Name A Classic Album Where You Do Not Like Every Track.

Name an album you love (even seen as a classic) but do not like every track.

Here is mine – REO Speedwagon Hi Infidelity.

This isn’t so much a kind of album review, but a kind of pause for thought. We use that phrase now, called all killer no filler, when we have an album that really, really you know, we fall in love with and we like every track on it. But, if you’re from a certain vintage, from the 70s and 80s and 90s, we simply bought albums and expected not to like every track. It was just the norm, you know, you’d buy an album by your favourite band and you didn’t presume that every track was going to be killer and no filler. You just thought, well you know, you’d almost describe albums as being great even though there were some tracks you didn’t like as much.

And, you can see where the streaming generation now think, why would you buy 12 tracks, when you only want 3 of them. But, when you were buying records back in the day, you kind of almost expected this and I was thinking about this the other day, because I was playing … I picked out an album to play, which is this one, REO Speedwagon and I thought this is a great album. You know, I really love this album, there’s some brilliant tracks on it, but you know what? There’s also some tracks on this that I can’t stand, but I still class it as a brilliant album even though there are tracks on it that I don’t actually like and all of us must have albums like this.

This album came out in 1980, REO Speedwagon, High Infidelity and you can see I’ve got the import sticker from Virgin Records. So, this was and it’s still actually without pulling it out of the plastic sleeve here, it’s actually still got the cellophane wrapper on it. You know, but it cost me I think £7.50 in 1980, which based on my wages at the time was a colossal amount of money for an album and I’d never heard one track of this when I bought it. It was in the Sands Heavy Metal chart, which is a strange thing for it to be in really, because it’s not even heavy metal, but anyway it was.

And, it was in the import chart and I thought, I’ve just got to get this. And so, I went to Virgin, it was in the import racks and it was 7 pounds 50 and I came home and put it on and it starts with a great track, Don’t Let Him Go. And then, the single, Keep On Loving You and that track, the vocals, the kind of the reverb. In fact, there’s reverb on everything. There’s reverb on the drums, there’s reverb on the vocals, there’s reverb on the guitars. I think it’s … they just poured it on and it just sounds huge and it’s that little echo on the snare drum in the verses.

Its just … the production was just fantastic and then it leads straight into Follow My Heart, which is just absolutely brilliant. You know, the choruses, the build up, the guitars. I was in a band at the time, I used to play this before we came on. It was just … I thought that track was absolutely incredible and then next comes a track written by the guitarist responsible for the riffage and solos on Follow My Heart called In Your Letter, which I can’t stand and it just sends like some kind of pastish doo wop type stuff. And then, Take It On Their Own, comes on which is a great ballad. So, we’re back on course.

And then, side two, once we get the other side of Tough Guys, which is okay, to me it’s just average. It’s just average. But, I still love the album. I still class it as a classic. Their other album, 9 Lives, which was prior to this, has got some great tracks. On The Road Again, etc, brilliant, but it’s also got tracks on it that are okayish. So, it’s … I wonder how many of you are out there are also have albums, which you on first glance go, oh it’s classic, it’s a brilliant album.

But actually, when you look at it and analyze it, it’s actually you don’t like all the tracks. So anyway, I’m going to stick with this one and so, if you don’t know what I’m talking about and you can’t find the vinyl, there was a 2 CD deluxe edition that came out a few years ago. Not that long ago actually and disk one is just the album and disk two is actually what it classes as rough mixes. They’re actually rockier than the actual album itself so, if you like REO Speedwagon with the guitars on, reverbed to death, this is really good. But, it comes with a nice booklet, with interviews with the band, but it’s worth having.

So, here we have it then. REO Speedwagon, their classic album from 1980. It’s a classic album and I’ve said it again, but I don’t like all the tracks on it, but at the time, you know back in the day how many albums did all of us buy, where we’d say to our mates, brilliant album, but we didn’t like all of the tracks and it was just seen as the norm.

Phil Aston

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