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Alan Parsons Project, The: The Essential Alan Parsons Project

Two discs covering the rise and fall of former studio engineer Alan Parsons and collaborator Eric Woolfson. Time was, an APP record offered slightly more palatable prog for the masses, via albums such as Tales of Mystery and Imagination and I Robot; time was you couldn't go into your older brother's room without seeing an APP record on the turntable. Today, the band sounds dated, "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You," "What Goes Up" and "Games People Play" don't really come off as timeless as much as they come off as snapshots of a bygone era and the technology that surrounded Parsons and Woolfson. That's not to say that the band wasn't without its merits: A quick listen to "The Eagle Will Rise Again," "Time" or the "Turn Of A Friendly Card" suite reveals that APP more than earned its wings. The second disc here covers the band's move to more commercial terrain. Predictably, that move yielded even wider commercial acceptance but did little to improve upon the unit's sound. "Eye In The Sky" and "Don't Answer Me" are as ubiquitous in the supermarket aisle today as they were on the radio back in the '80s but time and setting have done little to improve upon them. Some interesting artifacts here, but nothing that's going to inspire a full-blown APP revival.

Track Listing
Disc One
1. The Raven
2. (The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether
3. To One In Paradise
4. I Robot
5. I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
6. Some Other Time
7. Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)
8. What Goes Up
9. The Eagle Will Rise Again
10. In The Lap Of The Gods
11. Lucifer
12. Damned If I Do
13. Games People Play
14. Time
15. The Turn Of A Friendly Card (Part I)
16. Snake Eyes
17. The Ace Of Swords
18. Nothing Left To Lose
19. The Turn Of A Friendly Card (Part II)

Disc Two
1. Sirius
2. Eye In The Sky
3. Silence And I
4. Old And Wise
5. Mammagamma
6. Prime Time
7. Ammonia Avenue
8. Don't Answer Me
9. Let's Talk About Me
10. Days Are Numbers (The Traveler)
11. No Answers Only Questions
12. Stereotomy
13. Limelight
14. La Sagrada Familia
15. Standing On Higher Ground

Added: May 18th 2007
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Related Link: Alan Parsons Project Website
Hits: 2794
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Alan Parsons Project, The: The Essential Alan Parsons Project
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-05-18 19:40:24
My Score:

The Alan Parson Project were one of those bands (if you can even call them a BAND) that always straddled the line between AOR, prog, and pop music. Over the years, especially the first half of their career, they sold a fair amount of albums, and even had a string of FM radio hits during the early 80's. The Essential Alan Parsons Project is a 2CD "best of" collection that draws from all their albums from the first, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, up to their 1987 release Gaudi. Most of the radio hits are here, as well as some very good album tracks. If you've been a listener of FM rock radio since the late 70's, songs like "I,Robot", "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You", "Some Other Time", "Games People Play", "Time", "Sirius", 'Stereotomy", and "Eye in the Sky" will certainly bring back memories. Fans who have followed the APP throughout their career will like the fact that some very solid album tracks were included here, although it's odd hearing some of these songs taken away from the original works they were housed within. Most APP releases had a certain sound to them, with all of the songs on each album with a certain feel that was unique to that particular release, so hearing tunes from The Turn of a Friendly Card mixed with others from Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Stereotomy might sound a little odd to some.

This compilation contains a new track, "No Answers Only Questions", a short acoustic piece that sounds more like a Simon & Garfunkle song than anything resembling classic APP, but it's not a bad piece by any means, and shows Eric Woolfson in fine form vocally.

Overall this is not a bad collection of songs from Alan Parsons and the boys if you are looking to get into the band for the first time, as it is pretty comprehensive. However, if you find yourself really enjoying things here, you might want to dig deeper into the discography, especially the early years, and explore things further.

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