How perfect of a first review for Emerson, Lake & Palmer (known as ELP, respectively) is their worst album? Too perfect, I’m glad I got to do it first, as sadistic as I am. Let me give you little history lesson first. In the 1970s, it was be a big, pretentious or loud rock band, or nothing at all. And of course all the progressive bands aimed for 'pretentious', including Yes
, King Crimson
, you know, the regulars. ELP proved to be the prog the power trio (Keith Emerson, Greg Lake & Carl Palmer, duh). They made progressive rock at the magnitude of a quartet or quintet, take that Pink Floyd
! Albums like Tarkus
and Brain Salad Surgery
still stand as prog classics today. But after Brain Salad Surgery, ELP started going downhill, like a greased fat man in a water slide. And in 1978, that greasy obese guy hit the bottom, and hit hard. Emerson, Lake & Palmer's record contract was near expiry in 1978, needing only one more album. But instead of taking their time to make a good effort to make Atlantic Records and their fans happy, they churned out this stinker, and did not flush.
If you're a fan of 70s prog, you’ll know that many of these classic bands swapped members, ELP, I suppose, was the result of three guys that had been in prog bands before and decided to kick ass
themselves. Most known would be King Crimson's genre defining In the Court of the Crimson King
, Greg Lake was the vocalist. He left shortly after to form this threesome. So you would know that Greg Lake is an amazing vocalist and an exceptional bassist. Emerson and Palmer no different, Emerson awesomely dominating his synths, pianos and organs like a pimp to his respective ho and Palmer checking the 'excellent' box for his prog drummer application form. They created harmonious, epic and perhaps too synth-driven and pompous prog music.
What a boring album, to be blunt, why they even bothered making such uninspired music if such atrocious lyrics aren't going to help either? Take Taste of my Love
for example, as if the incredibly cheesy, dated synths weren't bad enough, the lyrics are just atrocious as Lake attempts a Robert Plant impersonation with such lines as "I'm gonna love you like nobody's ever loved you/I'm on my rocket and we'll fly"
. Come on, is that really necessary? Whatever happened to prog bands talking about dragons ands space? That was much more acceptable. Pretty much all the songs are like that, taking every songwriting cliche; and mixing it with disposable poseur-prog pop music. And this is ELP we're talking about. Greg Lake sounds like a sleazy lounge music singer with such despicably lame music. Canario (from Fantasio para un Gentilhombre)
is a blatant Genesis rip-off, emulating their signature synth to make a boring medieval sounding instrumental.
When the music isn't drenched in Keith Emerson's now tiring synth, bassist and guitarist Greg Lake lays down some jangly guitar, genuinely unfitting for the album's awkward mood. This is shown in the gloriously originally titles All I want is You
, as Lake plays some uninteresting parts while again singing a crappy pop song. Emerson's synth still looms around the music, creating a tacky backdrop, like Love Beach
(are these song titles a joke?). As if what was in front of the backdrop wasn't tacky enough: "We can make love on Loooove Beach"
. Even the album cover is ghastly, blatantly breaking ELP's chain of interesting cover art, the boys are standing on a beach looking like three out of work 70s porn stars ready for their unemployment office profile shots.
But wait Galapogos! How can an album be that boring and crappy with a 20 minute long song to end it?
You'd be surprised, question asker, you see this 20 minute long song, Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman
, is really just one of those awful short songs stretched out, for increased displeasure purposes. The first 10 minutes are just Greg Lake monotonously moaning with a piano without any changes. After that, Emerson, Lake & Palmer fall back again on their "Plan B" rip-off Genesis. The last four minutes are an increasingly annoying synth anthem. The music starts to fade, and I give a sigh of relieve that the album I over. Then I listen to it again to complete this review which no one will read...
All in all, Emerson, Lake & Palmer are big bricks in the wall of prog, and Love Beach
is the clump of shi
t stuck to that brick. Unless you really enjoy boring uninspired pop music (attention all Hilary Duff fans...) or have a crush on Greg Lake, stay away from this, and don’t even think about listening to it. Believe me, it IS as bad as you think. I didn't at first, I just thought everyone was being snobby, but oh no, ELP let me down big time with this hunk. For Emerson, Lake & Palmer music that's actually listenable, check out the prog goodies: Tarkus, Trilogy
and Brain Salad Surgery
Love Beach----------> 1 star