Love - Forever Changes (1967) (1 Viewer)

travispickle

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I'm enjoying this album immensely, I have to say. It's one of those that feels like it's always been on my radar but I never really listened to it that closely. Alone Again Or was the one I guess I knew best. The rest of the album never really clicked with me. Love were one of those bands that people in bands always seemed to rave about. One of my first pointers to them was via the Stars of Heaven whose song 28 was inspired by Love's 7 and 7 is..(they claimed it was twice as fast, hence the title!).

The song arrangements, with the strings, are fantastic. It might have been recorded in 67 but this is no Summer of Love album, quite the opposite in fact. I've had this album for a number of years and have given it a few spins, but I was always left scratching my head over what other people seemed to find so "amazing" about it. A mate of mine was only raving about it to me on Saturday night when I mentioned it, and he couldn't believe I didn't find it AMAZING. So I went back to listen.

I always thought it was good, but not brilliant. However, it really does warrant repeated listening. The songs are smart, the arrangements are complex, the lyrics are pretty stark and dark; it's sunshine pop without the sunshine.
Yes for sure, some of it sounds very dated and very much of it's time, some of the vocals leave me cold, but most of it still sounds great, really great. I dare anyone not to want to shout "Fuck yeah" aloud at that drum/guitar break down in A House is Not a Motel; it gives me goosebumps every time. And what great song titles! Other highlights for me are Maybe The People Would Be The Times (fuckin' title), Andmoreagain, The Daily Planet, You set the Scene. I'm sure there'll be more with more listens.
I've never listened to any Love albums other than Forever Changes (what a fucking title!) but I will be now for sure.
It's a sold TAC 5/5 from me; a superb record.
 

sep;9fuews?

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I wouldn't call it a 60s psych record or catagorize it alongside things like Sgt Peppers or VU & Nico. It's not pushing the boat out in terms of genre or style, it's more firmly based in the musical conventions of the day (or what I imagine those conventions were...). This is probably more of a definitive sound of the time than the groundbreaking that came out at the same time. What strikes me about it is the dark/unsettling vibe off it that someone mentioned and the general quality of the songs and playing. This baroque pop stuff (as it is apparently called) is not a genre I'm too fond of - the kind of strings arrangements here I usually tend to give me the horrors but they're not too bad here. These stringy 60s arrangements with these harpsichordy things plinking along tend to remind me of a conveyor belt of bands running through a tv studio of bored BBC orchestra session musicians where all the edges and rough bits are blanded out. This album has that vibe too but they seem to have managed to make something out of it. It's starting to remind me of Piper At The Gates of Dawn - thank fuck that had no string arrangements.

As for Sgt Peppers - the were turning away from their rock'n'roll going in a direction more like this album - more orchestrated and embellished. They had an army of EMI-funded boffins and nerds to invent automatic double tracking and various no-expense-spared gadgets for them in Abbey Road.
 

travispickle

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I'm sure I've heard this, or at least parts of it, before. But listening to it now it seems fresh. It's a great lark, enjoying it a lot. Great drumming.
The mix is weird too but kind of works. The drums in the left channel on Alone again or, for example. The mix for each song is quite distinct but they seem to move around during each song. It's a hard one to pin down; I think that's why it keeps sounding fresh.
 

travispickle

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What strikes me about it is the dark/unsettling vibe off it that someone mentioned and the general quality of the songs and playing.
That lyric - sitting on a hillside watching all the people (pause) DIE, is quite extraordinary still. They definitely tapped into the dark side of flower power, the flowers in people's hair are most definitely wilted and rotting in Love's world. Theirs is the late 60's of the Sharon Tate's murder and the Manson Family. The vibe on this record prefigures things like Altamont and even Neil Young's On The Beach. I like it more with every listen.
 

Lili Marlene

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I keep putting on this album and giving up half a song in cos it all sounds so twee. I don't care if there's secretly dark lyrics if I can't get past the music itself o_O

Gonna try again now in a sec though.
 

Lili Marlene

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No. I'm not feeling this album at all at all, I just have no way into this style of music. All that mannered orchestration and WELL ENUNCIATED SINGING makes me feel ill, doesn't matter wtf they're singing about, it could be Danzig lyrics for all I care. When I listen to this I just see people in white polo necks nodding at each other and feeling decadent and sophisticated while on all the drugs in the world.

I like the first track and the last tracks on it, they do that twee, reverby acoustic guitar with pitter pattering drums things in a way that i find bearable, but the rest are just more annoying variations on that theme.

I'll chalk this one up to differences in taste. Maybe I'll come round to this kinda thing at some point, but right now it reminds me too much of the bits in Belle & Sebastian that make me wanna kill everyone.
 

travispickle

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but right now it reminds me too much of the bits in Belle & Sebastian that make me wanna kill everyone.
Yeah Love are a fair reference point for B+S; you can clearly hear where some of their ideas came from.
I was surprised with how Doors-y some of this album sounded (I know they were contemporaries and label mates) and there's even a bit of Dylanesque vocalising on Bummer in the Summer, which I also found surprising.
 

prefuse

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The mix is weird too but kind of works. The drums in the left channel on Alone again or, for example.
It's quiet common for records around that time. They hadn't figured out how you should mix for stereo. Its why a lot of people prefer mono mixes of 60's albums. it sounds fuller and more cohesive.
 

sep;9fuews?

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It's quiet common for records around that time. They hadn't figured out how you should mix for stereo. Its why a lot of people prefer mono mixes of 60's albums. it sounds fuller and more cohesive.
I dunno about Forever Changes but I read that in Abbey Road the desk had a fairly limited number of channels (8 maybe) and the panning options were really limited e.g. you couldn't just pan to any position you liked. Between this and having to bounce loads of instruments to one track you ended up with weird shit like the entire drum kit in one channel. I used to think it was a creative decision until I read this fancy book:

Recording The Beatles : Curvebender Publishing
 

rettucs

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This is a 4/5 for me. Its an album I came to, I think, through thumped, probably in 2006. I joined thumped in April of that year. I remember coming across this album, then almost straight away the news broke about Arthur Lee's illness. Benefit shows were put on around the world, including this one in Dublin.

Arthur Lee Benefit Gig, Thursday 8th June

(look how quickly threads descended into farce in those days - pricks)

By August, he had passed away.

Arthur Lee died peacefully at Methodist Hospital in Memphis

After that happened I became really interested in this album. Up to then it was only really the more instantly catchy songs that I tended to go back to (the 2 I mentioned before). Tragically, I knew the apalling Calexico version of 'Alone Again Or' before I'd heard Love's version. Calexico seem like nice people - why would they do something like that?

Anyway, it soon made regular appearances on my car CD player. I wasn't really able to listen to it through headphones due to the mixing, and the fact that I'm partially deaf in one ear. Listening again recently, I haven't noticed it to have sounded as bad as back in the day - either through my hearing improving, or the mixing on the spotify version being more one-eared-freak(like me)-friendly.

Two things that struck me in the past week while listening to this again. One, despite the countless times I've listened to this I know almost no lyrics of any of the songs, and 2, nor do I remember most of the song names. I think I subconsciously gave up on trying to remember them, a long while back.

I think I dismissed the lyrics as being nonsensical, but was interested in the comments of others on this thread. And, I never really read around the album before - what themes were being tackled, etc. I will have to revisit though.

I do agree that the album captures a sound thats very much of the time it was recorded, and that its certainly not unique to this album. But I don't get why so many people are basing their opinions of this (and other) album(s) by comparing to other, similar, albums that they knew previously. I'd personally prefer to appraise an album on its own merits. Regardless, even if I was more knowledgeable of the music of that era, I can't see this album not standing up to anything else that was out back then.

For such a highly-rated and well-thought of album, why do more people not know it? Why do the songs not get more airplay on commercial radio stations? I'd consider, at least, half the songs on it as being 'radio-friendly'. Its a shame really.

Musically I think its fantastic. I love the strings. I love the brass. The songs would still be excellent with more stripped back arrangements, but they sound great. I'd be curious to know how the songs were performed, and how they came across, live.

Initially I can remember kind-of losing interest when I'd reached the last few songs. The slower numbers (AndMoreAgain) or the less catchy numbers (Live and Let Live), can make it seem a little dragged-out. With time and with a lot more listens, that became less the case. Now I don't think theres a weak song on there. Though, when I listen nowadays, and those songs come on, I'd tend to look forward to them being over and for the next song to come on. But, if I were to hear those songs being played on the radio, or on a playlist, I always really enjoy them.

The Belle and Sebastian comparisons are not something that occurred to me before. I don't think they're terribly obvious, but there are definitely some similarites there (I'm thinking the string arrangements on Fold Your Hands). I need to think about this a bit more. I'm sure Lee has influenced thousands of musicians.

I never heard anything else by Lee or by Love. According to the blurb @pete posted at the start of this thread it seems this was the last 'real' Love album anyway, with a lot of chopping and changing of band members, so maybe its better that things stay that way.

Curiously, I found 2 thumped threads about an Arthur Lee gig in Whelans in 2002. All were talking about it as an upcoming gig, but there is not one single post by anyone who was at it to say if it was good or not. Pity.

Arthur Lee died a relatively young man (61), and probably a lot younger than it needed to have happened, because of finances or whatever. That should not have been the case for someone who gave this amazing album to the world.

Yeah, 4/5.
 

prefuse

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I had a listen through yesterday (first time in ages) I really liked it. Forgot how acoustic based it was. Lots of sunshine pop, but darker (overcast pop?) and more depth. I like the baroque pop influence as well. I have a thing for 60's baroque/chamber pop.
It's quiet sophisticated in it's own way.
 

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