"The problem with coming in late on an artwork lauded as "influential" is that you've probably encountered the work it influenced first, so its truly innovative qualities are lost. Thus, if you are hearing Big Star's debut album for the first time decades after its release (as, inevitably, most people must), you may be reminded of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or R.E.M., who came after — that is, if you don't think of the Byrds and the Beatles, circa 1965. What was remarkable about #1 Record in 1972 was that nobody except Big Star (and maybe Badfinger and the Raspberries) wanted to sound like this — simple, light pop with sweet harmonies and jangly guitars. Since then, dozens of bands have rediscovered those pleasures. But in a way, that's an advantage because, whatever freshness is lost across the years, Big Star's craft is only confirmed. These are sturdy songs, feelingly performed, and once you get beyond the style to the content, you'll still be impressed. " - Allmusic.com
1.) Feel - 5/5
One of the darkest/and most raw tracks on the album. Starts out with a distorted palm muted riff, before the drums kick in along with the sneering vocals letting a woman have it. "Woman what are you doing/your driving me to ruin/the love that you've been stealing/is giving me a feeling." The chorus get's a little softer but not much, it has Beatle-esque backing vocals, behind the lines "Im feeling like im dying/never gonna live again/you just ain't been trying/it's getting very near the end."
2.) The Ballad Of El Goodo - 5/5 (Wish I could give it more)
This is an amazing song. It starts out with a beautiful agepegio riff (definetley spelt that wrong). Which is soon accompanied by a beautiful vocal melody sung with a lot of emotion. "Years ago my heart was set to live/and i've been trying hard against/unbelievable odds/but it gets so hard in times like now/to hold on. Though the verse is catchy, the chorus is one of the catchiest things I've ever heard. Theres a drum fill that leads into it, and once we get into it, theres some more beautiful sounding guitar as they cry out "Aint no one/going to turn me around" The bridge is a little more minor sounding, with great backing vocals. The melodies in this song are great throughout. And like I said the guitar sounds really beautiful.
3.) In The Street - 5/5
You've heard this song! Don't you deny it!!
"Hanging out/down the street/the same old thing/we did last week/Not a thing to do/but talk to you/"
Yes it is the theme song to that 70's show (though not the same version used on the show). I prefer this version, it is a lot less hard rock sounding than the Cheap Trick version. But this version the vocal melody power of Big Star add's a lot to it. And it's also nice to hear the whole thing. I can't stress how great the backing vocals are on all big star songs! The only reason this song may turn people off is the fact that they hear it everyday on Fox!
4.) Thirteen - 5/5
A beautiful acoustic ballad. The guitar thought it sounds simple and beautiful is actually very complex. There are two acousitc gutiars playing different rhythm melodies that combine to make a really great sound. And as per-usual the vocals fit the music perfectly and really add to the beautiful mood. It's a song about being a kid! "Won't you tell your dad/get off my back/tell him what we said bout paint it black/rock and roll is here to stay/come inside well it's okay..." I can't say it enough the acoustics in this song are beautiful! This song would follow the ballad of el goodo as my favourite big star song.
5.) Don't Lie To Me - 5/5
The tempo picks up, and we go into an all out rocker. This is like a rolling stones guitar with punk vocals. The vocals are very simple, repeating alot, but it's delivered with such anger that it doesn't matter! "Don't lie to me! Don't Lie to me!" And when the instruments stop briefly to let the vocalists go it sounds really cool. I don't know what there doing, there both singing the same thing, but I think there slightly off time with eachother and it makes it sound really awesome. This song is one of the heaviest on the album!
6.) The India Song - 4/5
This is a mix between the Beach Boys and The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper era), it's a crazy indian sounding rhythm, with lots of instruments, the one standing out the most is a wind instrument I believe. The lyrics are very simple, something Brian Wilson or McCartney would write "I'd like to go to india, and live in a big white house, far from what saddens my heart." The way the song is presented actually sounds alot more like The Beach Boys than the Beatles. But the lyrics I could see in either band! Great fun song, but it get's old alot quicker than all the other songs.
7.) When My Baby's Beside Me - 5/5
The verse sounds like something Mick Jagger would be singing, and the chorus sounds like something from the Beatles early work. The song kicks off with a guitar riff, that is joined by a second guitar creating something that almost sounds a little like Layla. Then the verse comes in and you hear him yelling out "Don't need to talk to my doctor/don't need to talk to my shrink/don't need to hide behind no locked door/I don't need to think, then we get to the chorus, that is extremley catchy. THe guitar riff losely follows the vocal melody. "When my baby's beside me, I don't worry, when My baby's beside me, All I know."
8.) My Life Is Right - 5/5
This has got to be McCartney's writing. "Once I walked a lonely road/I had no one to share my load/But then you came and showed the way/And Now I hope your here to stay" those lines are delivered with just a single guitar, before the drums and a heavy riff come in. "You give me life/you are my day." It honestly sounds like some Macca would write, It reminds me of the Long and Winding Road or something off Abbey Road. This is a really catchy song, and has a lot of awesome drum fills. And do I need to say? Great backing vocals.
9.) Give Me Another Chance - 5/5
Another beautiful sad/ballad song. It goes straight to the verse "You feel sad/cause I got mad/and im sorry/im sorry/things I said/made things seem bad/but don't worry/cause it's gonna be alright now/be okay/you know I just don't think/before I speak. It's a mostly acoustic guitar song. The chorus is really great the lead voice is repeated by the background, and sounds very Beatle-esque. "Don't (don't) Give Up (give up) On Me (on me)" The bridge is a really sad part "It's so hard, just to stay alive eachday, I really can't go on this way, Oh no." The acoustic guitars, background harmonies, and emotional singing make for one very beautiful sounding ballad.
10.) Try Again - 5/5
This is another slower, mainly acoustic song. The verse is very catchy, and has both a great melody and great singing. Big Star are very good at making the vocals and the guitar go together beautifully. "Lord/i've been trying/to be like I should/and Lord/I've been trying/to do what I could/but each time/it get's a little harder." This another beautiful acoustic ballad.
11.) Watch The Sunrise - 4/5
It kicks off still with an acoustic guitar but with a fast im thinking 16th notes rhythm, before slowing down for a bit, and going back into the faster part. Then the guitars progress and change to a different riff all together for the verse. "I Can feel it/now it's time/open your eyes/fear's be gone/it won't be long/there's a light/in those eyes/." This is a very catchy song, and once again has really beautiful sounding acoustic guitar. And also ocne again, beautiful backing harmonies!
12.) ST100/6 - 3.9/5
This is the shortest song on the album, with all the singers singing together "Love Me Again/Be My Friend/I Need You Now/I'll Show You Somehow/" with nothing but an acoustic guitar playing a very nice melodic sounding chord progression with agepegios. It's very catchy, but its a little short and there's not much dept to it.
This is a classic album, and should be up there with "Exile On Main Street," "Abbey Road," "Automatic For The People," and all the other pop/rock classics!This album has awesome vocals, amazing backing harmonies, beautiful acoustic guitars. Sad and emotional ballads, and hard and fun rockers.I recommend this album to anyone's who's a fan of The Beatles, R.E.M., The Replacements, Teenage Fan Club, The Stones, or anyone who really enjoys a great vocal melody.