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Articles Home » 2013 Articles » Boston - 2013 Life, Love, Hope
Boston - 2013 Life, Love, Hope

ARTIST: Boston
ALBUM: Life, Love, Hope
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2013
SPONSOR: Frontiers Haulix Portal


LINEUP: Tom Scholz - guitars, bass, keyboards, organ, drums, lead, backing and harmony vocals * Gary Pihl - guitars, keyboards, harmony vocals * Kimberley Dahme - flute, lead vocals, harmony vocals * Tommy DeCarlo, Brad Delp, David Victor, Louis St August, Jude Nejmanowski - lead vocals, harmony vocals * Curly Smith - harmonica * Beth Cohen, Jeff Neal - harmony vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Heaven On Earth * 02 Didn't Mean To Fall In Love * 03 Last Day Of School * 04 Sail Away * 05 Life, Love, Hope * 06 If You Were In Love * 07 Someday * 08 Love Got Away * 09 Someone (2.0) * 10 You Gave Up On Love (2.0) * 11 The Way You Look Tonight



Well here it is. The latest Boston album, one which is being getting a bit of a hammering long before official release date. Given that this band is one of the principle drivers of this website, we're always interested in what main-man Tom Scholz has to offer musically. If you've read the latest 'Classic Rock Presents.. AOR - issue 10', there is an article on Tom, Boston and a prelude to this album. It's quite clear from reading the article that Tom admits he's a bit of a control freak in the way he wants Boston's sound to be created. Fair enough, and at least he's old-school enough to keep things as analog as possible. He probably wouldn't get a job as a label producer in the vein of Alessandro Del Vecchio or Denis Ward. A 7 year average turnaround for an album is far too long me thinks! One thing I will say, LLH retains the trademark Boston sound, no qualms there. They are on the softer side, but the change-up of lead singers really makes it a hard-sell in terms of overall consistency. Also, the songs are all over the place. It's like a cobbled set of tunes without having any structure. Perhaps the last word on the album-title 'hope' is a harbinger of sorts?

The Songs
The lead singer roles are spread across the disc. David Victor, the late Brad Delp, Kimberley Dahme, Tommy DeCarlo and even Scholz himself.

I quite liked the opening 'Heaven On Earth' featuring David Victor. It sounded a bit like 'Holly-Ann' in parts, though Victor's vocal was a notch lower in pitch. He sounds a tailor-made replacement for the late Brad Delp.

'Didn't Mean To Fall In Love' was written a few years back with Scholz, Delp and Fake ID's Janet Minto. This one has some moments that were unexpected, like the soaring organ and guitar riffs. Yes, I could listen to this on repeat play for a bit.

Scholz adds an instrumental 'Last Day Of School' to the playlist. Quite why I'm unsure as this adds nothing to my interest level. A cross against this one.

'Sail Away' is not the Styx chestnut, and the confusing arrangement which sees Delp and Dahme sharing lead vocal doesn't help matters either. I think this is a war song, but the sentiment doesn't convince. Plus the drum mix is dreadful!

Tommy Decarlo (the bloke from MySpace) handles the lead for the title track. Sure, the Boston trademark sound is intact, but the arrangement is as boring as anything. Is this the result of sitting in a recording studio for a decade? Oh dear.

The less I say about 'If You Were In Love' the better. An awful tune, essentially Scholz on all instruments and Dahme on all vocals. Oh dear part two.

So too 'Someday'. Could this be oh dear part three? You bet. What is going on here? A harmonica from Curly Smith as a solo. Oh no..

Scholz does just about everything on 'Love Got Away', with Pihl on backing vocals. Tom, you probably should've left the singing to someone else mate, sorry to say. I like the arrangement though, I'll give you that much.

'Someone' and 'You Gave Up On Love' both featured previously on 2002's 'Corporate America'. I was quite kind on that review, and fair enough to Tom that he wanted to give these a reboot. Though at the end of the day, I'm sure long suffering Boston fans would've enjoyed two new songs instead.

'The Way You Look Tonight' finishes the CD, and unfortunately this one drifts in and out of one ear. You know, I can't quite see what Scholz sees in Decarlo as a singer. I'll say the same about Kimberley Dahme too. No appeal whatsoever.

In Summary
It's a shame that LLH is getting shot down all over the Internet. The problem is: the quality that went before is an automatic expectation for what comes next. In effect, Tom has made a rod for his own back. Quite how it took 11 years for Scholz to come up with such an ordinary set of songs defies belief. Considering he is on the downward side of 60, I think it's time for Tom to get out of the basement, and go and live a little. Perhaps a beachside hut in Tahiti might do the trick. Whatever the case, I think it's time to leave the Boston legacy alone now. Enough is enough.

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#1 | Eric on December 08 2013 19:09:30
I always thought the Boston legacy should have been left after 'Third Stage'. Like most of us here (i think) this band was a huge influence on me (and my first concert) and like Styx and Journey have become a pale shadow of what was once a record-breaking musical powerhouse. Sad.
#2 | richardb on December 08 2013 19:28:49
Refreshing to see once again there is a sense of perspective here which you would be hard pushed to find on any other similar websites dedicated to the AOR/melodic rock genre.

Much as it pains me to say this it does appear that Scholz has become creatively bankrupt. Corporate America was patchy at best and yes George you were too kind!.

Surely he doesn't need the money anymore, perhaps he should confine his musical activities to the occasional BBC interviews?. Certainly there's a case for it, judging by this latest album..

thumbs down
#3 | reyno-roxx on December 11 2013 21:02:35
I thought 'Corporate America' was bad..
#4 | gdazegod on December 11 2013 21:50:42
It was Dave. I just wrote about it in a 'kindly' bad sort of way.. lol!
#5 | DEMONAOR on December 12 2013 14:38:39
I agree with Eric that he should have quit after Third Stage. The new album do suck big time.
#6 | reyno-roxx on December 12 2013 18:46:59
George, what I meant was this album is just as horrible...  no
#7 | AOR Lee on December 16 2013 05:21:40
Even the completist in me can't justify buying this. A sad but necessary eulogy George, RIP Boston, arguably the originators of AOR
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