Sound — 10
First things first, following three double albums and a four record live set; this is their first standard length album. This album seems to have somewhat less of classical sound, mainly streamlined for rock and jazz. Despite it's shortened length, the songs manage to hold on to some of the long, though not extra-long, jams. While Terry Kath keeps a guitar solo presence, the horn section is given more of the solos, which isn't a bad thing. Indeed, it contains a good amount of trumpet, trombone, and sax solos. Keeping with their previous albums, C5 retains a very polished and professional quality.
Lyrics — 10
Of all of Chicago's albums, both before and after, this one has the strongest feeling of continuity, aided by Robert Lamm writing eight of the ten tracks. Quite a few of the tracks are political, including Dialogue (Parts I and II), While the City Sleeps, and State of the Union. Dialogue Part I highlights the vocal chemistry between Kath and Cetera, while expressing Robert Lamm's frustration with the apathy about the war and repression, among other issues. The most recognizable track is Saturday in the Park. While Chicago doesn't have any real road songs, Pankow's token contribution to the album, Now that You're Gone comes pretty close. With it's tight brass jams, it's a good song to cruise to. Kath's token contribution, Alma Mater, Doesn't fit into the album as well since it is acoustic driven and has no horns. That being said, the thoughtful lyrics redeem it's fit to the album.
Overall Impression — 10
While the album is over thirty years old, it doesn't sound out of touch. The issues raised by Dialogue are just as relevant today. Few bands these days are able to get the continuity that this album masters. This albums attests to the genius of Robert Lamm's writing skills. It quickly became one of the core albums of my library, and I would definitely replace it if I were to lose it.