y the mid-'70s, rock music was beginning to show its age. For the first time since its invention, rock was being created by musicians who never knew a time when there was no such thing as adolescent-based music. Interestingly, instead of maintaining this youthful liveliness, the musical form matured as steadily as its practitioners. Rock was twenty years old, and so was the median age of its largest audience.
A factor that contributed greatly to rock music's maturation was the technological development of the recording process.
10cc came to the attention of the record-buying public well after this technology was established, and they took it to its logical extreme. The members' backgrounds as art-school graduates and professional songwriters combined to give them an insider's perspective on the industry, as well as a studiously wry view of pop music history. Knowing full well that rock and roll was no longer as innocently naive or as waif-like as it once was, they set out to embellish pop music with intricately clever and self-absorbed musical parodies. They possessed the technical talents and the recording experience to produce their own work, and layered their music with lyrically self-conscious metaphors.
This confusing yet clever modus operandi made it possible to interpret their songs from a number of different angles. From one angle, "I'm Not in Love" is a beautifully crafted song that captures a scorned lover in a state of tormented denial. From another angle, the song is a parody of itself, mocking the extroverted romanticism of the lush recording. Emotionally engaging or coolly farcical, the literate wordplay and impeccable production allow these alternate impressions to exist.
Just as 10cc seemed ready for a huge commercial breakthrough, two of its four members decided to jump ship. Lol Creme and Kevin Godley had been moonlighting, working on a multipurpose guitar effect that they called the "gizmo," until it began to overtake most of their working hours. What had begun as a 45 RPM demonstration disk evolved into a triple album (in perfect mid-'70s fashion), forcing them to leave the band. Remaining members Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart were determined to continue, and they achieved success with commercially viable but less artful releases, such as "Things We Do for Love." Meanwhile, Creme and Godley continued as a duo with a series of thoroughly artful but commercially hopeless albums. They eventually evolved into video producers of the highest order and had a moderate hit in 1985 with a song called "Cry."
- Thomas Ryan, American Hit Radio, Prima Entertainment, 1996.
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