Boston - Corporate America

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Purple, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Purple

    Purple Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Boston released its fifth album Corporate America in 2002. The album did a little business but was largely viewed as a disappointment. Now it's out of print and relatively sought after (it goes for about $20).

    Allmusic gave it 3 stars (fans, 3.5 stars) and I largely agree with them. I think the strength of the album are the Delp cuts (the wonderful "I Had A Good Time," as well as "Someone," and "Didn't Mean To Fall In Love"), though the naive title track is also one of my favorites. I like some of the experimentation in places too.

    The album, however, makes a few important missteps:
    1. It's jarring to listen to. While the previous, platinum selling Walk On sounded cohesive and executed with a singular vision, Corporate America:
    - features a lot of different singers.
    - has an uneven tempo and feel - fast, slow, fast, slow.
    - has too many acoustic tracks - "Stare Out Your Window," "With You," "Cryin'," and (to a lesser extent) "You Gave Up On Love" are decent cuts, but it may have been more effective to keep one of them, and then only as the final or penultimate song on the album.
    - has a throwaway live track that better befits a greatest hits compilation.
    2. A lot of the solos seem restrained or muted on the album, not exemplifying Scholz's typically electrifying and uplifting style. As a contrast, consider the extended solo on "Surrender To Me" to a rewarding climax, as just one example.
    3. Tom Scholz should really stop playing drums - while drums were never a big aspect to the Boston sound, Scholz's playing is unimaginative, repetitive, and well, distracting in a lot of places (a problem that got even bigger on 2013's Life, Love & Hope). More straight ahead, Walk On largely overcame Scholz's limitations.

    Corporate America is then a missed opportunity. A more cohesive vision with a couple superior tracks and this could have been a winner. It does look better in comparison to what came after, but that is damning with faint praise.

     
  2. Anachostic

    Anachostic Forum Resident

    On the topic of drums, I can't express how disappointed I was to recognize that the "drums" on this albums were fake. I shouldn't have been surprised since it's just a product of the times, with MIDI everything. But on one track - I don't have the album in front of me to identify which one, I'll follow up later - there is a rhythm of a ride cymbal and on one beat a whistle tweet sneaks in. I know that blooper well because those are adjacent keys when playing drums on a keyboard. The thought that they were playing the drum track on a keyboard and that they left that extraneous note in the track when it could have been edited out with a simple mouse click just kills me. It tells me a lot as to the production values of the whole album. It was probably 90% done in someone's house.
     
  3. Jerquee

    Jerquee Take this, brother, may it serve you well.

    Location:
    New York
    In the tradition of the first album!
     
  4. OptimisticGoat

    OptimisticGoat Forum Resident

    I don’t mind it. Corporate America itself is a good track and I Had A Good Time the best single since Third Stage.
     
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  5. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    I love Boston, but this album never did it for me. The songs and the sound are blah compared to their previous albums. I bought the CD the day it came out in 2002 and probably haven't listened to it since that week.
     
  6. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    Location:
    wales
    This one passed me by upon release and I've not managed to pick it up since. I like all of Boston's other records to a greater or lesser degree including the seriously unloved Life, Love & Hope so I'd probably find quite a bit to enjoy there despite the fact that even Tom Scholz seems to have disowned it.
     
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  7. Pier

    Pier Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Fano - Italy
    I'm a HUGE Boston fan. The first albums are among my absolute favorites in my house: 10/10, five stars, marvellous, terrific, gorgeus music.
    So, both Corporate America and Life, Love & Hope are ridiculous: badly programmed electronic drums, very few bombastic guitars, watered melodies and chord progressions... everything's wrong, also not professional (the drums).
    Boston never be pioneers in compositions or originality, but the architecture! The sound! The guitar solos (very easy, but soooo melodic!), the Hammond solos! And why all this personnel (four, five guitars on stage)? All these lead voices? A tenor guy is what is needed.
    Boston degrading career from a superb, guitar and high pitch vocal oriented rock band to a liveless situation with no good songs, no good solos, no good melodies and most of all no good inestimable arrangements and song architecture, is one of my major disappointments.
    Please Tom, stay with a drummer, there are so many drummers in the East Coast! That's Rock'n'Roll, and R'n'R pretends a true drummer.
     
  8. Chazzbo13

    Chazzbo13 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Johnstown, PA
    The suspicions I had with Walk On were all verified on Corporate America...Tom Scholz (sadly) has nothing left to say...and clearly (and even sadder) no creative way to say it...
     
  9. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    this album has like 5 good songs and no shocker they are the ones with delp and written by tom. the rest is not great and not boston
     
  10. carlwm

    carlwm Forum Resident

    Location:
    wales
    Totally respect your opinion but I've always enjoyed the songs on Life, Love & Hope. They're somehow more heartfelt than Walk On (a record I like well enough). Brad Delp was a one off, bless him, so having multiple vocalists doesn't bother me particularly and it's nice to hear the old recordings where he features. As far as the music goes, I like the instrumentation very much indeed. The guitars and keys ring out in true Boston style, to my ears. As to the drums, got to take your point there. A human touch would have made it even better but I'm not so big a rhythm man for ithe synthetics to bother me overly much.

    So for me the album works well. From their catalogue, I probably only rate Third Stage & Don't Look Back ahead of it but we all hear things differently and for you LL&H was obviously a massive let down. Always got the early albums to fall back on though. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  11. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I'd say a bigger misstep than any of the above is that it features mostly material not written by Scholz, which makes it something less than a real Boston album. You can't really spotlight other members when the band no longer has a steady lineup-- Most of Corporate America is a showcase for Kimberley Dahme and Anthony Cosmo, who aren't even in the band anymore. So it sounds less like Boston and more like Scholz producing somebody else's album.
     
  12. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I really can't get past the drums on the last two Boston albums. It's amazing a guy as neurotic and studio-centric as Scholz would then willingly ruin his own work with such crappy drum sounds. Even if the drums are programmed, there's really great drum software out there now that, if not fully replicating the sound of a real drummer, can come much closer, or at worst not be a distraction.
     
  13. driverdrummer

    driverdrummer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Irmo, SC
    This albums sounds like a bar band covering Oasis and Later Day Heart. Just terrible. I keep reading that this was recorded to tape but it sounds digital all the way. Someone is the only decent song on this one.
     
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  14. utopiarun

    utopiarun "on the road to Utopia"

    Location:
    Staten Island NY
    Agree with everyone on the sad state of Boston drums or that fake crap Tom keeps putting on his albums. Does he think we’re buying it that it’s a real drum kit? He prides himself on using old fashioned tape, etc but resorts to Casio drums.

    Also if you have a singer that sounds close to Brad (there was only one Brad Delp) use him for all of your songs and let him sing in a high range. For some reason he keeps the vocal melodies very low and Boston was never about that.
     
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  15. blastfurniss

    blastfurniss Forum Resident

    Location:
    Marion, OH, USA
    Excellent points. Here's a guy who at every turn who supposedly obsessed over every minute detail and took years to get it right but he is ok with this stuff? My issue with Corporate America and the band as a whole post Third Stage is the absence of Brad Delp. For me he was the soul of that band and no amount of MIT tinkering is going to replace him.
     
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  16. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    He is dearly missed, but his absence is barely noticeable when you're so distracted by drum sounds from a toy keyboard.
     
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  17. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I pretty much agree, but to me Walk On is a Boston album, it fits stylistically with the previous three. Corporate America doesn't (nor does whatever the last one was called).
     
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  18. swandown

    swandown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    It's a mish-mash of ideas that just don't blend well together. Most of the songs had the potential to be worthy of being on a BOSTON album, but they fell short.

    A quick review:

    I Had A Good Time: one of the few songs that comes close to reaching the standards set by Tom on the first 3 albums. But the cheesy drums hold the song back, and having Brad sing in a lower register was not a good idea (he ends up sounding like Fran Cosmo!). And the cheesy spoken-word rap from Tom was about 10 years behind the times.

    Stare Out Your Window: this song would have been decent filler for a generic 1990s sub-Gin-Blossoms-alt-rock band. But it's just not BOSTON. (And actually, it's not really BOSTON -- it was a demo recorded by Fran & Anthony Cosmo's side project, Cosmo. Tom and Brad took the demo and overdubbed drums, bass & vocals. Trivia: this is the only BOSTON song that does not feature Tom Scholz on guitar or keyboards.)

    Corporate America: just garbage. One of the worst songs ever recorded by any platinum-selling rock band in the past 40 years. "CORPORATE AMERICA, LOOK OUT!" Sooooooooo embarrassing. They never should have named the album after this song.

    With You: a nice little song but again, it's just not BOSTON. (This is another example where Tom took someone else's demo, added an overdub, and slapped his own name on it.)

    Someone: yay, Brad finally singing in his normal voice! Get rid of the phony drums and re-do the guitar solo (which unnecessarily comes out of nowhere and then just as quickly disappears) and you'd have a solid track.

    Turn It Off: this one gets a lot of criticism for being a grunge-rock clone, but I like it. True, it's another "Cosmo demo", but it's pretty good. Say what you want about Anthony Cosmo, but the guy has a knack for songwriting and I'd argue that he wrote better songs from 1995 onwards than Tom Scholz did. This song's apocalyptic imagery would have fit in nicely on a Stryper album.

    Cryin': hey, it's Hootie-meets-the-Indigo-Girls! Okay, but seriously, this is another example of a halfway decent song that just has no business on a BOSTON album.

    Didn't Mean To Fall In Love: the cheesy drums and Casio-esque keyboards tarnish what would would otherwise be a solid Brad Delp performance. And why are Brad's vocals so low in the mix? His voice should never be drowned out by a freaking acoustic guitar!!!

    You Gave Up On Love: this could have been one of the all-time great BOSTON songs if it had featured Brad Delp. But bringing in Charlie Farren to share lead vocals with THREE other people (including a random female)......WHY?? What is the point of this? The song just sounds SOOOOO disjointed (and it's even worse when you listen through headphones, as you can hear the very obvious cuts between the different takes and tracks. It's very amateurish.) I'll PayPal $5 to anyone who can accurately identify the individual singers of every word on this track. It can't be done.
     
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  19. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Unfortunately, never heard either album. I'm guessing Walk On was somewhat of a disappointment too! :shrug:

    Third Stage wasn't too bad, but nowhere as Iconic as the 1rst two LPs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  20. swandown

    swandown Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    You can still have BOSTON without Brad Delp, as long as the Tom adheres to the style that was formulated by Tom and Brad in the '70s. I believe that Walk On emulates that style well enough to be accepted as a "true" BOSTON album. (And indeed, the album was actually written with Brad in mind, with Fran Cosmo joining after the instrumental tracks had already been laid down. So, Fran was just singing what Brad would have sung.) But I don't think Corporate America or Life, Love & Hope were created with the same mindset as Walk On. I think that Tom went out of his way to be different, as if he was trying to prove to the world that he had the Midas touch or something. But the sad reality is that Tom has lost his touch.
     
  21. Purple

    Purple Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    In addition to more unified and Boston-sounding, I think the quality of the songs on Walk On is much better. In fact, I really like the album.
     
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