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9 December 2009

Big Star - 'Radio City' (Big Beat)

I think Big Star are definitely worthy of their retrograde acclaim. #1 Record has a lot of filler but I'm a sucker for the really twee/pervy stuff like that 'Won't you let me walk you home from school' song. But Radio City I've always felt was their strongest work - I'd even give it the nod over Sister Lovers, which is awesome but some forgettable mush, too. I think it's the riffs on Radio City that get me the most - I actually find myself playing air guitar to 'O My Soul' and 'Mod Lang', whereas the #1 Record riffs feel a bit underdeveloped and Sister Lovers is too 'luuded out. This is Thin Lizzy to me, these rockers. The band really plays well as a band here, hitting the chords with the proper crunch and perfect timing. 'Life is White' is a heavy jam - there's space between the corners, and ringing voices are always nice. 'Way Out West' is totally Andy Hummel's finest moment, and things get a bit more snaky on 'You Get What You Deserve'. I hesistate to call this a perfect classic - Big Star are one of those bands whose seminal album is a mixtape of their best work -- but it's their finest moment. Chilton's snarled "I can't be / satisfied" at the beginning of 'Mod Lang' deserves to be as classic as anything Jagger ever delivered. God, the guitars just sound so fucking good here. Yeah, it wimps out a bit at the end, but oh how triumphantly? 'September Gurls' is the bubblegum classic, but then 'Mopha Too' and 'I'm In Love With a Girl' are light sketches - a precursor to the 'Night Time'/'Blue Moon'/'Take Care' trifecta at the end of Sister Lovers. This is a mid-80s repress on a British label; it's mastered well, sounding great, perhaps better than the original press on Stax.

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