What’s up, people? Here’s Shukin, now with more leg aches. Today, I’ll review an LP, yeah, that’s more than twice my age. Jotaka himself told me to review it and I, as I didn’t had any ideas at that moment, accepted it. Let’s start, then, with Crime of the Century, by Supertramp.
This album was first recorded in many different studios, getting nearly 42 demo songs before the 8 ones that actually appears over this LP, as some of the other songs appeared over their other works. This is the third album of the band, released at 1974 and over 1977, as many others remastered CD versions came to light at 1997 and 2002. Both were highly criticized by audiophiles for being “too loud”. Last year, 2010, it was re-remastered and issued as a LP again, with much rejoicing.
Standing with 43 minutes over eight tracks, the longest being Rudy, with its 7:17 minutes, and the shortest being Dreamer, with 3:31, it’s not actually too long, and quite nice to listen in one shot. Crime of the Century, actually, is a Concept Album telling the story of Rudy, a guy that’s against the system and, over his life, gets a lot of crap thrown at him. Well, let’s start, then, with the story of Rudy and this review.
1> School [5:35] – There’s a harmonica over the start that really impressed me, even if it was a little bit simple if compared to the piano later in the LP, but I’m really a harmonica fan, so it’s not surprising. The atmosphere is really relaxing and the acoustic guitar makes a good job at keeping it top-notch. The vocals are really nice to hear and, even if it’s not the best singing ever, I can’t think of another voice that keeps the attempted atmosphere as good as Roger Hodgson’s. This is the first step of Rudy’s life and he’s already against the educational system, as the lyrics say that, while he’s against it, the other students just keep going with the flow and take advantage of it. Of course he’s mad some tracks later. The piano makes his first solo and starts its way over every music of the LP and some of the best moments of the whole Crime of the Century.
2> Bloody Well Right [4:32] – The solo that kicks up the music is really great, in fact it made me smile when I heard it the first time. The guitar goes really well with the drums, making the whole music sound a lot better than it would be without them. Over this one, Rudy is a teenager that’s in some kind of pro-anarchy group that, besides stating that are against the system, doesn’t do anything to prove their point, what makes Rudy even angrier. They keep making fun of him because of his idealistic motives and, again, he gets madder. The saxophone that appears in the middle of the song is really great too and the chorus may repeat itself over your head for some hours after listening to it. Damned Ear Worm.
3> Hide In Your Shell [6:49] – Too big and too little things happening made me not like this song as I would. Not that I’m saying it’s bad, it’s just too long. Looks like our Rudy boy doesn’t like his own emotions and everything that makes him tick now is pure anger, what motivates him to go away from society and, as the title suggests, “hide in a shell”. It worked too well, as we’ll see next. I can say that I’m a little fan of some acoustic music to break the rhythm and this music is a good example of when this works. I can’t say anything else about the first and second third of the music, it’s not that remarkable, but the return of the angrier, emotional side of the music over its last part is really, really great.
4> Asylum [6:45] – Again, too big. As Rudy was isolating himself from the world, he actually does this at such a great extent that he literally got mad and was committed to a psychiatric asylum. It’s a really melancholic music overall, getting faster over its middle and again back to melancholy over the ending, as he actually accepts his state of mind and turns back into a functional member of society, but still doesn’t know who he really is besides hating the system with all his willpower.
5> Dreamer [3:31] – I thought I’ve never heard a music by Supertramp and this is a music that I’ve already knew before, that was a surprise! Well, it shows how famous this LP were at its time, even reaching first place over UK at its release. Well, the vocals are pretty funny over this one, and it’s pretty ironic overall, as Rudy tries to understand what makes himself tick besides anger, anger that he doesn’t feel anymore. Poor, poor Rudy and his self-depreciating life, which leads us to…
6> Rudy [7:17] – Actually, this is the longest track of the album and it’s not overly long, as Hide In Your Shell and Asylum where, because it’s actually pretty awesome. This is the climax of his story, where he really thinks about who he is, his purpose in life and why does he still is without any answer about his life or anything else. He does understand that if he can’t find a solution, he’ll be in a one-way trip to nothingness and, guess what? The saxophone is just too powerful for its own good, I love this track. The overall rhythm, the drums, the piano, everything just adds ups in one of the best tracks of the whole LP.
7> If Everyone Was Listening [4:04] – Rudy failed. No, really. He couldn’t find his own purpose and went the rest of his life wondering what could have been and how much the system sucks and how the 20th century destroyed humanity and all those angrish-anarchy thing that people like to do. Anyway, this is a good ending track, with a sweet flute and a hell of a melancholic ending.
8> Crime of the Century [5:32] – This track is the final music of the LP, but, as said earlier, Rudy’s story has ended. So where do I put this single track over the concept? Well, you can see it like an abstract of the whole disc. It summarizes the whole motivation, and lack of, that Rudy goes through his life. It’s not something simple, or something that can be shown through words and, as that, this is mostly instrumental. This song is so good that it gave me goosebumps twice. I can’t say that I liked the actual ending, with its piano repetition, even if adding the saxophone again later makes it a little better.
One thing that I can surely say is that Crime of the Century, the track, is the whole Crime of the Century, the album. You can buy the whole LP just for this one song, but you’d be missing Rudy too and I loved that music. Every track is good in its own terms and even Asylum, the one that I didn’t like that much, was a great song overall. This is the kind of album that you can’t ignore and, by all means, just buy, steal or do something already to listen to it, it’s one of a kind and it’s completely awesome.
This was Shukin, see you soon.