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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Alan Parsons

Best of the Alan Parsons Project

Review by Gary Hill

With an album like this it’s always an iffy proposition. Greatest Hits packages are objective (best selling songs by the group) but when it comes to Best Of set, there is usually a lot of variation from one person to another with what is called the “best of” an artist. In this case we get a lot of great music. I have to say that perhaps one or two songs would have been better traded out with something from Tales of Mystery… but overall you can’t argue too much with the selection. This would be a great first stop towards building an Alan Parsons Project collection.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
With a dramatic and mysterious opening segment this rocks out quite well as it gets going. I think you could think of it as a more soulful Pink Floyd in a lot of ways. The guitar solo on this is especially tasty. It’s definitely one of the bigger hits to make the cut here.

Eye In The Sky
This is perhaps an even bigger hit. It’s got an ‘80’s feel to the guitar drone, but the vocal performance and other elements elevate this beyond its core roots.

Games People Play
In some ways this track (another mega hit) has a more “rocking” feel to it than the tracks that preceded it. The killer keyboard dominated mid-section, though, brings a great taste of mystery to the number.
Time
A dreamy and quite pretty track, this is mellower than a lot of the other stuff found on this compilation. That makes it a nice change of pace. Besides, there’s plenty of emotion and drama packed into this arrangement to make it cool. It does get powered up as it carries on.
Pyramania
This one has a rather silly, pop-rock texture, feeling a bit like Supertramp at times. All that said, it’s still a decent song, but definitely doesn’t stand up to the rest of the material here. I’m not sure this should have made the cut. Certainly something like “The Raven” would have been better here.

You Don't Believe
Here they have a different pop styled sound. This feels more like something from Survivor, but it still has some layers and sounds that elevate it beyond the generic.
Lucifer
Now, this instrumental is one of the highlights of the disc. It’s dramatic and powerful and just plain cool.
Psychobabble
This starts out rather tentatively.  When the bass guitar takes control they launch out into a rocking song that’s got a lot of soul in the mix.

Damned If I Do
Far proggier than the song that preceded it, this is still quite catchy. It’s a great tune and one of the highlights of the disc. It’s got quite the catchy chorus, too.  It has a rather symphonic element to it, too.

Don't Let It Show
A dramatic ballad, this is a great song. It was one of my favorites when first released and it’s one of the favorites as presented here. It’s quite mellow, but also very emotional and powerful.

Can't Take It With You
A track that begins with a dramatic mysterious tone, this one builds up gradually for a short time before bursting out into the song proper, another bouncy one. There is some decidedly Pink Floyd like guitar work that shows up on this number.
Old And Wise
Here we have a progressive rock ballad that’s powerful and has some definite symphonic elements. This is pretty and potent and I like it a lot. It makes for quite a satisfying conclusion.
 
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