Third / Sister Lovers Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
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Until THIRD, Big Star's sound was a hybrid of Anglo-pop and rough-edged '60s soul, the antithesis of the "progressive rock" trend of the period. Big Star distinguished themselves by foregrounding their dark side without sacrificing their pop appeal. Not only were they melodic, they were often disturbing.
Though THIRD (also known by the band's original title SISTER LOVERS) was released as a Big Star album, it is largely regarded as Chilton's solo effort. With Jody Stephens and producer Jim Dickinson, Chilton successfully conveyed to tape his wracked mental state -- torn by a girlfriend, abused by the music business, and doubtful of the future. It is an album of poetic depression, deservedly lauded for its honesty and brutal emotion. The album has appeared in numerous forms over the years, with confusing changes in song content and running order.
The rerelease of THIRD finally reconciles all of the album's material and sequences it with the use of the producer's notes from the sessions. Two cover tunes are unearthed for the first time: Their version of The Kinks' "Til the End of the Day" is a nod to Chilton's punk roots, while a cover of Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy" points in a very different direction. Excluded from many previous issues but solidly situated here is "Dream Lover," a lengthy and challenging track that Dickinson has called "the whole point of the album."
Top Customer Reviews
Fast forward to college, mid-90s: a friend stumbles on a copy of the Ryko "Sister Lovers" reissue and puts "Kangaroo" on a mix tape for me. I immediately assumed it was a cover that some contemporary indie band had done recently. Interesting and oddly familiar. Then my friend tells me it's Big Star, that this was the original version, and that it was recorded in 1974. Needless to say, my jaw dropped to the floor. This song sounded NOTHING at all like anything written or recorded in 1974. The feedback, the ultra-clear, wet, reverbed-out production, the singing, etc, ... A lot of revolutionary artists were making ground-breaking records in '74, from John Cale to Roxy Music to Brian Eno to Can to Faust, but none of it really anticipated this particular sound that so many bands would ape (sometimes without realizing it) in the 80s and 90s.
I soon got a copy of "Sister Lovers" and was immediately blown away by the seminal songwriting and arrangements. It was clear that bands like the Cocteau Twins took something from mellow, gorgeous, melancholic, atmospheric tunes like "Big Black Car," "Take Care," and "Holocaust.Read more ›
on its own, sister lovers is full of haunting and lovely material like "blue moon," "dream lover," and "nighttime" but when listened in context, keeping in mind the innocence and youthfulness of #1 record and the "we won't give up" mentality that permeates radio city, only then does this record reveal its harrowing true colors.
take chilton's "car" songs as an example. #1 record gives us "in the street," a youth anthem in which the characters spend much of their time happily driving around town in someone's car. radio city sees this changing for the worse with "back of a car," in which the "music's too loud" and the fun is dissipating fast as the innocence and youth seeps away. here, on sister lovers, there's "big black car," painful in its sorrow and melancholy, talking about driving around as if it's only a memory in the mind of someone who can no longer enjoy any facet of life, not even that which used to give so much; "nothing can hurt me" he says, but we don't believe him, "driving's a gas, it aint gonna last."
in context, third/sister lovers may very well be the most incredible document of giving up since the advent of sound. equally jaw-dropping and miraculous as #1 record and radio city. everything you've heard about big star is an understatement.
Although Big Star is thought of as the quintessential American power pop band, you would never know it from their third CD, which I will hereafter refer to as Sister Lovers, because I like that title better. Granted, the disc contains "Thank You Friends", which is in the tradition of their classic "September Gurls". (Neither of which are, in my opinion, as perfect as the greatest power pop song ever, "Shake Some Action" by The Flamin' Groovies, who are also a strong candidate for the quintessential American power pop band.) Apart from that, almost all of the songs on Sister Lovers are stark affairs, ones which stick in your head not because they are catchy but because they're haunting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just don't like this group. They went nowhere for a good reason - their music is totally forgettable.Published 7 months ago by Jeff Smith
Not much I can says that hasn't already been said. I think this is a great work; others may not like this kind of music. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ellm
I bought this totally because on the inner bio sleeve of the new Kevin Gilbert edition of "Thud" he sites Big Star -Third, as one of his favorite recordings. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Joe
A different direction, post Chris Bell. Alex Chilton picks-up the pace and drives this album. Great stuff!Published 19 months ago by Doctor BL
Great CD, as new condition, and super fast shipping. 6 stars!!!!!!Published 19 months ago by walter a.trenkle jr.