While all ELP albums are hit-and-miss to a certain extent, the one that has the most good songs on it is 1972's Trilogy
. One obvious thing about this album is that while it lacks a true epic standout, it has a strong group of tunes to please the listener. Whereas albums like Brain Salad Surgery
had a strong centerpiece surrounded by a lot of filler, Trilogy
is different in that there aren't really that many ***ty throwaway tunes. In fact, the whole album is strong.
"The Endless Enigma" is a composition divided into two seperate parts and it stands as one the group's best moments. It has a somewhat medieval vibe, and you can really tell that these guys are British. The organs are mellow and pretty subdued, with the emphasis being on Greg's great vocals and Carl's impressive drumming. There isn't any wankery at all until the second part of the song, which follows "Fugue", and even then it is still tasteful and enjoyable. "From The Beginning" is a very pretty acoustic tune, once again showcasing Greg's skills as a singer. The album gets off to a good start.
"The Sheriff" is the song where ELP try to be silly on purpose (as opposed to how they normally sound silly on their so-called serious songs) and whereas other times the band failed at making this trademark track enjoyable ("Jeremy Bender" and "Benny the Bouncer" come to mind) on this one the band comes together to make a fun and catchy tune. It sounds like it came straight from the 19th century, and while the critics of the time could not relate because they were busy with Lou Reed solo albums, it's some fun stuff. It's still a filler track and could have been left off, but it could've been worse.
After that we have the trademark "we take a classical tune and change it a bit" song, "Hoedown". It's catchy at first and it shows Emerson's keyboard prowess especially, but eventually it just gets annoying and it sounds like something that would be playing on a blooper/funniest home videos television show in the background with footage of people slipping on banana peels.
Luckily, side two picks up a bit with the title track, "Trilogy", which begins acoustic and gets into a section that is almost, dare I say, rocking. While rocking wasn't something ELP was known for, they get into a bit of a groove on this track, and the rock stays with them on "Living Sin", which is probably the closest thing to proper rock 'n roll the band ever did. This leads into "Abaddon's Bolero", which is enjoyable for about two minutes before turning into a boring Keith Emerson solo seemingly on loop, because there's no way he stood there playing the same goddamn notes for eight whole minutes.
While the album may end on a bit of a bland note, Trilogy
serves as the group's most enjoyable release as a whole. None of the songs are too ***ty and the good songs are really ***ing good this time. While there may not be a huge twenty-minute epic, it has some good 'ol prog jams that any progster or dad will be sure to enjoy.