The Alan Parsons Project
Released: June 1977
Chart Peak: #9
Weeks Charted: 54
Certified Platinum: 10/25/78
I Robot is a blood banquet for automatons that is infused with the airy, romantic sentimentalism of pop music. The contradiction works well up to a point: it takes the coldbloodedness out of the synthesizer's greasy moan and adds a bit of humanism to it. But the final result is a tantara for the ultimate sensuality of the technocratic brat and his hardware.
Most scaramouchs of the synthesizer tend to become a bit overbearing simply because they lack an honest understanding of machine texturing -- a kind of understanding that Eno, Lou Reed and Philip Glass have turned into exciting excursions into the soul of modern music. Not so with Parsons, perhaps because he arranges and produces the damn things instead of playing them.
The most infectious track is "Day after Day (The Show Must Go On)," a spontaneous excursion into optimism and urban boredom.
What all this boils down to is that I Robot is a rose amid the concrete gray of the Metropolis.
I might agree that the way this record approximates what it (supposedly) criticizes is a species of profundity if what it (supposedly) criticized was schlock. As it is, the pseudo-disco makes Giorgio Moroder sound like Eno and the pseudo-sci-fi makes Isaac Asimov seem like a deep thinker. Back to the control board. C
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
The Alan Parsons Project was established as a top record-seller with I, Robot, their second album. Musically, the record continued the ideas of their debut. Thematically, the record was an exploration of the science-fiction concept of a world run by machines and mechanized human beings, particularly robots. * * * *
- David Jehnzen, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
I Robot is the penultimate Parsons Project album. In hindsight it's a little thin on songs, though the hit single "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You," "Some Other Time" and "Breakdown" made for a strong early album set. But put the headphones on while you're listening, and you'll understand why it worked. * * * *
- Gary Graff, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
The engineer of Dark Side of the Moon did his own thing here with collaborator Eric Woolfson and it was indeed a project. Something original, fusing an orchestra, progressive rock and pop laced with science-fiction themes, this work of studio art was totally radical for its time, with cinematic, crisp, clear production and slick musicianship -- in sum, good head music that was ponderous man, ponderous. * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
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