Friday, 1 February 2008
Don't you love their album covers? There's variety and colour in monotony. Anyway, one of the very first albums I bought was Chicago II. At that time, jazz rock was a rather new concept to me. Also, it was a novelty then to find double albums. But somehow, I had listened to Chicago's first hit single, Make Me Smile, and I liked it. And when I discovered that this song was actually part of their Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon from this album, I knew that I had to have it.
Their first album, Chicago Transit Authority, was my second purchase. I remember that I spent so much time in deciding whether to buy it or not, but I'm glad I did. It was one of the best rock albums that I had listened to.
Chicago IV was actually four vinyl records in one package. A live album recorded at the Carnegie Hall in New York. And as the years went by, I added their albums one-by-one to my collection.
But though I kept buying their albums almost as they appeared in the Malaysian market, except for the ninth album which was a Greatest Hits compilation, I knew that sooner of later I would have to stop buying them because of the group's change of musical direction. I was disappointed. I liked the rock music they played but after the death of Terry Kath, Chicago's music had turned contemporary and soppy. Even if they had gone off on a jazz-tinged tangent like on their seventh album, I would be happy. Chicago X became the last straw. Reluctantly, I decided that enough was enough.
Unfortunately, I could not completely exorcise the ghost of Chicago. My final purchase was of their four-CD compilation, Group Portrait. When you listen through the four CDs, it's a musical journey through time with Chicago. Of course, the set does not do justice to everything they've ever played but for anyone who is just starting to appreciate the music, this set is better than most other Greatest Hits albums in the market today. You'll thrill over Chicago's hard-rocking early days and experience them degenerate into today's middle-of-the-road, soppy stuff.