I Am the Cosmosby Chris Bell
Unreleased for over 15 years, I Am the Cosmos is nevertheless an enduring testament to the brilliance of Chris Bell; lyrically poignant and melodically stunning, this lone solo album is proof positive of his underappreciated pop mastery. While cuts like "Get Away," "I Got Kinda Lost," and "Fight at the Table" recall the glowing, energetic power pop of Bell's earlier work, the majority of the songs on I Am the Cosmos are more reflective and deeply personal; the title track is a harrowingly schizophrenic tale of romantic despair, while other cuts like the lurching "Better Save Yourself" and the lovely "Look Up" are infused with a spiritual power largely missing from his Big Star material. The album's highlight, "You and Your Sister" -- which features backing vocals from none other than Bell's Big Star mate Alex Chilton -- is simply one of the great unknown love songs in the pop canon, a luminous and fragile ballad almost otherworldly in its beauty.
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To call Chris Bell's music Beatle-esque is not only to undermine him as an artist, but as an individual as well. Certainly, ''I am the Cosmos'' (a posthumous collection) has a certain jangle that may recall the Fab Four, but Bell's music reaches levels of cosmic melancholy and longing that Lennon and MacCartney were to ironic and, perhaps, succesful (where those guys big?), to even fathom. ''Let it Be'' may be a lovely song about Paul's mom, but ''I am the Cosmos'' (the song) is nothing shy of transcendent in it's description of emotional longing and self-doubt. In short, this is a gorgeous record that is more than anything else a pop record. One guy concieved it, wrote it, and then died before even knowing just how wonderful it really is. Oh, yeah, Chris Bell was in Big Star (of course you probably know that already).
This Memphis gem was written and recorded by Big Star founder Chris Bell, who died in 1973, shortly after finishing this beautiful pop album. The honest lyrics, and out of this world melodies will break your heart. Buy this album.