Album Review: “Don’t Look Back” By Boston
Don't Look Back album cover - Boston / Youtube
Two long years after Boston’s self-titled debut, their second release Don’t Look Back to the long-waiting crowd. Thanks to the boost their debut album gave, Boston was able to amass demand from fans in a year’s time. While Don’t Look Back wasn’t as successful as its predecessor, it still showcases some of the best works of Tom Scholz – the whiz behind the music and production – along with Brad Delp’s unmistakable pipes.
The title track comes from one of Scholz’s earlier catalogs, featuring excellent guitars and a powering riff that soon breaks off into some of the album’s most intricate arrangements – quite interesting for a guitar-driven anthem. Next are “The Journey” and “It’s Easy”, which are sequenced to take on the same form of the debut album’s “Foreplay”/”Longtime”. “The Journey” acts as a hype builder thanks to its circular riff that Scholz adds texture to with every repetition before it goes into the full-blown ride of “It’s Easy” while sporting themes of romance and philosophy. “A Man I’ll Never Be” closes the first side with its power ballad structure taken to the extreme – exquisite layering of guitars and a solo that ramped up from key to key, along with a unique implementation of keyboards in the mix.
Side two starts with “Feelin’ Satisfied”, an upbeat track with an indulgent riffed outro leading to the next song, “Party”. This cut seemed to have been just placed to keep the album runtime at a bare minimum, with no particular high points in the arrangement. Delp’s moody yet melodic “Used To Be Bad News” tones down on the electric guitar and instead focuses on an organ progression with acoustic guitar accents, with his amazing vocal melodies not backing down on the brief yet enjoyable track. Album closer “Don’t Be Afraid” concludes everything with some fantastic drumming, but other than that offers nothing unique musically.
Don’t Look Back also marked the start of the band’s legal headaches with their label, Epic. This was due to Scholz’s accusation that the label pressured them into releasing the album even before it realized its fullest potential.