Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Boston

  • Boston [Epic, 1976] C
  • Don't Look Back [Epic, 1978] B-
  • Third Stage [MCA, 1986] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Boston [Epic, 1976]
When informed that someone has achieved an American synthesis of Led Zeppelin and Yes, all I can do is hold my ears and say gosh. C

Don't Look Back [Epic, 1978]
Debut pomposities having been excised, a pure exploration of corporate rock remains. Pretty streamlined. Not only are the guitars perfectly received, but the lyrical clichés seem specially selected to make the band as credible in the arena as they are in the studio, and Brad Delp's tenor, too thin for nasty cock-rock distractions, leaves us free to contemplate unsullied form. The only thing that makes me wonder is that sometimes I catch myself enjoying it, which means some corruption is still at work here. True formalists, from Mallarme to bluegrass, leave me absolutely cold. B-

Third Stage [MCA, 1986]
Never again can us wiseasses call it corporate rock without thinking twice. Whatever possessed Tom Scholz to spend seven years perfecting this apparently unoccupied articulation of an art-metal thought extinct years ago, it wasn't megaplatinum ambition. He's more like the Archbishop of Latter-Day Arena Rock, perfecting majestic guitar sounds and angelic vocals for hockey-rink cathedrals the world over--and also, since he's patently reluctant to venture from his studio retreat, elegiac melodies suitable to a radio ministry. If he seems more hobbyist than artist, more Trekkie than Blind Boy Grunt, that's no reason to get snobbish. And no reason to listen, either. C

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]