Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Classic Album Review: Supertramp - Famous Last Words, a great Album ending one of the finest songwriting collaborations of all time

The last (7th) studio album collaboration by Supertramp's original singer/songwriter team of Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson is a fine pop album which is unfairly criticised as not delivering the same quality of music as their previous four classic rock productions. This criticism is however not warranted for a variety of reasons. It is a fine album with almost every single song worthy of a listen. The main point which however makes this album a classic is the meaningful if melancholic lyrics which puts both Roger and Rick amongst the greatest rock lyricists of all time.

The album was nevertheless written under difficult circumstances:

1. The album was written at the height of personal tension between Roger and Rick (and reportedly their respective wives who were not best of friends). For the first time they wrote and recorded their own songs in separate studios without any face to face collaboration. (although Roger has since claimed that this was always the case and he gave songwriting credit to Rick for many of the songs he had written over the years by himself)
2. This was a typical "under pressure" follow up album to the chart topping and 15m+ selling "Breakfast in America".
3. Whilst undoubtedly this album has a pop focus, it still remains a fine album with a classic rock edge.
2. The lyrics in songs such as "C'est Le Bon", "Waiting for so long" and "Know who you are" are in the "must Listen to" category of rock lyrics. They are amongst the greatest Supertramp lyrics of all time and as profound and meaningful as rock lyrics can ever get.

This album is not initially as easy to listen to as e.g. Breakfast in America. However, both the melodies and the lyrics become more and more meaningful with further listens.

Neither Roger Hodgson in his solo career afterwards, nor Supertramp without Roger managed to reach anything close to the success level of Supertramp up to and including Famous Last Words, yet again another case of lost synergistic creativity. although Roger Hodgson has managed to write and produce some fine songs and great lyrics for his solo albums.

I highly recommend this album to all Supertramp and classic rock fans.
My Rating Rating: ***** (5/5)