Third / Sister Lovers
Audio CD | Reissued, Remastered
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By the mid-'70s, Alex Chilton's glistening pure-pop group Big Star had hit the rocks, ignored by the public and beset by internal problems. Chilton, backed mostly by session musicians playing both rock and chamber-music instruments, responded with this wracked, bizarre collection of deeply personal songs, venting oblique visions of terror (the much-covered "Kanga Roo" and "Holocaust"), sarcastically envisioning an imaginary circle of supporters ("Thank You Friends"), and covering the odd rock & roll classic in his messed-up teen-idol voice. The album was eventually abandoned and released in unfinished form years later, but the weird gaps in its arrangements make it even stranger and more powerful. --Douglas Wolk
From the Label
Finally, the definitive version of the stunning THIRD album from this seminal band; resequenced to Alex Chilton's and producer Jim Dickinson's original intentions, with two previously unreleased tracks.
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."