Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • 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 clich├ęs 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]