Judith B. from COOS BAY, OR Reviewed on 11/12/2014...
Enjoyed Alan Parson Project in the 1990's, found that this CD was a good representation of their work.
The Alan Parsons Project Pop Side
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 09/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Alan Parsons Project released a variety of music from their debut album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination." Some music was progressive, often influenced by Alan Parson's work on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." However, they also had pop-sounding music along with music that today might be considered New Age. Fans of the Alan Parsons Project thus needed, and continue to need, eclectic tastes. For those who could handle the range of musical styles the rewards were great, and frequently sent those listeners on a search for other mind-expanding and enlightening music.
This collection covers music from five of the Alan Parson Project's first six albums. "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" is not represented. Also, not all the songs from these six albums that charted are represented. Rather, someone went through and decided which songs would be representative of the Alan Parsons Project. This collection does therefore earn the title of "The Best of..." rather than being the "greatest" hits.
The 1977 album "I, Robot," which charted at #9, is represented by two songs. "I, Robot" was a concept album loosely inspired by Isaac Asimov's book by the same name. "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" reached #36 on Billboard's charts and "Don't Let It Show" reached #92. I personally prefer the introspective and slightly paranoid song "Don't Let It Show." The emotion and power of this ballad are highly evident in this underrated song. The only difficulty I have with this selection is that it trails off rather than transitioning into "The Voice." However, this song remains one of my favorites from this album.
There are two songs from the 1978 album "Pyramid," which charted at #26. "Can't Take It with You" is pop based and catchy. The frenetic and quirky "Pyramania" is a good selection for this collection, balancing the more mundane pop selections.
From the #13 charting 1979 album "Eve" are the instrumental "Lucifer" and the #27 song "Damned If I Do." The instrumental "Lucifer" is quite good with outstanding keyboards and drums. "Lucifer" is one of the better examples of the music represented on the Alan Parsons Project's albums rather than the music generally represented on this collection. "Damned If I Do" is pop and while a decent song I prefer this group's more challenging music.
Another #13 charting album was 1980's "The Turn of a Friendly Card." While the #16 song "Games People Play" has a few surprises and calls to mind progressive moments, it is the beautiful #15 song "Time" that is the real gem. Indeed, "Time" is one of the best songs from the Alan Parsons Project. This song combines a few progressive moments with pop elements and a tremendous vocal to be a standout song whether on the original album or on this album. This song begs to be played over and over with the volume set high.
The Alan Parsons Group hit their pinnacle of commercial success with the #7 album "Eye in the Sky" in 1982. This album is represented by the #57 song "Psychobabble," the #3 song "Eye in the Sky," and "Old and Wise." "Psychobabble" is offbeat with a fast pace, and bears some stylistic similarity to "Pyramania." "Eye in the Sky" was a big pop hit for the group. This mellow song had wide appeal and doubtlessly was a big reason for the success of this album. An even better song is "Old and Wise," which was also chosen to be the last song on this collection. This song has just a touch too much percussion at the beginning to be considered haunting or delicate, but the elements are chilling and nostalgic. But as the song closes out suddenly the vocals command and the saxophone close out will make you long to play this song over again, and wish the song were much longer.
The song "You Don't Believe" first appeared on this album. This song reached #54 on the Billboard chart and also reached #12 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The song has a quick pace and a very early 80s pop feel to it. This song also appeared again on the #15 album "Ammonia Avenue," which was certified gold and was also the group's last big commercial success.
Unfortunately, this collection is light on the orchestral rock side of the Alan Parsons Project and heavy on the more pop oriented music. I enjoy this music and this collection, but I prefer the more experimental music from "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" and "I, Robot" rather than the selections provided here. I also prefer to listen to those concept albums in their entirety because they work better as a whole. However, people have to earn a living and this type of music is more popular than the other. Just remember when you buy this CD that this music was not what Alan Parson's first five albums were about, as any Alan Parsons Project fan will be than willing to tell you. "
"And they're my tunes but they're your compositions"
mwreview | Northern California, USA | 03/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If I were to put a compilation together of my favorite Alan Parsons Project songs, this would be pretty close to what I'd come up with. Four of my top 5 APP classics are here: "Eye in the Sky," the addictively funky "Games People Play," the beautiful ballad "Time" showing off Eric Woolfson's amazing vocal range, and the heartbreaking dirge "Old and Wise." It is a very powerful song. Other excellent choices are "Can't Take It With You," the best track off Pyramid beautifully sung with intriguing lyrics, the disco number "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You," and "You Don't Believe" from my favorite APP album Ammonia Avenue. It is an interesting choice because it is not very well-known. If there were not a volume two to this album, it would no doubt be replaced by the hit single "Don't Answer Me" (the other track in my top 5). "Damned If I Do," off of the controversial and underappreciated Eve album, is nothing spectacular, but I find myself humming it more than probably any other APP track, so it must have a way of grabbing the listener. Tracks I would leave off are the quirky but annoying "Pyramania" and "Psychobabble" which, lyrically is very cool and has a soul driving verse, but the chorus is rather predictable. "Lucifer" is a good instrumental track and "Don't Let It Show" is a nice ballad but unremarkable. In sum, it is an excellent collection but not perfect."
Art and Pop-Rock Meet Thanks To An Ace Producer
Anthony G Pizza | FL | 04/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alan Parsons gave back what he took. Like his American counterpart, Todd Rundgren, Parsons saw the joy and skill in pop-rock and progressive rock (learned from the Beatles, for whom Parsons helped engineer "Abbey Road"). Like Rundgren, he could break sharp, radio-friendly singles from the most dense concept albums, essentially recreating the Beatles "Red" and "Blue" hits collections at once.This set displays 12 examples of that ability. Parsons, partner Eric Woolfson (heard on the huge hits "Time" and "Eye In The Sky") and a rotating band of musicians and singers used these songs to anchor thematic works like "I, Robot" and "Eve." When the singles worked (the sonic funk workout "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You," the ELO-Steely Dan hybrid "Games People Play") the LPs worked better; simple enough, but not all prog-rock groups subscribed to it. The streak ended only when ballads ("Old And Wise," the omitted "Don't Answer Me" with its great video) became the group's only Top 40 ticket, leaving the group vulnerable against the decade's later, heavier rock.This should've been released sooner. Royalty disagreements prevented Parsons' catalogue from being released on CD for years, insuring his Projects wouldn't help sell CD systems in the 80s as they did audio systems in the 70s. Better late than never and, despite missing some essential tracks from "I, Robot," this remains a recommended sampler of a headphone-ready progressive pop group."
Nice compilation album
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 10/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1983 compilation focuses on all of Parsons releases from I Robot to Eye in the Sky, with their then-latest single, "You Don't Believe" (which quickly ended up on their following album, Ammonia Avenue), which was a minor hit. Unfortunately nothing on Tales of Mystery & Imagination is represented, probably do to contractual difficulties. That album was not released on Arista, but on 20th Century Records in the US, and in the UK on Charisma (same label that gave us Genesis, Lindisfarne, Van der Graaf Generator/Peter Hammill, Rare Bird, Monty Python, etc.). If that album was represented in any way, I would have included "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether", and "The Raven".
As you would imagine, the most popular cuts from each of the albums mentions (save Tales, of course, which couldn't be featured here) are included here. For I Robot, you got "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You", and "Don't Let it Show", although one wished "Breakdown", "The Voice" or "Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)" could have been included. The two Pyramid songs were "Pyramania" and "Can't Take it With You", which are truly wonderful songs, and for some weird reason, I remembered hearing those songs back in '78 when they came out and I was only 5 years old then. For Eve, you got the wonderful instrumental "Lucifer", one of my favorite Parsons instrumental, dominated by John Leach's cimbalom (Hungarian dulcimer). The other being "Damned If I Do", but they removed the synth intro. It's a rocking number with lots of horns and strings courtesy of Andrew Powell. For Turn of a Friendly Card, you got "Games People Play" and the Eric Woolfson ballad "Time", which obviously received its share of radio airplay. With Eye in the Sky, you have the title track, "Psychobabble", and "Old and Wise". "Old and Wise" is an orchestrated ballad dominated by ex-Zombies vocalist Colin Bluntsone. For the 1983 single "You Don't Believe", you got the sound of the Alan Parsons Project finally willing to enter the 1980s (it's obvious the Project was a bit reluctant to leave behind the '70s even as far as Eye in the Sky). Here you get more '80s sounding synthesizers and drum machines, and it obviously sounds "newer" (in a 1983 context) compared to all the other material on this album. That song obviously pointed to a new, "modern-sounding" direction for the Project in the mid 1980s.
I was exposed to the Alan Parsons Project thanks to my dad, who was big on them. He bought Ammonia Avenue just as it came out in '84, and quickly bought The Best of the Alan Parsons Project, and I Robot. I have since heard the entire Project catalog from 1976 to 1987, so I am very familiar with what the Project had recorded (I hadn't heard any of Alan Parsons post-Project albums from the 1990s).
To me, this is a decent collection, focusing on the Project's best years from '77 to '83. If you're not familiar with the Alan Parsons Project, this is a nice place to start, as you get an idea of how they were like in a six year time span."
An excellent sample of some of The Alan Parsons Project's mo
Maria Alvarez | Stevens Point,WI USA | 09/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a new fan of The Alan Parsons Project. I just got into this band after many countless years of hearing their songs on the radio,songs such as,"Eye In The Sky","Games People Play","Time" & and the irrepressibly funky,"I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You". These were songs that my Mom remembers back from high school growing up in the late 70's and the early part of the 80's. I would recommend this band to anyone that's into the British wave of Prog-Rock that began taking shape in the early 1970's. Basically,if you enjoy the music of Yes,Genesis,Supertramp,and even Pink Floyd,then I'm sure that you will like The Alan Parsons Project as well. I recently bought this album on cassette while I was browsing around for some vintage music at a local consignment shop. Let me tell you,I'm glad that I stumbled upon this album because it is truly a treasure and a work of art. This is a classic piece of Prog-Rock,and an excellent excerpt torn from the History of Seventies Progressive Rock. The compositions contained here in this collection are breathtaking,beautiful,and full of musical brilliance. And after buying this compilation,I felt immediately urged to get my hands on more music by this band,if that says anything about just how good this group is. As a matter of fact,I've already purchased two of The Alan Parsons Project's albums,and I ordered three more LP's through a music shop online. Alan Parsons is a wonderful and talented producer and conceptualist,a true musical genius. The singers from the group,like Lenny Zakatek and Eric Woolfson,contribute earnest and raw emotion to their vocals,and are incredibly gifted vocalists. Overall,The Alan Parson Project made well-crafted music that was equally impassioned,melodic,spiritually uplifting,and mind-expanding. Well Done."