The Original Soundtrack
Released: April 1975
Chart Peak: #15
Weeks Charted: 25
10cc's Original Sountrack is a fascinating record. Musically there's more going on than in ten Yes albums, yet it's generally as accessible as a straight pop band (though less so than the two preceding 10cc LPs). Lyrically 10cc pose an alternative to timeworn lovelorn laments or tortuous interior monologs: They deploy cliches for multilevel effect and utilize hyperbole and parable intelligently.
This is their most ambitious LP, marking a significant extension of their previous pop-styled stance. "Une Nuit a Paris," for instance, is a three-part scenario featuring almost a dozen sordid characters (the band's limitless vocal range comes in handy), done with appealing melodies and a sinister, seedy atmosphere -- the two elements entirely compatible to 10cc.
"I'm Not in Love" is a shimmering romantic ballad (the equal of anything done recently by the Beach Boys) with a cruel cutting edge. The singer dashes the hopes of his paramour in no uncertain terms -- or is it a coverup, a sendup or both?
Though in general the album is a listening delight, I've got scattered reservations about it. The music often becomes schizoid, changing to keep pace with the lyrical wizardry, until sometimes I'm tempted to file it away with Sparks records under Cleverness and forget it. But there's reallly much more substance here. 10cc is among the few groups actively engaged in stretching rock's restrictive boundaries in a constructive and meaningful manner, without fallling prey to pretense or excess.
- Ken Barnes, Rolling Stone, 6/19/75.
For almost two years now 10c.c. have been topping critics' polls around the world. I imagine the tension must have been incredible for them when they went in to cut this album. Their last album, Sheet Music, has just gone gold in England and, let's face it, it was such an incredible album that it's a hard thing to top. This is 10c.c.'s third album. It is not as terrible as the English critics led me to believe it was going to be... but it is certainly not everything I prayed it might be.
Let's start with the positive stuff. I favor this band and I don't want to say anything nasty about them, even if it is constructive criticism. "I'm Not In Love," which sits right smack in the middle of Side One, is the best track on the album. Hopefully it will be released as an American single. Written by Graham Gouldman (who wrote "Bus Stop" and "For Your Love") and Eric Stewart (a former Mindbender), it has a haunting quality which one rarely finds outside the perimeter of Paul McCartney albums. Beautifully performed by Eric Stewart, it gracefully builds without every peaking. The lyrics, though sung straight enough, possess that slightly sick humor 10c.c. are so famous for: "I keep your picture on the wall/ it hides a nasty stain that's lying there."
Sadly, there are six other songs on this 10c.c. album. All of them are over four minutes long and some of them are rather diabolical. Side One opens with a nine minute long mini-operetta called "One Night in Paris." As they say, "One Night in Paris will wipe the smile off your face." It certainly wiped the smile off mine. And I cannot ignore the abysmal "Life Is A Minestrone" with those immortal lines "life is a minestrone/ served up with parmesan cheese/ death is a cold lasagne/ suspended in deep freeze."
There have been times in my life when I would have willingly followed 10c.c. to the ends of the earth... I still will because I love them and their music very much. It's just that, with all their talent and wit and technical skill, I wanted so much more. Next time please?
- Janis Schact, Circus, 6/75.
There are some very nice sounding songs here. The atmospheric "I'm Not in Love" was a worldwide hit. "Brand New Day" and "Second Sitting for the Last Supper" are highlights, but extended pieces like "Une Nuit Á Paris" come off like art-pop for the terminally cute. * * *
- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
The fact that it contains 10cc's biggest hit isn't the only reason to grab The Original Soundtrack. A solid effort top to bottom, it showcases the band at its literate best, including "The Second Sitting for the Last Supper" and the quirkily metaphorical "Life is a Minestrone." * * * * 1/2
- Gary Plochinski, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
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