Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Justifiably Lost

I've spent the morning listening to Rhino Records' deluxe repackaging of the Bee Gees' Odessa - complete with stereo and mono mixes and a disc of demos and sketchbook versions of the songs that would become Odessa. The thrust of the liner notes is that it's an overlooked masterpiece, and here's one person who agrees.

Me, I hear the 1969 album and hear a band living sadly and belatedly in the shadow of the Beatles, and there's no song here as good as anything on Sgt. Pepper, nor is there a song here as good as "Holiday" or "Lonely Days." It's all mannered performances and average ideas, with only its ambition to distinguish it. It's likeable and certainly loans itself to the contrarian impulse to salvage the reputation of a "lost classic," but like so many lost classics, Odessa requires you to overlook some rather obvious flaws to agree.

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