100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2006
My review for the remastered edition of the first Boston release, Boston (1976/r. 2006) is very similar to this one. Really, most people would consider Boston (1976) and Don't Look Back (1978) as an inseperable set. When put together they barely make the capacity of a standard compact disc (80 minutes). And, they are more alike than the slightly more exploratory Third Stage (1986).
I must begin this review with the same sentiments as I did the other one: If you don't like the band, nobody's asking you to listen to them. But in the name of God show some respect for the people who do. We don't go and badmouth your music; leave ours alone.
That aside, there is no need for me to go through each of the songs. After all, when one totals the sales of the first two Boston albums, one reaches an impressive 24,000,000 copies sold. There are artists today who will never sell that many albums if they released twenty different titles! Boston's albums were among the first to be transfered to the (then new technology) compact disc format. And it was a Boston album that became the first compact disc format release to reach the Gold (500,000 copies) standard. This just stands to prove the undying legacy of this band and these albums, as well as the reason I don't need to describe the songs. If you haven't heard them yet, you have simply not been on planet Earth for the past thirty years.
Which makes the fact that these albums haven't been remastered in 21 years very hard to believe. But then, Scholz always was notorious for taking his sweet time with things (remember the lawsuits for breach of contract?). I guess he just figured he would out-do himself in that department with these remasters. Actually, Tom himself hadn't even been consulted on the matter. He was rather upset at this, but rather than throwing things at the executives, his agent (and presumably his lawyers) asked Sony records very politely if Tom could make some nice 24-bit digital transfers of the first two albums and then handle the remastering himself. Obviously they agreed, and the fine item you are considering at this moment is one half of the result.
Don't Look Back (1978) was one of the most anticipated sophomore albums ever released. In all (to date) seven million copies have flown off the shelves, and though most people consider it slightly inferior to the first release, it has still received a great deal of airplay, and it has stood the test of time. Perhaps you already own some incarnation of the album (album, eight-track, cassette tape, or the original 1985 compact disc release), or maybe this will be the first copy you will be buying. In either case, my verdict stands: BUY IT NOW! DON'T HESITATE!
The remastering is what makes this album special. The original release is well-known for its substandard sound quality, and Tom Scholz himself is on record as having said that he couldn't listen to that edition of his album. Now he was finally granted a chance to craft the audio just as he brilliantly crafted 90% of all the songs and instrumental parts of Boston's music.
And he has risen magnificently to the task. His work on this and the Boston (r. 2006) release is stunning. And yet, as I said in my other review, the word that best describes the difference in sound between this release and the original release of Don't Look Back is subtle. It doesn't jump right out at you, but there is definitely an improvement. It might be hard to put into words just what's different, so I'll try and do that for you.
Having listened to the original releases of this and the first Boston album literally a few thousand times each, I can point out the major differences. Most noticible is the increase in overall volume that all new remasters enjoy. Nonetheless, it's very welcome. Next is the clarity and presence of the vocals: Brad Delp has never sounded better. No longer does his voice sound like it's underwater, or like it's had all the midrange frequencies notched. His words are clear and understandable, yet warm and pleasant. Typically high-range male vocalists suffer from poor remastering, and Brad was no exception. On Tom's remaster, however, you hear Brad as he was meant to be heard.
Overall, the bass frequencies have been tightened and cleaned up considerably, the midranges are vibrant and mellow yet distinct, and the high ranges are nice and clear without losing the warmth of a vinyl recording. Gone is the plethora of tinny, nasty treble that plagued the original edition of this album. Tom really knows what he's doing, because normally I would have found something wrong with the audio for which I would correct. I would not change a thing about what Tom did.
The final and most welcome change is the removal of all the artifacts from the original issue. All the piercing cymbal crashes, the siblants, and the painful Hammond organ percussive attacks (most noticible at the end of "A Man I'll Never Be") are utterly gone. The entire flow is smooth and rich as maple syrup.
Overall, this is a must-have supplement to Boston (1976/r. 2006). If you own every incarnation of this album, or if you've never bought it before, this remastered edition is for you. Don't think, just buy this and the Boston (1976/r. 2006) album at the nearest outlet (or, of course, from Amazon).
What are you still reading this for?! Get out there and buy!
P.S. I've heard quibbling about the lack of bonus tracks. While most new remasters include them, I wouldn't worry too much with this one. According to Tom, the live cuts Sony had on hand were very poor recordings. Tom has all the good ones, and he plans on releasing an entire live disc, complete with his signature remastering prowess. Just take heart in this and you'll be fine!
P.P.S. Since this review appears as a Spotlight review, it will be more visible than my other reviews for various albums. Therefore, I have to say the following out of respect:
R.I.P. Brad Delp, lead and harmony vocalist of one of the greatest classic rock bands ever. NOBODY will ever forget your talent or your contributions to music in general. You were one of my absolute favorite vocalists, and I consider you an inspiration. Many people do. More than you will ever know.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2005
The Boston album that followed the BIG first one. Don't look back gives the listener more of the same that you heard from the first effort except that Tom Scholtz wasn't given proper time to complete this opus. Side one took the man several years to complete and let me tell you..perfection is a word that comes to mind first. Side one flows together seemlessly and is sublime to hear. Sholtz's then modern sound still sounds fresh today because of the effort that was put into the crafting of the "perfect" sound. The Boston sound cannot be reproduced because it lives and dies with Tom Scholtz. One could compare side one of "Don't look back" to side two of the Beatles "Abby Road" in the perfection of song blending. Scholtz was forced to hurry production of side two to meet Epic's demand of a quicker follow-up to the band's first album, the result is an obvious difference in the quality of the arrangements of the songs. That being said, side two still has plenty to offer in quality, its just that side one was sooo perfect it renders side two as a bit of a letdown. A good party record (back in the day) but still worthy of crtical listening today. Scholtz and Co. caught plenty of flack from average fans because of his deliberate work ethic and unreal standards equating many a year between releases, but in the end (as "Third Stage" showed), the proof is in the final product, and as time has shown... haste makes waste. A often forgotten classic from the 1970s.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Don't Look Back was the follow up to what was at the time the biggest selling debut album in history. Boston's self titled debut was filled with arena rock anthems that featured a wall of guitars that inspired air guitarists everywhere. Don't Look Back follows that winning formula. The album doesn't contain the number of classics that the debut does, but it still pretty darn good. The title track is barrage of guitars that contains an explosive vocal from Brad Delp. "The Journey" shows off Tom Scholz's studio wizardry. "A Man I'll Never Be" finds the band treading into ballad territory to good results. "Feelin' Satisfied" is a burner while "Party" is just that a party of guitars. If you like guitars and lots of them, then this album will be to your liking. Alot of people liked this album as it became the band's first number one album in late 1978.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2005
1978 was an incredible year in music, if not the best ever. I can't remember a year that I remember more EXCELLENT music from. When it came to hard rock that year, no-one had the chops of Boston. The first time I heard it at a friend's house, I was just blown away! You see, I didn't own Boston's debut until I had Don't Look Back. So I have a bit of a different perspective to review this from. It's hard to compare the two albums, but I believe this one, I'll say, is my favorite of the two. Actually, I think the two would've made an incredible double set, but that didn't happen...so...
What I think makes this Boston's best effort is the fact that though it was rushed by Epic, it came out incredible! Many folks think 'side two' as it used be called was weak compared to 'side one'. I don't think so, unless of course you're referring to 'Used to Bad News' - the weakest song on the album, but not a bad one, by any means. I'll just say this: Don't Look Back starts out soaring and DOESN'T look back! What I mean is I have one of those CD players in my car that auto repeats the CD when it's done, and it's interesting...this CD starts out loud and dynamic, but just gets more and more powerful and dynamic all the way through, especially ending with "Don't be Afraid", which by the way is a great reprise of encouragement for "Don't Look Back". But when the CD begins again, it's much quieter than the ending. One thing I've noticed clearly is that "Used to Bad News" excepted, the guitar licks just keep getting more and more intense as the album progresses. It starts out powerful and majestic, but as it hits 'side two', the attitude shifts and the licks get more bluesy and definitely more hot, and clearly venture away from the 'let's repeat the riff' Boston formula which began on the first album and continued through the opening cut of DLB. Don't get me wrong, I like that approach at the end of the song, when the whole band fades and then the electric reprises the dominant riff in the song, to motor it up again, but if you do that all the time, it can get repetitive and possibly boring. Good thing Scholz' licks are as good as they are. But I do like that they venture away from that as DLB progresses and gets into some of the most amazing guitar interchange ever recorded - just listen to "It's Easy", "Party" and "Don't be Afraid" real close and try and play along if you're a guitarist...you better be good, this stuff is hot! Just imagine what it would've been like if Scholz and co. would've had more time. Another thing I like about this is that though I like the melodic leads that Boston most usually uses, there is a lot more free soloing on this album, but it NEVER loses it's melodic flavor.
Anyway, all that to say that EVERY time I listen to this CD, I get pumped! And, I'll say this, too that if you're the kind of person that expects the same stuff from a band every time they put out something new, you shouldn't be wasting everybody's time reviewing music. The only true way to review something is on it's OWN merits, and on that, Boston's first two efforts are their best, with Walk On a slightly distant third. Third Stage is pretty good in it's own right, but Corporate America mostly stinks.
However, Don't Look Back is the one Boston album that just fires me up time after time! The first three tracks all run together are 12 minutes of rock bliss, and some of the best 12 minutes of rock ever ran together! I once owned a bootleg live vinyl of Boston that was 30 minutes on each side and it was amazing what they did with it live! Something like 18 minutes and then went into a 10 minute version of More Than A Feeling! Anyway, my only dissapointment with Boston's first two discs is that there aren't remastered versions yet...man that would be awesome! But, hey it still sounds incredible...and it's freakin' great!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2005
Boston became an overnight sensation with their self-titled debut album (1976) which was one of the best selling albums of 1976 (as of this writing, it has sold over fifteen million copies and remains the best selling debut album of all-time). Needless to say, Epic wanted an immediate follow-up album to capitalize on the band's momentum. Not wasting any time, Tom Scholz, (guitar) Brad Delp, (vocals) Barry Goudreau, (guitar) Sib Hashian, (drums) and Fran Sheehan (bass) started work on their new album.
Released in 1978, the two year gap between the debut and the follow-up was considered a long wait. Despite working on the follow-up for two years, Scholz, always the perfectionists, was unhappy with the final result, especially the second half. He considered the album rushed and incomplete. Be that as it may, it was still a strong seller, debuting at number one on the billboard chart and yielding three hit singles, the title track, "Feelin' Satisfied", and "A Man I'll Never Be."
While "Don't Look Back" is overshadowed by the debut, it's still a fine album. It's essentially cut from the same cloth as the debut. The title track is more-or-less this album's "More than a Feeling," "The Journey" is this album's "Foreplay," "Party" is this albums "Smokin'" and so on. The downdraught semi-epic "A Man I'll Never Be" is probably the album's most ambitious song and the one track that separates this album with its predecessor. While "Don't Look Back" is more or less a carbon copy of the debut, it's not quite as strong. There isn't anything wrong with the album; the songs are catchy, the album is well-paced, there isn't any filler, the production is top-notch, it's just that compared to the debut, "Don't Look Back" plays second fiddle, in terms of memorable, great songs. Boston's debut is such a classic; it would be a hard, almost an impossible task, to try to top.
While "Don't Look Back" isn't the classic that the debut is, it's still a great collection of songs. And while Boston's music hasn't aged as well as some of their peers and is definitely dated, their good-time classic 70s brand of rock n' roll is certainly worth a spin now and again.
Why is this album out-of-print? What's up with that?
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2007
Listening to Boston: Boston and Boston: Don't Look Back is like taking a trip back in time. As a teenager in the late 1970's, Boston was the background music of our lives - along with Genesis, Kansas, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, Bob Seger, Alan Parsons Project...
But just listening to any of the songs from Boston's two defining albums takes me back. Boston's sound was distinctive, all their own. Brad Delp was the voice behind the band, and what a voice it was! Coupled with the soaring harmonies from the guitars of Tom Scholz, Boston had a sound all its own, a sound that will instantly transport you back to your teen years.
If you're getting to know Boston for the first time around, I recommend Boston and Don't Look Back. Beyond that, though, Boston's trademark classic rock sound is watered down by the intermittent usage of lesser lead vocalists and weaker material.
Boston and Don't Look Back are both perfect examples of what rock and roll used to be, before disco and rap. Boston is the definition of classic rock.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2006
I always get a kick out of people who come on this site and blast an artist. I have read such things as "a shadow of their
former selves, song writing not up to par, blah, blah, blah. How can anyone give an album as superb as this one any less than 5 stars? Has anyone listened to what passes as music in the 21st Century? Bob Dylan had it right a few weeks back when he said today's music is pitiful. Back to the second Boston album. The only problem I have with this album is it is too short! Whereas
the debut by Boston has great light/shade and bombast (in a good way) the second Boston album is one which is more of a steady ride. It also contains the best song Boston ever released "A Man I'll Never Be." Brad Delp shows incredible maturity in his songwriting on this album. The great guitar tones are back for a second appearance, there is nothing like the sound of a Les Paul with a bit of "sweetening". There is also a bit of keyboard which accents and never overshadows any of the tunes. Mr Scholz's production is again, like the debut, very well realized. Like the debut-10 stars!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2003
I have to agree with some of the reviewers here. This IS Boston's best album, imo, and has always been extremely underrated. Yes, I own all 6 of their albums, and I love them all for what they are worth, but this one is worth its weight in gold.
From 'Don't Look Back' to 'Don't Be Afraid', every song on this release is excellently done. I find it ironic that Tom Scholz has been quoted as saying that this is the least favorite of all his releases, but he was also quoted as saying that his favorite Boston song is on this album: 'The Journey'.
This album might as well be called 'Boston II', for several reasons. All of the music carries the same spirit as the first album, and with good cause. This was the last album in which the original members played (Delp, Scholz, Sheehan, Gordreau and Hashib), and it was the last album in which Scholz used the old Marshall/tube amps and power soak technology.
5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this album as required listening for any Boston fan. If you can get it on vinyl, the older, rawer sound or the original release before Scholz remastered it for CD is even better. I have this album on both formats.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2003
the follow up to boston's self titled album is my personal favorite. alot of peopledisregard this album because of its massive debut. being a hardcore boston fan, even enjoying their newer stuff, for beginners of the classic rock genre its self titled debut and this album are a essential to your collection. the later on albums are good but nothing compared to self-titled and this album especially. and this is the last album SIB hashian is fully on, he is undoubtley my favorite drummer.
dont look back: is a great song to jsut throw down your top and jsut drive to, its the classic boston sound that is so distinct from the guitar riff all the way to the echoeing vocals.
the journey: a boston signiture intro to a great song. i always skip over this track because theres not alot of excitement on this track with the guitar playing, and the followup to the intro is fantastic. perfect title, you feel like a journey as you listen to this.
its easy: one of the two personal favorites on this album. as the same as dont look back, a distinct boston sound which is undoubtly classic.
a man ill never be: an interesting ballad on the piano, you might think, this isnt boston until you hear the distinct slower guitar playing of tom scholz.
feelin satisfied: when you first hear the intro to this song your thinking, damn is this a mixup of rock n roll band? but then throughout the song, the use of handclapping is a boston signature. great song.
party: starts off kind of slow but then heats up with so many guitars, it is a classic arena style rock song. great.
used to bad news: another brad deelp song. this song is the latter of my facorite songs on this cd. one of those songs that everyone can relate to. brad delp songs are jsut classic with the tom scholz guitar touch is undoubtly boston.
don't be afraid: brad delp tears it up on vocals. another good feeling song about boston.
boston is one of those bands that when you listen to in a bad mood will bring up your day. my advice, throw down your top, with the wind blowing in your hair blast this album for its best affect.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've been a longtime Boston fan (who ISN'T?) and I bought their first record on cassette and literally wore it out after listening to it so often...yes, it is THAT good. But what does a band do to follow up one of the MOST successful debut albums of all-time?? Good question. Record exec's are notorious to strike while the music is hot...and if that means sacrificing the music and sometimes the ultimate success of the band, so be it. Ever notice how many people who win the Grammy for best new artist never go on to repeat their initial success? This is a perfect example of the sophomore curse in the music business... B-u-u-u-u-t Boston, although under pressure to get their next album out ASAP did an admirable job of producing a fairly good follow-up. But again, remember that their 1st LP was (and still IS) one of the greatest selling debut records in music history... comparing 'Don't Look Back' under those circumstances is totally unfair, and I have always maintained that Boston never received the respect they deserved.
From track #1 Boston never did 'Look Back' and they moved forward and I have to say that based on its OWN merits, is an above-average example of great rock & roll. Who can argue that 'A Man I'll Never Be' and 'Party' aren't great tracks that stand toe-to-toe with anything on their first album? How 'bout 'Feelin' Satisfied'? Listen again WITHOUT judging it against record #1 and you will be very surprised at how great this follow-up album really is. All I want is for folks to stop being so critical of a great rock band and ultimately a great CD.