This is not your father's Boston. Or, in my case, this is not the Boston I group up with, particularly their seminal self-titled debut that astonished the rock and roll world. No, this is the older, wiser, and more mellow Tom Scholz evolving Boston into more AOR melodic rock Life, Love & Hope.
Is that a bad thing? Certainly not, if you're fan. With little doubt the trademark Boston sound is there, you can hear it the guitar riffs and solos, that touch of piano and organ, and the meticulous and lush Scholz production. You'll catch it the start with Heaven On Earth, and latter with Sail Away, a bit heavier, Didn't Mean to Fall in Love, and the title track. The rest, however, is more tame passive melodic rock, but no less Boston.
Scholz uses several different vocalist across the album including Brad Delp, bass player Kimberley Dahme, David Victor, and Tommy DeCarlo. He takes a turn at the microphone on Love Got Away and Someday. Of course, he manages to play most every instrument on the album himself, with a few exceptions. The album also includes new versions, called "2.0", of two songs from Corporate America: You Gave Up on Love and Someone. I never heard that album, so I can't comment on the differences, but the do sound really good, solid AOR melodic rock.
I suppose, in my case, the musical heart wants what the musical heart wants: Boston to sound more like their first album. I didn't really care for the rushed Don't Look Back or the long awaited, but disappointing, Third Stage, neither connected with me. Meanwhile, as usual, Tom Scholz is cutting his own path, still creating and evolving Boston. As I said at the start, that's a very good thing for the band and their fans. And I think those long time fans will enjoy this album as well. Recommended.
With Life, Love & Hope, Boston returns with the long anticipated fifth album, and delivers a record of "Boston sounding" AOR melodic rock.
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