Picks and Pans Review: Chicago 18
At times this pop group has the slightly overdone, overglossed approach of a bad car salesman. Still they have maintained a unique sound—easy rock with brass—and mix their moods nicely. Longtime vocalist-songwriter Peter Cetera went solo after album No. 17 (which sold more than six million copies), but his departure hasn't noticeably changed the band's corporate, or maybe it's municipal, kind of sound. He was replaced by Jason Scheff, son of onetime Elvis Presley bassist Jerry Scheff. Jason shares lead vocals with Robert Lamm, one of the three current Chicagoans who performed on the group's first album in 1969. (Woodwind player Walt Parazaider and drummer Danny Seraphine are the other originals; James Pankow, Bill Champlin and Lee Loughnane are the later arrivals.) Scheff fits right in, blending into the romance-oriented songs: "As long as Niagara Falls/ As long as Gibraltar stands/ Till hell freezes over/ I'll always be your man." David Foster, who also produced the group's previous album, includes the 1970 hit 25 or 6 to 4, in an only slightly hardened reading. That seems to be something of a strange choice, suggesting that the group has become so desperate for hits it has to resuscitate its old ones. Other than that this is basic, hard-core Chicago, which history has shown to be a lot of people's kind of music. (Warner Bros.)
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