The Alan Parsons Project: I Robot
This is another album that I inherited from an older sibling. She had a habit of getting great albums, and rarely listening to them. Eventually, they became mine. This one grabbed me from the start. It also didn’t hurt that my local FM station had already been playing a couple of tracks. What does all this mean? It means that “I Robot” has been a friend for a long time. There have been long stretches of neglect, but it always comes back, and never lets me down.
The title track is a spacey, techno-operatic piece, with a groove. Setting up the mood perfectly
We then get into a very radio friendly tune, with “I wouldn’t Want to be Like You.” You want funk in your opus to a technological society? You got it. It’s really a great groover.
“Some Other Time” is a lament about being disconnected. Made powerful by haunting vocals, and synthesized horns.
“Breakdown,” a song about alienation, brings back the funky bass, but moves on to more familiar rock forms. It builds, and adds to its emotional power. By the end we have a full chorus calling for freedom.
“Don’t let it show” is a touching ballad about coping, and buried emotion. It starts with an organ, tender vocals, and sounds as if it was performed in a church. In the style already laid out, more is added, and it becomes more orchestral. By the end, the tempo is up, and there is tympani in the background.
“The Voice” is a testament to paranoia. The style is almost borrowed from the soundtrack of a “Shaft” movie. Once again, there is the build up. This time we get a cool bass, strings, and clapping groove.
“Nucleus” is where the prog really comes in. A steady beat (lightly reminiscent of a moving train), carries the listener through waterfalls, or waves, of lush, but delicate sound.
“Day After Day” just makes you want to grab your significant other, and have a loving slow dance.
Of course, anyone who has seen “2001 a Space Odyssey” will recognize “Total Eclipse.” It’s downright creepy, unsettling, and awesome.
“Genesis CH. 1 V. 32” takes us out in the same style as the opening, only with a lot more subtlety. Thus coming full circle.
It may sound dated, maybe even a little cheesy at times, but get past it. This is a gem, and should not be overlooked.
Alan Parsons – acoustic guitar, keyboards, projectron, vocorder, vocals
David Paton – bass, vocals
Ian Bairnson – electric and acoustic guitars, vocals
Stuart Tosh – drums and percussion, vocals
Eric Woolfson – keyboards, projectron, vocorder, vocals
Duncan Mackay – keyboards
B.J. Cole – steel guitar
John Leach – cimbalom and kantele
Allan Clarke, Steve Harley, Jack Harris, Peter Straker, Jaki Whitren, Dave Townsend, Lenny Zakatek – vocals
Hilary Western, Smokey Parsons, Tony Rivers, John Perry, Stuart Calver, The English Chorale and the New Philharmonia Chorus – additional vocals