Thursday, December 11, 2008

Album Of The Day #120: ATTILA

Title: Attila
Artist: Attila
Label: Epic
Released: 1970
Songs: Wonder Woman/California Flash/Revenge Is Sweet/Amplifier Fire/Rollin’ Home/Tear This Castle Down/Holy Moses/Brain Invasion
Written by: William Joel & Jonathan Small
Produced by: Attila
Thoughts: Billy Joel made an awful lot of bad mistakes at the beginning of his recording career…although…calling Attila a mistake is sort of making a compliment.
The plan is definitely unique. Joel and Small, two ex-Hassles, created a duo that featured just organ and drums. Sure it could work, if the two actually decided to write songs. Instead, you’ve got eight tracks of noise, really. It sounds as if they booked studio time and Billy just banged at his organ and Small banged at his drums.
It might surprise you (and actually, I’m surprising myself by typing this), but there are some highlights (sparingly few, to be more precise). “California Flash” is really the only attempt at a true song with a story…at least it proves they were trying. The instrumental, eight minute assault of “Amplifier Fire” is actually pretty engaging. A three minute edit of the track appeared on My Lives, which really is still all you need to hear of it. The first four minutes (subtitled “Godzilla”…how creative) is much better than the droning and sheer stupidity of the second half (subtitled “March Of The Huns”…how…conceptual?).
The rest is just so…stupid. I’m really trying to search for a better word in the English language to describe the horrific “Rollin’ Home” (with its’ rolling drums and formless organ playing and utterly useless lyrics) or the silly attempt at any kind of epic, “Tear This Castle Down”. “Holy Moses” is a complete joke (how is anyone supposed to take that seriously?) and the closing “Brain Invasion” is, thankfully, instrumental, featuring a childlike carnival loop played by Joel.
I honestly can’t think of any way that the idea would have worked. Maybe if Joel came up with good lyrics? What would happen if it was a piano instead of a silly, white-noise organ? It’s not Small’s fault…he has some great drumming bits, but the silliness of Joel’s organ just ruins it. Simply, this is a bad idea…and it’s even a worse idea if you actually decide to devote 39 minutes of your life listening to this crap.

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