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on December 22, 2012
Forever Changes is still one of my favorite albums, and it amazes me now how I keep going back to it, and how much I respect this highly original work of art. I believe that it is one of the best folk-rock albums of our era, and personally like it better than most albums of the past forty years. Like everyone says it fit the times perfectly: the summer of love, Viet-nam, psychedelics, long hair, blues and rock and all the rest. We forget how new all this was, how radical and different. Just a few years back people were listening to insipid pop music-- that is the white people were. Does anyone remember Bobby Rydel and Paul Anka? And like everyone else who adores the album it is a startling and dynamic mix of music and poetry. Mr Lee and his partner Bryan McLean wrote lyrics that were ahead of almost everyone else: enigmatic, lovely, revolutionary and with some vivid imagery that perfectly fit the passion, angst and turmoil of the times. Also amazing is how well this album has held up: it is still fresh and new! Most albums of the time are dated, sometimes embarrassingly so. Frankly I do not know how they accomplished this album at such a young age, Arthur Lee in his early twenties. I read the book about Love, and examined almost everything that has been written about them, and tried to understand what went into making this remarkable work of music. I have come to the opinion, right or wrong, that it was a surprising combination of people who were just right for the album and the time. Of course there was Arthur Lee who wrote most of the songs, his inspiration, poetic genius and musical sense, also the producer who I believe added the strings--which many people of the time scoffed at; they are beautiful and fit the album perfectly; the other members of the band who with the combined energy, and led by the fiery Lee, exceeded their talents: including the lead guitar player, Johnny Echols, Brian McLean who added a lyric gentler influence to the sound, and the others. What a joy it is, to listen to it. I remember the day I first heard it. I was a naive white middle class kid on the verge of great changes: about to plunge into the new world of the sixties. My friend Jack, who was in a fancy prep school, somehow heard of it. We were Easterners, and Love rarely played in the East. He played it for me in his room and I was enchanted. My taste in music, at the time, was pretty basic, though I loved the Stones and the Beatles, but this album Forever Changes touched something deep in my soul which has stayed me since. The band then broke up and Arthur Lee went into a long decline and never produced anything remotely as good. But he survived a prison term and came back to a glorious revival, for a few years before he died of cancer. He did it, he and his band mates: they created a masterpiece.
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on February 22, 2014
There was no other collection of songs that captures the essence of melancholy more perfectly than Forever Changes. This is not a happy hippie album, but an elegy of loss, alienation and death that is profound, strange, unsparing, hypnotic and unsentimental. It mesmerizes with its head-long plunge into the swirling blue abyss.

Consider these lyrics from You Set the Scene:

“This is the time in life that I am living, and I’ll face each day with a smile, for the time that I’ve been given is such a little while, and the things that I must do consist of more than style. There are places that I am going. This is the only thing that I am sure of, and that’s all that lives is gonna die. And there will always some people here to wonder why, and for every happy hello there will be goodbye. There’ll be time for you to put yourself on.”

The Doors would not have existed without the influence of Love and Arthur Lee and this brilliant album. Nor would Frank Black and the Pixies. Arthur Lee was the first artist who dared to be weird, to play with his lyrics, to add layers of complexity, to change melodies in the middle of songs, to continuously bombard his audience with the unexpected. It wasn't exactly commercial stuff, but it has endured.

I was fortunate--blessed actually--to see one of Arthur Lee's last performances with Love. You could tell that he was beaten down by life, but his spirit was indomitable.

"I don't know if I am living or if I'm supposed to be. Sometimes my life is so eerie, and if you think I'm happy..."

No one said it better or more universally, not even Morrisey.
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on March 29, 2014
A darker take or reflection of the times than what was being made in San Francisco...much like their counterparts the Doors another LA band they represented the dark underbelly of sunny California. The songs have a real east LA flavor due to the acoustic guitars & mariachi horns and the lyrics are cryptic and surreal. Like Jim Morrison, Arthur Lee had a strong death fixation when creating this music!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 22, 2015
After their West Coast 'Rock Music' self-titled debut album in July 1966 - LOVE progressed rapidly for Elektra Records to the more accomplished "Da Capo" in November 1966. But it was their third album "Forever Changes" released Stateside in late November 1967 (February 1968 in the UK) that fully realized the band’s songwriting magic and is the 'one' LP in their fractured canon of work that has stayed in people's hearts - even grown in stature.

Yet in the hallowed hindsight of 2015 it seems strange now to think of "Forever Changes" as a commercial disaster on its 1967 release - when for nearly three decades it has regularly topped the 'best albums ever' lists. In 2005 it was even given the prestige of true cult status by making the "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" book. Yet "Forever Changes" crawled onto the American charts – making it to a lowly No. 154 in the first week of 1968 (months after release) – worse than the No. 80 placing of "Da Capo" in February 1967. Over here in Blighty when it was belatedly released in February 1968 where it did far better – rising to 24 in that same month. Those canny Brits andmoreagain eh. Here are the 'movies from tomorrow'...

UK released October 2001 – "Forever Changes: Remastered & Expanded" by LOVE on Elektra/Rhino/Warner Strategic Marketing (R2 73537) 8122-73537-2 (Barcode 081227353728) is a single CD that offers the Stereo mix of the LP as well as seven bonus tracks (five Previous Unissued). It plays out as follows (74:22 minutes):

1. Alone Again Or
2. A House Is Not A Hotel
3. Andmoreagain
4. The Daily Planet
5. Old Man
6. The Red Telephone
7. Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale [Side 2]
8. Live And Let Live
9. The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This
10. Bummer In The Summer
11. You Set The Scene
Tracks 1 to 11 are their third album "Forever Changes" – released November 1967 in the USA on Elektra EKL-4013 (Mono) and Elektra EKS-74013 (Stereo) and February 1968 in the UK with the same catalogue numbers. The Stereo mix is used for this CD.

BONUS TRACKS:
12. Hummingbird (Demo) – Early Version of "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This"
13. Wonder People (I Do Wonder) (Outtake)
14. Alone Again Or (Alternate Mix)
15. You Set The Scene (Alternate Mix)
16. Your Mind And We Belong Together (Tracking Sessions Highlghts)
Tracks 12 to 16 are Previously Unissued

17. Your Mind And We Belong Together
18. Laughing Stock
Tracks 17 and 18 are the A&B-sides of a June 1967 US 7" single on Elektra EK-45633

There’s a tasty outer card slipcase which lends the whole release an air of class - while the substantial 24-page booklet has jam-packed liner notes by BEN EDMONDS with major contributions from David Housden and Mark Linn who publish the LOVE fanzines “The Castle” and “The Love Society”. There are photos of the band’s classic line-up – Guitars and Lead Vocals by ARTHUR LEE, Lead Guitar by JOHN ECHOLS, Rhythm Guitar and Vocals on "Alone Again Or" and "Old Man" by BRYAN MacLEAN, Bass by KEN FORSSI (ex Surfaris) and Drums by MICHAEL STUART (both MacLean and Forssi passed away in 1998). Inbetween the dense text (which includes quotes from original producer Jac Holzman and guitarist Johnny Eccles) are fantastic colour snaps of the boys in San Francisco and there's even a rare Billboard advert for the album describing it as ‘the third coming of’ under the see-through plastic tray. The liner notes discuss Bob Pepper's gorgeous 'coloured faces' psych-collage artwork too. It's all very pleasingly indepth...

But the big news is a new Remaster by two of Rhino’s most trusted names – DAN HERSCH and BILL INGLOT (done at Digiprep). Like “Love” and “Da Capo” in this series of reissues - this CD sounds incredible and has clearly had Audio care lavished on it. Producer JAC HOLZMAN and Engineer BRUCE BOTNIK have their original work Production work - come shining through now – especially on those lavish string and brass arrangements. There's also real bottom end clarity in the Bass and Drums – very warm and present on tracks like "The Daily Planet" and "Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale".

"Forever Changes" opens with the wonderful "Alone Again Or" voiced by Bryan MacLean. It’s short 3:16 minutes of beautiful string and brass arrangements were in fact edited for a US 45 in April 1968 on Elektra EK-45629 with "A House Is Not A Hotel" as the flipside (bit of a storming two-sider). Lee takes over Lead Vocals for the utterly brilliant "A House Is Not A Hotel" which opens with layered acoustic guitars but then breaks into left-speaker Electric Guitars. I've always loved the wild soloing guitars ripping across the speakers as strange voices whoop and holler in the background. I’m always amazed at the arrangements on "Andmoreagain" which to this day still sounds so 'Love' in a way that no other band could have produced this weirdly beautiful song (you can hear its influence in so much 70ts British Folk Rock like Decameron, Magna Carta and Audience). There's a real punch now to the rhythm sections for both "The Daily Planet" and "Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale" – while Bryan MacLean's delicate vocal on "Old Man" is almost quivering in its frailty – and those strings remind me of Nick Drake's "Five Leaves Left" debut in 1969.

"Live And Let Live" opens with the delightfully acidic lyrics "...oh the snot has caked against my pants...it has turned into crystal..." - and imagine the flattery his lady feels as sits on the couch opposite and he "...recognises your artillery..." More weird song subject matters come with "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This" – a ditty of a song that is trounced by the brilliant "Bummer In The Summer" – a fantastic song that sounds like The Lovin' Spoonful on a rhythm roll. The near seven-minute monumental finisher "You Set The Scene" feels like several songs run into one with brilliant Audio on the Bass, Strings and Acoustic Guitars. What an accomplished work...

The Bonus Tracks opens with a voice in the control room "...Arthur Lee and his Psychedelic Band – Track 16 – Are we rolling?" We then get "Hummingbirds" - a genuinely pretty acoustic instrumental take of "The Good Humor Man Sees Everything Like This" in Demo form. Just as good is the brassy "Wonder People (I Do Wonder)" – a jaunty track that would have made an excellent stand-alone single. The Alternate Take of "Alone Again Or" isn't that different from the finished article - but the 7:02 minutes of "You Set The Scene" has a different vocal arrangement deleted from the final album cut. The "...Michael Stuart this is your take..." version of "Your Mind And We Belong Together" turns out to starts and false starts from Take 22 through to 33 and offers a rare glimpse of Arthur Lee doing his best Brian Wilson in the studio. It finishes on the cool non-album single "Your Mind And We Belong Together" sounding edited and well - together - with the Doors-weird "Laughing Stock" on the B-side. "...Fred in bed and ride, ride, ride..." Whatever you say Arthur - yeah baby...

I suspect as the years pass music fans will keep on rediscovering this rich tapestry of sounds and melodies – and like "Sgt. Peppers" from months earlier in 1967 – "Forever Changes" is fast approaching a 50th Anniversary – and still remains shockingly ahead of its time. 60ts cool indeed – and well done to all at Elektra and Rhino for getting the Audio so beautifully right...
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on February 8, 2016
I'm sorry I sold my vinyl copy of this record. I hadn't played it in over 25 years. So I bought this CD and it brought back the memories of when I first heard it. I am amazed how the songs were instantly recognizable even after all that time. There are several really great songs here,; in fact IMO there are only good or better tracks. This album stands up very well, better than most from that era. Arthur Lee was an under appreciated genius.
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on August 4, 2014
One of the best albums from the 60's. Sort of obscure band- I didn't know about them until a few years ago. I'd rate this up there with Sargent Pepper's.

Great fan video here: http://youtu.be/_ZZhAoFokJw
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on March 16, 2014
Great music for listening to in the car. Good melodies and tunes that are more memrable than most of todays FM radio music.
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on May 7, 2016
It took me a while to come around to the realization, but I finally have, and am all the better for having had it.

Love's Forever Changes is a fascinating album which avoids all of the hackneyed themes of psychedelia, opting instead for a stream-of-consciousness, poetic feel. In order to truly appreciate this album, you've got to have an idea of what you're getting yourself into. Love isn't "in your face", and doesn't have an obvious message or theme. If Jefferson Airplane is the Louis Carroll of rock and the Velvet Underground is the Hubert Selby Jr., then Love is Marcel Proust. It's tough to "get into", but is really enjoyable and unique if you give it a chance.

Love's songs have no clear conclusions, i.e. "feed your head", "you better find somebody to love", no, none of that. What we have instead on this album is a sequence of rich, surrealistic atmospheres, all multi-layered and without any map to guide us through them. Forever Changes is an amorphous territory where mood and whimsy reign supreme.

Love's Forever Changes represents the perennial message of the hippie era, one that is impossible to commercialize (as sexuality and drugs have been) and difficult to communicate, which prioritizes openness to experience and freedom of expression above all else, not trading subjectivity for an objective world of pure bodily ecstasy (or renouncing this "progress", as "traditionalists" of every era have done), Love flows freely between these two boundaries, and offers its listeners a great deal of wisdom as to how to navigate them. Love is indeed forever changing, and it is always important to remember.
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on December 28, 2015
As others have said, this album is a bit of a masterpiece. But Love, or at least Arthur Lee, was their own worst enemy. Electra was very excited to promote Love and get them touring, but Arthur was difficult and, among other things, wouldn't leave California. There were also the usual drug issues and friction between band members. Elektra eventually gave up on trying and focused instead on another L.A. band, The Doors. Love fell apart after this album and Arthur just called whoever he was working with "Arthur Lee and Love." None of the incarnations were as good as the band that recorded this album. Arthur's songs after this period were hit and miss (in my opinion), but the occasional gem of a song can be found. It's so frustrating that they couldn't stay cohesive for a few more albums. No live recordings exist of the original line-up and they only appeared on American Bandstand, lip-synching for Dick Clark.
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on March 11, 2015
A well crafted album which has long been a critic's favorite. I finally bought it after hearing a few songs from it on satellite radio.
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