Boston – Love, Life & Hope

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Review by Brian McGowan

Frontiers Records

Boston have sold over 30 million albums worldwide, with more than half of those sales credited to the self titled debut. If Love, Life & Hope adds another 300, they’ll be doing well.

The logistics are these: 11 tracks, 8 “new” and 3 reworked from 2002’s Corporate America. The late Brad Delp’s lead vocals remain on 2 of the reworks, plus on one “new” track, which clearly dates the recording to 2007 (the year of Delp’s death) or earlier. Tommy DeCarlo (another You Tube find), David Victor and Kimberly Dahme variously sing lead on the other tracks.

Musically, there’s an overwhelming sense of deja vu, like the album’s constructed primarily of end cuts and floor sweepings leftover from the 1979 debut. ‘Heaven And Earth’ and ‘You Gave Up On Love’ seem patched together from ‘More Than A Feeling’ out-takes. Factor in a messy production, where basics like clear sound separation seems anathema and we’re being given not the “classic” Boston claimed by the PR people, but weak and milky parodies of a seminal sound, that once was fresh and ground-breaking.

Lyrically, almost all of the tracks are concerned with romantic love. It’s as if Scholz has just rediscovered this emotion in a revelatory moment, and (yawn) wants to bathe everybody in its redemptive waters. But the lyrics are maudlin, juvenile, totally lacking in insight and frequently framed in creaking metaphors.

Ironically, the only track that is in any way inspiring (and contemporary) is ‘Sail Away’, a testimonial to the people of New Orleans, who suffered twofold. One, at the hands of hurricane Katrina and two, in the subsequent inept Government handling of the catastrophe. But elsewhere and too often, this is lazy, self-indulgent stuff, trading heavily on a brand name that’s now, sadly, long past its sell by date. Was everyone involved afraid to tell Tom Scholz the truth?

Boston - Life Love Hope4 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Heaven On Earth
  2. Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love
  3. Last Day Of School (instrumental)
  4. Sail Away
  5. Life Love & Hope
  6. If You Were In Love
  7. Someday
  8. Love Got Away
  9. You Gave Up On Love
  10. Someone
  11. The Way You Look Tonight