If you are a fan of Boston’s 1st 2 classic albums then do yourself a favor and stay as far away from “Life, Love & Hope” as you possibly can because it is a complete mess.
It has taken guitarist and founder Tom Scholz over 10 years to put his newest bastardization of the Boston name together and it is virtually unlistenable. To be honest, of the 6 albums released under the name Boston, only 3 have been worth owning and those are “Boston,” “Don’t Look Back” and “Third Stage.”
The reason these three albums are Boston at the top of their game is not because of Tom Scholz but because of original lead vocalist Brad Delp. Sure Scholz brought his signature, created with studio tricks, guitar sound but Delp’s voice is absolute magic on those early Boston albums.
Once Scholz decided to replace Delp for the 4th studio outing, “Walk On,” it was all down hill from there. Delp returned to sing lead on some songs from 2002’s “Corporate America” but by then the magic was gone. For “Corporate America” Scholz’s generic songwriting and insistence on using multiple lead vocalists turned what could have been a great Delp/Scholz reunion into an album that is really not much better than “Life, Love & Hope.”
When a band has a signature sound and vocalist and then you add new lead singers to the mix it is just jarring and causes an album to lose its flow. Let’s also be honest… when a band waits 8 and then 11 years between albums… something is wrong and that something is Tom Scholz.
In 11 years Scholz couldn’t even muster the energy to write 10 new songs and instead actually re-records 3 songs from “Corporate America!” Having Delp’s voice on “Life, Love & Hope” is an embarrassment to Delp’s legacy and feels like a cheap stunt just so diehard fans will purchase the new album.
If you want to truly honor the legacy of Brad Delp I encourage you to continue listening to the 1st 3 Boston albums and seek out the debut album by the other Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau. On 1980’s self-titled “Barry Goudreau” album Delp sings lead vocal on 6 of the albums 9 tracks and the album even includes Boston drummer Sib Hashian. This truly is the real third Boston album. It is just as good as the first 2 and better than “Third Stage.”
Drumroll please… 0 out of 10 drumsticks!!!
Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.