Chicago XXX

Chicago XXX

4.5 10
by Chicago
     
 

Mere longevity isn't all that rare in the realm of rock 'n' roll. But where a many of their peers have been reduced to treading water on the oldies circuit, this veteran combo have continued to turn out valid new material all along -- a run that's furthered on this, their 30th album as a group and their first new studio disc in a decade. The band don't mess with their… See more details below

Overview

Mere longevity isn't all that rare in the realm of rock 'n' roll. But where a many of their peers have been reduced to treading water on the oldies circuit, this veteran combo have continued to turn out valid new material all along -- a run that's furthered on this, their 30th album as a group and their first new studio disc in a decade. The band don't mess with their classic formula -- a driving beat overlaid with burnished horn parts -- all that much, giving tracks like "Ninety Degrees and Freezing" an initially recognizable vibe. They do, however, tinker around beneath the hood enough that one never gets the feeling that Chicago XIX has somehow found its way onto the stereo. To that end, the group ramp up the energy level to surprising levels on the bluesy "Already Gone" and toss a few sunny island flavors into the stew on "Come to Me, Do." Naturally, the disc has its share of the engagingly seductive ballads that have become Chicago's bread and butter in recent years. The spare, string-tinged "King of What Might Have Been" plays the poignancy card with aplomb, while the more sanguine "Love Will Come Back" opens up the sonic palette by bringing in country chart-toppers Rascal Flatts to provide frontman Bill Champlin some sweet vocal counterpoint. Admittedly, that doesn't qualify as reinventing the wheel, but it does add some traction that'll help that wheel continue its enthralling journey.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Despite the possible euphemisms of the title, 2006's Chicago XXX is not the band's raciest album since Hot Streets, nor is it their installment in the extreme-action spy series kicked off by Vin Diesel -- instead, it's the veteran group's first proper studio album since 1995's flop Night and Day: Big Band, and considering that was a detour into retro-swing, XXX is their first mainstream pop album since 1991's Twenty 1, which is a 15-year gap between pop records. That's an awfully long wait -- in the meantime, the band has been putting out live albums, Christmas records and hit comps, bringing the total up to 30 LPs -- but apart from the diluted trip-hop beat from "Feel (Hot Single Mix)" that kicks off the album, you'd never know that XXX was made and recorded in 21st century. It sounds like it could have been released in 1991 as Twenty 1, since it contains the same kind of sunny good-time pop and power ballads that made Chicago a staple on adult contemporary stations in the late '80s. But there is a difference this time around: XXX is actually a better overall record than anything the group released in the wake of Peter Cetera's departure. Song for song, it's memorably melodic and Jay Demarcus, best-known as a member of contemporary country-pop act Rascal Flatts, has given the album a bright sheen that is nevertheless varied, punching up the horns on "Better," emphasizing the sweet melody on the "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" dead ringer "King of Might Have Been," turning up the guitars on "Caroline," a happy variation on "Look Away." It sounds as if Chicago and Demarcus went into the album with the intention that this would be a hit along the lines of Chicago 19, and while that kind of wishful thinking may not be fulfilled -- there are very few radio stations in 2006 that will play this kind of slick adult contemporary music -- this sense of purpose and drive has resulted in a surprisingly strong, thoroughly entertaining comeback album that's actually better than the albums it intends to emulate. It's not for every Chicago fan -- those who long for either the early-'70s or early-'80s heydays will find this too produced and MOR for their liking -- but fans of Chicago's late-'80s albums will find themselves right at home on XXX.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/21/2006
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227336226
catalogNumber:
73362

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chicago   Primary Artist
Bill Champlin   Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Vocals,fender rhodes,Group Member
Robert Lamm   Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Wurlitzer,Group Member
Steve Brewster   Drums
Dean DeLeo   Guitar
Keith Howland   Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
Tris Imboden   Drums,Group Member
Bobby Kimball   Background Vocals
Lee Loughnane   Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Piccolo Trumpet,Group Member
James Pankow   Trombone,Group Member
Walter Parazaider   Flute,Saxophone,Woodwind,Group Member
Jason Scheff   Bass,Electric Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Lee Thornberg   Trumpet
Jay DeMarcus   Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Tom Bukovac   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Joseph "Gospel Joe" Williams   Background Vocals
Joe Don Rooney   Vocals
Gary LeVox   Vocals
John Brockman   Drums
Dan Huff   Guitar
Shelly Fairchild   Vocals
James Matchack   Keyboards
Yankton Mingua   Guitar

Technical Credits

Bill Champlin   Composer,Vocal Arrangements
Robert Lamm   Composer,Horn Arrangements
Jeff Balding   Engineer
Greg Barnhill   Composer
Ben Fowler   Engineer
Marcus Hummon   Composer
Bob Ludwig   Mastering
Dennis Matkosky   Composer
James Pankow   Horn Arrangements
Chas Sandford   Composer,Engineer
Jason Scheff   Composer,Vocal Arrangements
Brett James   Composer
Jed Hackett   Digital Editing
Jay DeMarcus   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Blair Daly   Composer
Andy Strauss   Photo Assistance
Sean Neff   Engineer,Digital Editing
James Matchack   Arranger,Engineer,Digital Editing,Loop Programming
Danny Orton   Composer
George Hawkins   Composer

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