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I Am the Cosmos Original recording reissued

4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, February 21, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1.Better Save Yourself 2.You And Your Sister 3.I Am The Cosmos 4.Look Up 5.There Was A Light 6.Speed Of Sound 7.Make A Scene 8.I Got Kinda Lost 9.I Am The Cosmos [Slow Version] 10.Though I Know She Lies 11.You And Your Sister [Acoustic Version] 12.Get Away 13.Fight At The Table 14.You And Your Sister [Country Version] 15.I Don't Know

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The very first lines of Chris Bell's one and only album say it all: "Every night I tell myself I am the cosmos / I am the wind / That don't bring you back again." Recorded between his departure from the notoriously misbegotten power-pop group Big Star in 1972 and his 1978 death following an auto accident, Cosmos is the work of a man struggling to assuage his depression with spiritual succor. Musically, this collection (which was unheard by the general public prior to 1992) is reminiscent of John Lennon's '70s work. With the exception of Plastic Ono Band, however, Lennon never put out a solo album on a par with this one. The tragedy is that Bell never had a chance to try to match it. --Steven Stolder

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I Am The Cosmos
  2. Better Save Yourself
  3. Speed Of Sound
  4. Get Away
  5. You And Your Sister
  6. Make A Scene
  7. Look Up
  8. I Got Kinda Lost
  9. There Was A Light
  10. Fight At The Table
  11. I Don't Know
  12. Though I Know She Lies
  13. I Am The Cosmos (Slow Version)
  14. You And Your Sister (Country Version)
  15. You And Your Sister (Acoustic Version)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 21, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B0000009OD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,683 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Chris Bell Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For fans of Big Star, Chris Bell's `I Am the Cosmos' is a must have. Bell writes sugar-sweet love songs (Speed of Sound, You and Your Sister, Thought I Knew Her) with infatuating melodies that stand well against the best of Paul McCartney. Love lost is seldom heard with such despair. Of particular interest, `I Am the Cosmos' overwrites a beautiful melody with some ripping guitar chords emphasizing the composition's aura of futility.
The rockers (Get Away, Make a Scene, I Don't Know) remind me not so much of Big Star, but of John Lennon's rebellious Plastic Ono Band period: fiery but chaotic.
Those familiar with Big Star songs such as `The Ballad of El Goodo,' My Life Is Right,' Try Again' and `Give Me Another Chance' shouldn't be surprised with Bell's spiritual affirmations. `Better Save Yourself,' Look Up,' and `There Was a Light' clearly seek the heavens for inspiration.
I wouldn't rate `I Am the Cosmos' on par with Big Star's first two albums, but Chris Bell's influence on the band's majestic sound is profound.
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Format: Audio CD
Chris Bell was always the underappreciated half of Big Star - while critics and fans raved over Alex Chilton's intense, brooding pop songs (deservedly so), Chris Bell was somewhat lost in the shuffle. His songs are often chilling and desperate in the same mold as Chilton, but his voice is not quite as powerful or accessible as Chilton's - which never detracts from the songs. This CD is a worthy companion to the essential Big Star albums, and fortunately is widely available. Nothing here approaches the anthemic status of "In The Street" - Bell's one contribution to mainstream culture, from That 70's Show - but the more low key songs make this work well as a cohesive record.
Best Tracks:
"I Am The Cosmos" - Soul-searching, lonesome, and an all time power pop classic. Would have sounded just as good on Third/Sister Lovers.
"Speed Of Sound" - Runs a little long, but this emotionally fragile tune is one of the best on the CD.
"You And Your Sister" - Chilton's backing vocals and the sweeping arrangement make this one of the greatest love songs nobody has ever heard. Truly a keeper, in any of the 3 versions that appear here (they aren't TOO different, but all worthy).
"There Was A Light" - I'd describe this as George Harrison and Mitch Easter jamming on a soul-pop theme.
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Format: Audio CD
Many of the songs on this record will remind you of Big Star. But, you can tell from listening to Bell's style that he was every bit as important a member of the band as Alex Chilton. Chilton is often seen as the spotlight, but Bell's songs shone just as brightly. Here on this album, there are no Big Star songs, just Chris Bell solo. And we lost a great one when we lost him.

When I was a teenager (in the early '90s), I first heard the album "Blood" from This Mortal Coil. On it, they cover "You and Your Sister" from this album. I saw that it was written by Chris Bell, but I had yet to learn about Big Star. Eventually my fanaticism with Paul Westerberg led me to Alex Chilton and company. I listed to that song over and over again.

Now with this Chris Bell release, I can listen to three different versions of it! And each one is worthwhile. No overkill, no filler, this is a solid record.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I initially wasn't going to buy this new edition of I Am The Cosmos,
having finally picked up the original Rykodisc 1 CD release of the album
that dates back to 1993 and this being a rather pricey Rhino Handmade
edition, but ended up not being able to resist, being
the massive Big Star and Chris Bell fan that I am, and realizing how
much extra material was included I realized it was well worth the investment
and so right was I!! This a simply gorgeous reissue, complete with a lovely
booklet with great rare photos and some nice essays on Chris by
his brother David and other folks, and a run-down of the origins and
differences in the alternate and demo tracks on disc 2. Plus I think the whole
thing sounds even better than the original Ryko album edition,
which already sounded fine but this sounds even cleaner and more powerful
of a remaster.

I think the whole thing is essential and particularly if you're
a dedicated Big Star and Alex Chilton fan you'll likely want to add this to your
collection. I haven't stopped playing it since it arrived and I was already
playing the Ryko CD constantly so it just augments what was already available.
I don't have a least favorite song, they're pretty much all great, and the whole
thing grows on you over time even the alternate versions of tracks like "Speed of Sound"
or "Fight at the Table" or "Better Save Yourself."

Also realized the price isn't that high considering all you're getting and the gorgeous
packaging and loving care with which this reissue was executed. Hats off to Rhino, Ardent,
the Bell family, everyone involved in getting this masterpiece released!
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Chris Bell (along with Alex Chilton) formed the critically praised, but commercially unsuccessful, group Big Star in the early 70's. Bell left the group during the recording of their 2nd album. He recorded many demos for a planned solo album that never saw release during Bell's lifetime (he died in a 1979 motorcycle accident). This CD brings together Bell's recordings with touching liner notes by his brother. "I Am The Cosmos" is the song that gets most of the praise and it certainly is a powerful piece of work, but my personal favorites are "Look Up", a beautiful and highly spiritual ballad, and "You And Your Sister" an acoustic pop masterpiece which reunites Bell and Chilton. Bell also proves he can rock on "Got Kinda Lost" and "Fight At The Table". The remainder of the songs are competent, but meander a bit in places, which is what causes me to give a 4-star rather than a 5-star rating. Nevertheless, while many rockers tend to get vastly over-rated in death (Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur to name a few) Chris Bell remains virtually unknown except to a fortunate few. I strongly recommend that you purchase this CD. I am confidant that your purchase will make you a member of the small, but expanding, circle of Chris Bell fans!
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