From the GC Archives: Vinyl Vlog: Big Star – Radio City

From the GC Archives: Vinyl Vlog: Big Star – Radio City

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Big Star – Radio City

I’m not one of those jaded music fans that think the best decade for music has passed. The truth is that we are living in the best time ever for music in this very moment. As such, I still get a spring in my step when I put a new batch of music on my iPod to consume like the nerdy fool I am. However, as a music fan, I also understand the importance of creating an exhaustive mental catalog of music in order to put the new stuff in perspective. So, although I listen mostly to new music, I am a responsible music listener and also spend a good portion of my listening time filling up holes in my musical knowledge. This is where Big Star comes in. It’s by sheer association that this band came to my attention. Punk rock leads to the Replacements, the Replacements lead to Alex Chilton and Alex Chilton leads to Big Star. And dear God, this album is my newest example of why I still have so much to learn.

Exhaustive reviews are a bit worthless, especially with albums as great as this one. Radio City’s sound is pretty easy to describe: we’re dealing here with straightforward 70s rock with some punk undertones circa the Replacements’ later recordings. The songs are crisp and polished (without distorted guitars) and Chilton’s high pitched vocals give these self-reflective songs an air of vulnerability. It’s the perfect transition album for someone who isn’t as accustomed to the grit and raw of punk rock. However, Radio City has something else that’s magical, which is that it has this incredible ability to build into a perfect climax. It all starts with Way Out West and each song more impressive than the last. By the time we reach the near end of the album with September Gurls, it hits us with such force that we stop dead in our tracks to pay attention. In other words, if a good album is an emotional journey, this is a damn near perfect trip. Oh, and did I mention that 4 Men With Beards has put out a 180g pressing of this gem? Shame on me for only now hearing Radio City and shame on you if you don’t own it.

Get your copy here!


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