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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Songs of '78: "Don't Look Back"

Ah, Boston. The aspirations of progressive rock, the volume of heavy metal, with a huge guitar presence and huge hair. Similar to Kansas (which has already had its moment in this 1978 radio retrospective), for all their pomposity Boston was actually a serious, introspective bunch of studio geeks, who loved playing around with whatever counted as cutting-edge recording technology in the late 1970s, finding ways to layer their sound and then reproduce that on stage. Don't Look Back, their second album, was probably their greatest example of this--musically, the whole thing is a massive, driving, wall of melody--and the album's self-titled lead single, released 40 years ago today, was filled with that furious guitar buzz. I had a college roommate who thought Boston was one of the greatest, most talented and important rock and roll bands ever. (Our feminist friends at the time, on the other hand, made snarky--and probably accurate--comments about all those guitars strutting around on stage.) That wasn't my opinion, but who could deny that this sort of loud-but-never-angry, aggressive-but-never-dangerous, rock and roll was a huge part of 1978 radio, at least the non-punk and non-disco parts of it? I certainly can't. I never saw them live, but I wish I had; it would have been a trip.

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