Picks and Pans Review: The Innocent Age
This ambitious song cycle may be the best to issue from the rock world since Pink Floyd's The Wall. There are 17 songs on two LPs featuring almost exclusively works penned by 30-year-old Fogelberg. It is not so much a narrative fantasy like Tommy, but introspective reflection on the life of this son of an Illinois bandmaster. Fogelberg's fine-tuned Colorado-Rockies mystique makes James Taylor seem coarse. His angst over who he is and where he's been is delivered convincingly by his blithe, wistful tenor. The Sand and the Foam is about the loss of childhood innocence. Same Old Lang Syne (a big hit as a single) recounts meeting an old flame. Stolen Moments recounts the fragility of falling in love. The title track, dedicated to the forefathers of his style, Buffalo Springfield, has just the right harmonies and guitar sparkle. Leader of the Band is a warm tribute to his father, with a snippet of a Sousa band march arranged by his pop. While his folksy, philosophical profundity rarely transcends, say, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, his lyrics are certainly superior to the typical rock chaff, with occasional bursts of startling brightness: "So we stare into the emptiness and fall beneath the weight/ Circling the Nexus in a fevered dance with fate." The arrangements and instrumentation are easy on the ear and ornamented further with guest appearances by such stars as Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Tom Scott and Eagles Glenn Frey and Don Henley.
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