SURREALISTTIC  PILLOW


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Posted by Keith E Rice on 12/29/01 - 13:41:26
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This has to be the one of the worst Airship albums - I'll take "LJS" or "FAPZ" over it anyday.

It lacks the coherent feel of "TAKES OFF" - or even "BAXTER'S" for that matter! - and is a hotch-potch of tracks which certainly reveals the sheer diversity of taste then current in the Airplane but without anything that draws it together. Other than the bastardised echoey production of Rick Jarrard. (The reverbed surf sound Kevin refers to - typical of non-Beach Boys guitar-and-drums surf music.)

Virtually every member of the classic 66-70 Airplane consistently reviled this album for many years. (There is a wonderful NME interview with the band at London's Revolution club in Summer 70 - in which they effectively declare their hatred of the album.)

"My Best Friend" and "How Do You Feel" sound like Lou Adler was drunk at a Mamas & Papas session - pop sensibility, sure! "Funny Cars" and "3/5" sound like "TAKES OFF"-meets-Phil Spector". The "PILLOW" version of "Plastic Fantastic Lover" - one chord played throughout the verses? -has to be one of the most dire recordings ever made. The "POINTED HEAD" version is sheer fucking dynamite - wonderful! - while the "LOVES YOU"/Woodstock and the various KBC/PK's JS officially-released versions are all OK. Nothing wrong with the song itself - just Jarrard's shit-awful version.

As weighted opinions are correalated/collected together and turned into simplified givens, so it has become fashionable over recent years to declare "PILLOW" to be THE Airplane album. Just look at the new MOJO Classic CD Collection Edition! And people like Jack and Grace have rushed into print to declare their revised (and very positive)opinions of the album.

Me, I respect "PILLOW" as where the Airplane were at in late 66 - fast outgrowing the San Franciso ballroom scene and desperate to make it nationally - and in the hands of a corporate Yesman.

None of which invalidates the point that "PILLOW" was a crucial soundtrack to important events in some people's loves - hi, Eth!

At times - most notably on "OCTOPUS" and "WOC" - the Airship have caught the positive aspects of "PILLOW" (pop sensibility) - short, hummable tunes with good, well-executed arrangements that have immediate impact (ie, you can sing them - sort-of! - after just a couple of radio plays). (So, parts of "Miracles"; but not "Pooniel" or "Wooden Ships"!)

Have you known any version of the Airship attempt to recreate "PILLLOW'S" less healthy aspects? - ie, the echoey effects and clashing styles - which you'd've thought they'd've done if they really thought it such a class album.

Actually, when I think about it, they did do an even shittier version of "PILLOW". It's called "JEFFERSON AIRPLANE" and was released on the Epic label in 89.


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