Rajeev P. (RockinRaju) from CORVALLIS, OR Reviewed on 9/25/2022...
This is one of the best albums to come out of the 1980s, and I hold the opinion that this is one of the greatest albums of all time. Unfortunately it is also the only album to come out of the collaboration of David Baerwald and David Ricketts. The songs all have catchy, accessible hooks, but hide pain, anguish, despair, longing underneath that veneer in a way that, nearly 35 years later their relevance has not diminished.
David & David could be singing about the couple my wife and I noticed the other day sitting across from each other at dinner, but completely engaged on their mobile devices with "Being Alone Together". "Welcome to the Boomtown" highlights how easy it is to go astray, especially with easily accessible big-city addictions. "Swallowed by the Cracks" talks about how big dreams can fall by the wayside....and be swallowed by the cracks. "Ain't So Easy" is about relationship struggles with lyrics that really capture that sinking feeling. I could go on and on. While maybe not as remarkable as Prince playing all the instruments on his initial albums, it should be noted that the Davids basically played all the instruments here. This probably let them harmonize the lyrical emotion and content with the music in ways few artists can - and the result is, I maintain, one of the greatest and most criminally underrated albums of all time.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
The Stunning Surprise of 1987.
dev1 | Baltimore | 04/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"David Baerwald and David Ricketts seemed to appear from thin air in 1987 with their victorious debut titled Boomtown. The album depicts the hopeless struggle of two close friends to overcome their obstacles and reach their goal; which is, complete an artistic work of tender and stirring compositions. Plagued by alcohol and drugs (Swallowed By The Cracks, A Rock For The Forgotten), and bending under the burdens of daily existence (Being Alone Together), David & David delayed their ambitions. Failed relationships also enter the picture: `Ain't So Easy' pits affection against possession, and earthly pleasure temporally cures the trials of survival in `All Alone In The Big City.' The only optimistic cut is the final `Heroes' where David & David vow to bury their past failures, and concentrate on the venture ahead. The result is the majestic Boomtown.Musically, Boomtown is sensuous and intense. Their ability to create dramatic compositions (Welcome To The Boomtown, River's Gonna Rise, All Alone In The Big City) is superb .These cuts bring to mind the percussive rhythms of Peter Gabriel and the romantic sheen of Roxy Music's Avalon. The CD is produced by Davitt Sigerson who also worked with and The Bangles and Tori Amos. Boomtown is a triumph - the stunning surprise of 1987."
baseballdoctor | Indy | 05/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard "Boomtown" on a local College station in Bloomington Indiana. I was hooked and picked it up that same day. What a shame they never went past the one album.I have what is available of David Baerwald and it also is very good.But Boomtown is by far one of the best I have ever owned.Strong lyrics ,catchy melodies, and instrumentally tight.A must have for any solid music collection.My 18 year old son has a copy and plays it on a regular basis and rates it one of his favorites.Pick it up and I promise you it will be in heavy rotation on your system."
baseballdoctor | 02/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As most that have listened to this album will agree, it is a must. To follow suit with the rest of the reviews, I too heard Boomtown on a small college radio station, late at night, and had to know who they were. After walking accross campus and talking with the DJ of the station, and begging for another cut, I had my prize, a bootleg copy. That was in 1986 at Humboldt State University, and I still have the album fourteen years later (now on CD). The music that these two have made, I feel, still stands up with some of the best of today. Give it a listen, and you will have found one of those rare albums that is good all the way through."
Ten years and still moves me.
baseballdoctor | 09/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first picked up this album after hearing Boomtown on a college station. What followed was a ten year love affair with this disc. I'm on my third one, listen to it all the time and I'm still amazed that it never made more waves. Bedtime Stories followed up and left me wanting more. With the release of Triage I got it and more. These three albums should be in every rock lovers collection."
The Great Disillusionment: A Neglected Masterpiece
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 04/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1980s were often described as "the ME decade"--an era characterized by materialism, self-indulgence, and self-satisfaction. Popular music of the decade tended toward heavy synthesizers, dance-friendly beats, and concert appeal, with such acts as Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson dominating the charts with slick, glossy, and sexy pop. But in 1987 David Baerwald and David Ricketts took a musical look beneath the veneer at the underbelly of greed, drugs, and alienation that fueled the day. BOOMTOWN would be their only recording together, but they needed only one: it is a masterpiece.
The three opening selections are typical: languid, sultry vocals are accompanied by crisp yet senusous instrumentals in which undercurrent guitars mix with a touch of synthesizer and remarkably strong percussion--and which present tales of self-destruction, disillusionment, failure, and internal pain. "Welcome to the Boomtown," which actually made a hit as a single, sketches portraits of drug dealers with wry humor and deep cynicism; "Swallowed by the Cracks" presents three friends whose youthful dreams are crushed by reality; and "Ain't So Easy" gives us a man attempting to convince his woman to remain after he has beaten her. The material remains dark and laced with cynical humor as it continues, referencing everything from loveless marriage to social collapse, and then ends on a faintly optimistic yet distinctly gray note: "Heroes" seems to imply that the only escape is a complete walking away from the values that create such situations, but it offers no clear idea of what other options might be available.
The lyrics tend to play against the surface smooth of the music, creating ambiguities and juxtapositions quite unlike those found in most other recordings. David & David were clearly influenced by the likes of Roxy Music in the liquidity of their vocals and Lou Reed in the unexpected nature of their lyrics, but the way in which they combine the two are unique. Few, if any, have mined the same material and styles to such tremendous effect--and although BOOMTOWN is distinctly of 1987, it also transcends 1987 without the faintest show of strain; it is as musically accomplished as ever and in terms of material as topical and relevant as it was twenty years ago. Strongly recommended.