Chicago - XXX

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Rhino
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:43:00

Chicago is the product of consistency and keeping key core members in the band for the last 37 years. XXX is their 30th studio recording and a total demonstration of their wherewithal and greatness as a thriving unit. I am the first to say I enjoyed their older material, the first five albums where incredibly good. Over the years, they have changed members and their style but what you hear is indisputably Chicago. The reasons for their success are many and probably the most important factor that contributes to that ongoing success is that they have managed to keep that base sound intact. The all-important horns are always there and the leadership of long time members like Robert Lamm, Walt Parazaider, James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, and Bill Champlin, serve as the guiding light of this modern day musical marvel. The vocals have sounded pretty much the same since Peter Cetera was at the helm. They have managed to find clones of his vocal style, thus making any of the changes seamless and smooth to the music buying public. To say they have been a commercial success is an understatement.

There are 13 tracks on this CD and they all have the potential to be a hit single ? no surprise there. Their output is comparative to The Beatles; every time they put an album out, they fill it with great and memorable songs. I cannot think of one band that is still actively recording that can do that. That is what makes Chicago so special. The first time I heard the album I thought it was a bit too pop oriented for my liking, and then as I gave it successive spins it gradually grew on me. The realization that this band had done it again hit me square between the eyes. The driving pop rhythms of love and loss are here, the great rhythm section, horns, fantastic vocals-all in place lined up like a well-practiced platoon with its marching orders. This recording is one that all the band members should be proud to add to the Chicago legacy.

The tracks that had me singing in no time were "King Of Might Have Been," "Caroline," and the made for hit single "90 Degrees And Freezing." This is a sure bet to be a chart topper, its archetypal Chicago and it reminded of the band in their prime. Sure, I still like the risqu?é progressive Chicago that played those immortal dates at Carnegie Hall, but this version of the band is very good and as I said before, who else is making music like this? This is quality music, the lyrics are not offensive or negative, nor do they promote violence or drug abuse, know how much trash is out there today selling by the truckload that offers all of that? ... A little too much as far as I am concerned. The jazz purists will complain as usual and the old time fans may say it has too much syrupy pop for their gullets, but you know what? Its one of the best albums I have heard this year and the musicianship is simply outstanding. Listen to it a few times, I guarantee you will be hooked, even if you do not like it the first time just like me. Yes, it is very much mainstream and easy listening but is so very good!

Feel Daly (4:01) / King Of Might Have Been (3:52) / Caroline (3:39) / Why Can't We (4:07) / Love Will Come Back (3:48) / Long Lost Friend (4:33) / 90 Degrees And Freezing (3:52) / Where Were You (4:17) / Already Gone (6:51) / Come To Me (4:36) / Lovin' Chains (3:56) / Better (4:41) / Feel Daly (4:30)

Robert Lamm - piano, Wurlitzer, Hammond organ, vocals
Lee Loughnane; trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet
James Pankow - trombone
Walt Parazaider - saxophones, flutes
Bill Champlin - Hammond organ, piano, Fender Rhodes, vocals
Jason Scheff - bass, vocals
Tris Imbodden - drums
Keith Howland - guitar

Chicago Transit Authority (1969)
Chicago II (1970/2002*)
Chicago III (1971)
At Carnegie Hall, Vols. 1-4 (Chicago IV) (1971/2005)
Chicago V (1972/2002*)
Live in Japan (1972 (1972)
Chicago VI (1973/2002*)
Chicago VII (1974/2002*)
Chicago VIII (1975/2002*)
Greatest Hits (Chicago IX) (1975)
Chicago X (1976/2002*)
Chicago XI (1977/2003*)
Hot Streets (1978/2003*)
Chicago Transit Authority: Live in Concert... (1978)
Chicago 13 (1979/2003*)
Chicago XIV (1980/2003*)
Chicago's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (1981)
Chicago 16 (1982)
Chicago 17 (1984)
Toronto Rock 'n' Roll Revival 69 (1984)
Chicago 18 (1986)
Live Chicago (1986)
Chicago (19 (1988)
Beginnings Live (1989)
Greatest Hits: 1982-1989 (1989)
Twenty 1 (1991)
Group Portrait (1991)
In Concert (1993)
Live In Concert (1994)
Night and Day: Big-Band (1995)
Chicago Live (1995)
Overtime (1995)
Live (1996)
In Concert (1996)
Live In Toronto (1996)
Great Chicago In Concert (1997)
The Heart Of Chicago 1967-1997 (1997)
Chicago's First Christmas (1998)
Chicago Transit Authority: Live in Concert... (1998)
Chicago 25: The Christmas Album (1998)
The Heart Of Chicago, Vol. 2: 1967-1998 (1998)
25 Years Of Gold (1998)
I'm A Man (1999)
Beat The Bootleggers: Live (1967 (1999)
Chicago XXVI - The Live Album (1999)
Live! (1999)
Rock In Toronto (1999)
Live '69 (2000)
Live (2001)
Live 25 or 6 to 4 (2002)
The Very Best Of Chicago: Only The Beginning (2002)
Chicago: The Box (2003)
XXX (2006)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: April 9th 2006
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck

Artist website:
Hits: 1151
Language: english


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