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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Review: Big Country - The Best Of Big Country

I've often compared a song to Big Country but I've never owned any of their records. The Best Of Big Country raised a question or two that was answered by other people's reviews of their work.

Their big hit was, of course, "In A Big Country", from 1983, featuring their signature sound of a guitar that sounds like a bagpipe, hints at Scottish folk music and an obvious attempt to create stadium-shaking anthems that inspire through sheer humongusness. This high is sought over and over again with pretty fair results but the cumulative effect is, to me, commercial overkill.

What I was wondering was if the repetition was a bad thing (if I wasn't a fan) or a good thing (if I loved them). I like their songs individually but I won't be listening to this whole thing again. I was also trying to determine from the hits if there might be a reason to pick up a regular album where I'd be further rewarded with filler tracks with more variety. I didn't get that sense since every track is recorded to be HUGE.

The review consensus seems to be that Big Country had great songs but never broke through to as large an audience as was expected. While not a one hit band, they're a one sound band, and the Scottish stadium anthem thing has to be a gimmick with limited potential. They could have been limited by the "yeah I get it" factor.

Singer Stuart Adamson was the guitarist for The Skids, who went to that sweet suburbia in the sky.

U2 fans would and should love Big Country. True punks get their teenage Scottish kicks from The Real McKenzies.


Blogger Robert G. said...

Damn you--I was thinking of writing 'bout them.

I was going to say that a singles collection of BC would overemphasize the anthemic, but this is a actually a pretty good mix of tunes.

The album following that collection, The Buffalo Skinners, was quite good and had a much more straight-ahead rock sound. I saw them in '93 and it was one of the best club shows I've ever seen, and incredibly loud.

6:27 PM

Blogger tescosuicide said...

I always loved this band. They did have a very distictive sound but that didn't stop the Sex Pistols. ;) Great post and even better site!

6:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was always a closet Big Country fan. I never wanted my friends to learn that I wasn't always listening to Husker Du's Warehouse or things in that vein. Big Country had a unique (if limited)sound, but I dug them.

It could have been worse. I could have been a closet fan of New Kids on the Block.

Anonymous has confessed.

6:44 PM


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