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The Original Soundtrack

Mercury 1029
Released: April 1975
Chart Peak: #15
Weeks Charted: 25

Lol CremeKevin GodleyGraham GouldmanEric Stewart10cc'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?

"Brand New Day" propounds a dreary dogma of ultimate futility, with Calvinistic undercurrents -- the general attitude can best be described as hopelessly pessimystic. The music, typically, is delicately pretty. "The Second Sitting for the Last Supper," a musical contrast and the closest thing to an out-and-out rocker, is a biting clever antireligious diatribe.

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.

Bonus Reviews!

I don't think 10cc is a rock band as such. I would guess that its members spend a fair amount of time writing until they hit on something they like. That done, they spend more time planning how to present it. This is rather like working on a script for a radio play, casting the parts with the appropriate actors, and deciding on what sound effects should be used.

Well, the album (their third) is smashingly good. I especially admire the lyrics and the ideas of several songs. From "Second Sitting for the Last Supper": "Another guru in the money/ Another mantra in the mail/ An easy way from rags to riches/ God's little acres up for sale." And this, from "Brand New Day": "The devil got you running everywhere, boy/ I smell cooking, and it might be you." And from "The Film of My Love": "A clapper board kiss/ There's an Oscar in this/ A hit or miss or whatever/ A box office wedding/ A premiére for two/ We'll be on location forever." That is the kind of writing you very seldom get nowadays. The arrangements and delivery are true to the material and walloping good. Few bands can plan as well as they can execute and vice versa. 10cc does both equally well, and you should hear them.

- Joel Vance, Stereo Review, 6/75.

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.

Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Album Review: 10cc

Album Review: Sheet Music

Album Review: How Dare You!

Single Review:
"I'm Not in Love"

10cc Lyrics

10cc Videos

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."

This leads directly into the kind of song you have come to expect from 10c.c. Called "Blackmail," it sounds as if it might have been written about the same time as the Sheet Music LP. The lyrics are funny and stupid and very good. It's a song about a papparrazzi photographer who decides to get into a little blackmail. He sends photos of a woman and her lover to the husband. Much to his dismay the husband thinks the photos are just "fabulous" and sends them off to Hefner who makes her a centerfold in Playboy. The centerfold gets her a part in the movies and she becomes a superstar. It's good fun and there's an excellent instrumental jam which proves just what excellent technicians 10c.c. are.

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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