Capitol ST 11329
Released: October 1974
Chart Peak: #143
Weeks Charted: 6
The Raspberries have at last realized their potential. They've clearly become the premier synthesizers of Sixties pop influences extant. Even more importantly, the end results of their adroit collages of musical knowledge often equal or surpass their models' original creations.
As illustrations there are two perfectly astonishing tracks on Starting Over. "I Don't Know What I Want" is the ultimate Who tribute, a superbly integrated pastiche of Who styles, 1965-71. Fragments of Townshend melodies surface here and there, and Eric Carmen's vocal is an uncanny Roger Daltrey imitation. Yet the song stands on its own merits as a modern teenage frustration classic.
Starting Over is still not the ultimate Raspberries triumph, but its highest points are as lofty as any heights rock music '74 has scaled.
- Ken Barnes, Rolling Stone, 10/24/74.
I don't quite believe it myself, but this really does it -- brings the middle '60s into the middle '70s. Full of great singles for a singular time, which obviously doesn't mean this one. Two secrets. First, Scott McCarl is the big bad John they've always needed to compliment Eric Carmen's supersweet Paul. Second, a vague concept (just like Sgt. Pepper!) adds dimension to several otherwise minor tracks. Highlights: "All through the Night" (Eric as Rod the Mod), "Hands on You" (drumless John-and-Paul takeout), and "Overnight Sensation" (about being in it for hit records rather than money, which is what I call a concept). A-
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
The band's last album is something of a disappointment, much louder and punchier than their previous work but lacking the elegance that characterized their overall sound. None of the songs is bad, and some are quite good, but they sound like they're going through the motions at this point, and they did break up soon after. Starting Over was selected as Album of the Year in the 1974 Rolling Stone Critics Poll. * * *
- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
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