Monday, November 10, 2008

Album Of The Day #108: YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY - The Byrds

Title: Younger Than Yesterday
Artist: The Byrds
Label: Columbia
Released: 1967
Songs: So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star [Chris Hillman & Roger McGuinn]/Have You Seen Her Face [Chris Hillman]/C.T.A. – 102 [Roger McGuinn & R.J. Hippard]/Renaissance Fair [David Crosby & Roger McGuinn]/Time Between [Chris Hillman]/Everybody’s Been Burned [David Crosby]/Thoughts And Words [Chris Hillman]/Mind Gardens [David Crosby]/My Back Pages [Bob Dylan]/The Girl With No Name [Chris Hillman]/Why [David Crosby & Roger McQuinn]
Produced by: Gary Usher
Thoughts: This is still the only other Byrds album I have, the other being Fifth Dimension, which was previously discussed. It really is one hell of a record, considering it lasts just 27 minutes and not a single song reaches four minutes (more telling is the fact that three songs are under two minutes). Beyond the timings, though, is the fact that Byrds filled the platter of vinyl with ridiculously good songs. It kicks off with the magnificent, two-minute drill of “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and really just keeps building from there. Chris Hillman, who was just your average bass player, gets a shot to shine, with four solo compositions and a co-writing credit on “…Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”. Probably his best song here is “The Girl With No Name”, which has a great little vibe to it, summed up in less than a minute and fifty second.
David Crosby supplies the album with the strangest material. “Everybody’s Been Burned” is a weird genre meld of rock and slow easy-listening music. “Renaissance Fair” is magnificent, as is “Mind Gardens”. That song is so weird. One second it is annoying; Crosby’s vocals sound completely out of tune and the music behind him feels like it is going nowhere. Still, his lyrics are pretty cool, making you wish that he could have just spoken them.
Roger McQuinn has some cool moments with his oddball “C.T.A. – 102” and his magnificent cover of “My Back Pages”.
The album finishes on a sour note though, with a pedestrian version of the B-Side to “Eight Miles High”, “Why”. The song is really cool, especially the 45 version, but the take here is boring and dull. It really doesn’t make sense why Crosby wanted to use it as the closer.
Anyway, it’s a great LP and certainly something all rock fans should have.

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