George Starostin's Reviews



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Knut Ramsrud (16.01.2004)

It's finally time to contribute to the excellent site that I've been checking out for a good four years now. I more or less agree with the 10cc reviews, although I wouldn't be that harsh on the eighties albums (they're boring me to death, but at least I'm not annoyed by them!). A few things need to be corrected though. My CD sleeves tell me that the one instrument that Kevin Godley never seemed to touch was the bass guitar. Kevin was always the drummer, making regular cameos as lead vocalist. Lol Creme's main instrument seems to have been keyboards. Gouldman was usually the bassist, whereas mr. Stewart played the guitar. But then, all of them were multi-instrumentalists, frequently changing instruments. And of course, all taking their turns as lead vocalists. [This has been corrected - G.S.]
When it comes to the two comeback albums, calling it a reunion of the original quartet is a huge exaggeration. Godley&Creme were not involved in the creative process at all, except for dropping by to add their vocals to a couple of tracks on Meanwhile. The record is 99% pure Gouldman and Stewart.G&C never appeared at all on Mirror Mirror. Eric Stewart describes the reunion as a purely financial arrangement that should never have happened. On Meanwhile the use of studio musicians was way to extensive, and by the time Mirror Mirror was recorded, the two remaining band members were not on speaking terms, recording individually, and hardly meeting at all. Checking out the websites of the two gents in questions reveals that the mutual feelings are far from amicable at the moment, ruling out any immediate thoughts of another reunion.


Ben Greenstein (28.11.2000)

Short comments? On these guys? This band is honestly the most fabulous group I have heard in a long time. Quality hooks, on almost every song! How people can stand up for McCartney's solo shite when a band like this is out there is beyond me. As for the debut album, the first side is all incredible - "Speed Kills" sounds like Yes doing a disco blues number. "Sand In My Face" is kind of annoying, though, and the second side does have some filler (except for "The Dean And I" and "Headline Hustler," which are fantastic!), so I could only give this a really high 8/10. But what a high eight!!!!!!

<> (01.05.2001)

Art Rock. Isn't that what 10cc is all about? This first album had some primal rhythms that struck a cord with my then-15-month-old daughter. As "Headline Hustler" started to play one day, she immediately smiled and started doing the butt-shimmy on the floor to the beat - a first. This band was too short-lived and very talented. WAY ahead of their time. Smart lyrics, great instrumentals and primal rhythms - they have (had) it all. Give them a 10!


Ben Greenstein (28.11.2000)

Perfect! Man, what a great album! Comedy, my ass - while some of the songs are sort of tounge-in-cheek, there are some really gorgeous (and, in my opinion, kinda dark) tunes on here. "Somewhere In Hollywood," for example - that song has a better melody than anything on Pet Sounds, and I'll go on record saying that. "Silly Love" and "Wall Street Shuffle" are classic pop tunes that deserve to be a lot more famous than they actually are. Every song on here is great! "Baron Samedi!" "Worst Band In The World!" "Hotel!" "Oh, Effendi!" "The Sacro-iliac!" There is no excuse for not owning this perfect album. A perfect 10/10.

Tim Blake (04.08.2006)

I've had Sheet Music by 10cc for a while now. And...well, I don't think it is actually a very good album. I think the main thing is that the majority of the 'songs' are sort of 'pastiches' on other styles of music...mocking parodic experiments that are slapped together with such violence and disregard for good taste they'll make you accidently ingest your eyeballs in disbelief. Which isn't to say these pocketbook-pop joke songs don't work, they are definitely funny and interesting, I just think the whole 'music' element suffers terribly from it. I can only listen to songs like 'Hotel', 'Clockwork Creep', 'Baron Samedi', 'The Sacro-Iliac' and the like in a comedic capacity, because musically they are all ridiculous.
These things said, even if it doesn't quite mesh together as an album (coming off more as a musical montage, or collage, or skitzophrenic parody), it still contains some truly outstanding music. 'The Wall Street Shuffle' must be one of the best rock songs I've heard. It has a magnificent sweep and power to it...I'm enthralled by the 'Oooo Howard Hughes, did your money make you better?' bit. So true. And the song just thumps like nothing I've heard. The whole thing perfectly captures the corporate wheeling and dealing imagery, and most of all through the music itself! It just sounds curt, professional and impersonal...all qualities of Wall Street itself 'The Worst Band In The World' has a cool atmosphere and (slightly obscure) groove. That mid-section with the roady dumb! Next is a big string of further parody tracks...'Hotel' is kind of neat, and 'Yan-kee go home! Yan-kee go home!' is, admittedly, ball-breakingly hilarious. 'Old Wild Men' is one of the few tracks that sounds like an actual song, and benefits from that, but it's relatively limp and bland. Not bad overall. 'Clockwork Creep' irritates me alot for some reason, I think it's that dumb mid-section, and the far too smug vocal delivery.
Now, finally! 'Silly Love'! Holy CRAP! What a goddamn song. Everything about it is perfect...alongside it's fellow masterpiece 'Wall Street Shuffle' these two tracks form the dual 'centerpieces' of this album. The lyrics are so damn awesome. The song itself is a monster metallic groove with a crushing chorus, dancing guitars, and an utterly, utterly brilliant midsection. Is it just me, or is...'Ooooo you know the art of conversation must be dyin'. Ooooo when a romance depends on cliches and two-chays and three-pays', and then laugh, BAM kickass guitar about the best moment in music, ever? There's that exaggeration again, but really. Then 'and we rely on Crosby's crooning, take a little time, make up your own rhyme, don't rely on mine...because it's SSSSHHHHHH SILLLY!'. Well, George said it.
The rest of the album is alright, I mean the songs besides 'Wall Street' and 'Silly Love' all have things to offer. They're funny, messed up, parodic little ditties with like, 20 ideas crammed into their short running times. Which is fine, because I like 10cc's quirky funniness, it's just I think How Dare You? works way better as an album. As far as being their quintessential album, I think Sheet Music is. The reason being that all their major elements are included in almost equal parts, but 10cc cover SO MANY areas in general that doing this makes for a supremely cut and paste experience. It is not consistent enough in my opinion. How Dare You? seems to focus more on song-writing and melody, so I prefer it...while still throwing in some bizarre madness.


Ben Greenstein (28.11.2000)

For me, a disappointment. They sound more serious here, with less of the stunning songcraft. The opening suite is a good example - while I think it's fantastic, it's certainly nothing compared to the heartbreaking hooks on the last album. "I'm Not In Love" was a huge hit, and justifiably so, but it's still too somber to be one of this band's best songs. And there is a lot of filler on the second side - or at least songs that don't stick out at all. "Blackmail" and "Life Is A Minestrone" are certainly great songs, though - full of life and energy, but with dark undertones (at least on the first one, the second is just good stupid fun). I give this a high 7/10.


Ben Greenstein (15.12.2000)

Funny, because I think that one of the only songs on here that doesn't sound like filler is "I'm Mandy Fly Me." I love that song. Listen to it again - it's the absolute best thing these guys have ever recorded (since Sheet Music.) The accoustic middle part is heaven. Oh, and it was a hit single in Europe - it and "Art For Art's Sake" (also great), but not, like you said, "Lazy Days" (although that one certainly should have been a hit!). The rest of the songs are really pretty wierd - I agree that the title track is pretty pointless, and "I Wanna Rule The World" strikes me as pretty stupid and too fractured to be catchy. "Iceberg" is great, though, and "Don't Hang Up" is a fantastic way to close an album. I give this 8/10.

Sergey Zhilkin (26.02.2001)

Rather nice effort. It's not the peak of 10CC but still sounds really good. My favourites here are 'I wanna rule this world' and 'Iceberg'. I'm not quite sure if these two songs were written only by Godley and Gouldman because there are some 'borrowed' hooks but...okay...after all, they were a parody band, weren't they? 'Art for art's sake' sounds cool, too. 'Rock'n'roll lullaby' has a blues melody and is, in fact, a good song for a slow dance. 'Head room' is a parody on r'n'b melody. 'Don't hang up' has really terrific lyrics (though, maybe these guys are playing a joke on me again!). The only song I don't understand is the title track- pretty boring.
I don't want to give it rating in stars because it reminds me 10 points scale which I really hate (especially after visiting Prindle's site) so here's rating on good old 15 points scale - 12/15.

<> (21.09.2006)

This album is, as you say, similar in format to Sheet Music, which I also own on vinyl. Similar in that it is very diverse in musical incorporations.
Latin beats, funk beats, early synth-pop, lush pop, music- hall, bluesy pop are all covered here sometimes within the same song. The title track is the sort of thing Fleetwood Mac did on "The Chain" from the Rumours album. "Iceberg" is funny, but not catchy, again a tad derivative of Mid 1970's Queen, ditto "I wanna rule the World"- like a Zappa or Small Faces Ogden's Nut commentary. Those Masterpieces, "Art for Art's Sake" and "I'm Mandy", the two hits from the album, also keep the quality up, especially the Les Paul guitar solo on the full length "Art for Art's Sake", which isn't on the Greatest Hits 72-78 package - great funky solo. No - not only the best pop on the album - that also included "Rock and Roll Lullaby" and "Lazydays". These are classic Gouldman /Stewart melodic pop.
This is the last of the classic 10cc legacy before their steady downward direction into mediocrity. The cover is also very Zappa influenced. Now he was the master of that sort of thing. I definately recommend purchasing the remastered CD.


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<> (04.12.2002)

Let's face it. This is where ended. No session muscians, no matter how good, could compensate for the loss of G&C. Their influence was just too great. Bloody tourists! Bloody hell! No hooks. No melodies. No lyrics. No drama. 10cc were the great unpredictables of music. In previous albums, from the first track to the last, who could tell what the melody would be, who would take lead vocal, how the song would play out. Bloody Tourists was nothing more than a commercial venture, summed up in one song: 'Dreadlock Holiday'. A sad ending to the "Greatest Band in the World".


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<> (08.07.2005)

I'd take it one step further--Meanwhile is one of the most underrated albums not just from 10cc, but ever. True, you don't get any of those drastic/ abrupt mid-song stylistic shifts on here, but it's definitely NOT generic '90s pop-rock a la Hootie & the Blowfish or something. It's as if Stewart had built up a healthy backlog of unused material since 10cc's initial breakup. There's an absolute abundance of imagination and sheer compositional genius going on here, both musically and lyrically. There isn't a wasted second on the 6+ minute opener "Woman In Love"--notice how the intro cleverly mirrors the bridge section of the song, plus the sly lyrics are a ton of fun with a great little twist at the end, and Stewart's slide guitar playing is a blast. "Wonderland" truly lives up to its title, a very wondrous and bittersweet song that's wonderfully melodic. Also wonderfully melodic is "Welcome To Paradise" which has vivid, thought-provoking story-song lyrics with a powerful message. As for the closing ballad "Don't Break the Promises", truly incredible--the key change/ modulation that occurs on the bridge section of the song is stunning, and Eric Stewart wrings every last drop of emotion out of the tender lyrics; as a note, the supremely tasteful and fitting lead guitar work is actually NOT played by Stewart, it's played by session ace Michael Landau (as was much of the lead guitar work on the album). Amazingly, "...Promises" was actually a 'leftover' from a never released 1987 Paul McCartney solo album called Return To Pepperland, hence his co-write on the song. "Something Special" is okay, but it's actually the WEAKEST song on the whole album--obviously they're going for 'comic relief', but the lyrics are annoying, the song is utter fluff and sounds way out of place in the midst of all the previously mentioned gems; the album would have been even better if they stuck the non-album b-side "Man With A Mission" in its place, but even as it is, it's a still superb album. I really wasn't expecting a whole heck of a lot from Meanwhile--I suspected it might be little more than a last gasp attempt to 'cash in' on the band's name, but it's an album that crept up on me and blew me away. The production is certainly slick, but not overslick--don't let the gloss fool you, there's tremendous depth here, not to mention superior craftsmanship. Eric Stewart truly has the voice of an angel, and he never sounded better than he does on the Meanwhile album.


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<> (16.01.2004)

A Few Thoughts:
Consequences is an old fashioned radio play, a social satire at that. A ridiculous divorce settlement conference symbolizes how shallow and self-absorbed we are in this modern age. (prohetic?) Man has been abusing nature for so long, Godley and Crème wonder what would happen if the tables were turned. I don't find anything weird about that at all. It's just not rock "n" roll. There's a lot more music here than you'd get in a radio play. Some of the fun bits of music are the snippets and sound effects G&C have created to go between the lines of dialogue. Apparently, they were mostly created with the Gismo too. I think the songs themselves are jolly good, especially in the context of the play.
Favourite - "Lost Weekend", featuring a sublime duet between Kevin Godley and Sarah Vaughan! When I hear these guys now, I hear the influence of Smile era Brian Wilson. And that's alright with me!


peter castanos (28.01.2004)

Ah, L.....the true successor to How Dare You.

"no wonder, actually, that the critics hated it" - well, I don't know about that. I recall a review at the time in either the NME or the Melody Maker which hailed L as one of the greatest albums of all time!

Sean Wear (19.02.2004)

The 'L' on the Godley and Creme album cover is actually the L plate that UK drivers put on their cars when they are learning to drive signifying 'learner driver'.
Re the album have never listened to it but i do love 10 cc so i'll have to give it a spin


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