This was the second or third record I ever bought (in fact, lead single “I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You” was the first APP song I ever heard), and it has gotten plenty of time on my turntable.
And not just for sentiment—it’s also a dang good record.
Parsons spends more time here making intelligent pop music, and his mastery in the studio, noticeably augmented from the debut, brings the songs (vaguely based on the writings of Isaac Asimov’) to their full potential. Expect to hear orchestral arrangements, “Eye of the Tiger” style rhythm guitar, sparkling acoustic guitars, and vocal solos reminiscent of “The Great Gig in the Sky” (again, which Parsons had a large hand in).
By nature of being more pop-oriented, this album is driven more by the songs, which vary greatly in mood, from angry disco to arena-rock ballads to one incredibly nerve-wracking all-orchestra instrumental. Despite the span of the material, the execution is always excellent, as seen especially in the choir interlude on rocker “Breakdown” and the baroque-tinted intro to “Don’t Let It Show”.
This success owes much to APP’s modus operandi: Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson would write the songs, and then bring in a number of musicians in to record the material (hence why the group wasn’t called the Alan Parsons Band). The trading out of vocalists especially is a great help in dealing with the breadth of pop genres spanned here.
There’s really nothing I can say to explain why I love this record so much, so I’ll just leave you with this video of “The Voice,” and say you might want to listen to it, if only for one of the greatest moments in rock & roll history about three minutes in.