many different genres and bands of the 60’s and earlier. Only track that blows it is “Love Theme”, which can be forgiven considering tracks like “Welcome to Nevada” and “The Girl Done Get it Together”.

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