Sound — 8
Grateful Dead has always been a love/hate band in my music collection. I mean, don't get me wrong; I love their sound. They're so inventive and quirky, and I love their attitudes. Just a bunch of Haight-Ashbury junkies who share a passion for music. But, then again, the hype of this band has always kind of turned me off. Their merchandise and fans are everywhere. Needless to say, curiosity got the better of me, and I purchased one of their LP's, "Terrapin Station", which will be the focus of this review. Now, I am by no means a "Deadhead", but I do know this is far different than any other previous Dead album. This was the point in the Dead's career where they finally stepped out of their shell and explored new means to create music, this time placing heavy emphasis on a more symphonic approach. Released in 1977, some could also argue that this album was indirectly influenced by the art rock movement that flooded airwaves at this time. Nevertheless, the Dead completely do themselves justice on this album. The album is more tamed that usual. The Dead kinda made a name for themselves for being a free-formed jazzy outfit, fueled with a ton of improvisational pieces. The same elements are still somewhat present on Terrapin Station, but they take their experimentation to new heights. One cool place of reference is in the album's title track, and incidentally, one of my favorite songs on the album. Features a lovely choir, further expounding the intricacy of the songs, and horns to spice up the rest of the music. The best way to characterize the music is a nice folk interpretation of progressive rock. A solid and satisfying listen to almost anyone who gives it a chance.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrics are a tad bit all over the place. Members of the band, Jerry Garcia specifically, has commented that he was frequently inspired by sights and visions in the writing of this album. Sometimes, just a simple look at nature would inspire the Dead to write the first thing that came to mind, and that's what the brunt of the lyrics feel like. Just a bunch of random, abstract poetry, that, in truth, I am not exactly sure how to interpret. All I know is, when the music became restrained, the lyrics still live up to the Dead's legacy by being the most strange and thought provoking lyrics ever.
Overall Impression — 8
All in all, a solid listen from the Dead. A perfect pathway for the Dead to walk on in the decade that followed and more importantly gave us a special look into the Dead's true versatility. You get so much out of this album. It makes you relax, it makes you think, and it also finds a way to your soul as cheesy as that may sound. In closing, I know the Dead can be very- wierd. People will force them on you and you will not like that. However, take some time out of your day, and throw this album on the record player, and I guarantee you will love it as much as I did.