Explore Boston's debut album with Off the Record, a vinyl record music column.

Off the Record is a music column featuring a new or vintage vinyl record each week.

Title: “Boston”

Artist: Boston

Release date: 1976

Favorite track: "Foreplay/Long Time"

 

Wow, how has it taken me so long to feature Boston’s debut album? That was rhetorical.

I can’t believe I overlooked such a legendary record from the ‘70s with so many hits —“More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind” and “Long Time.”

If you haven’t already pieced this together, I wasn’t around during that era. But, I’ve noticed when I ask people who were, Boston often lives on their list of favorite musicians.

This record was part of the stash my parents gifted me so I would start off my collection with the must-haves. They know their stuff. I’ll never like classic rock, hard rock or metal as much as funk, but I truly love this style.

Now that I think about it, Boston should’ve been my starting point when I tackled the 1970s. This band changed the direction rock music took.

 

MUSIC

“More Than a Feeling” defines its own title. The song itself is an expansive mood that can’t be captured, containing all of the elements of an iconic classic rock song, yet also incorporating an equal balance of sadness and optimism.

I can’t take credit, but I do see it frequently referred to as bittersweet. I wonder if when the record label first heard it they knew what a hit it would be. I imagine so.

“Peace of Mind” was made with the same epic ingredients. The brilliant songwriter and musician Tom Scholz wrote both.

“Foreplay/Long Time” is my favorite, because it’s experimental and diverse. I normally hate when a song switches gears so frequently, but this track kept me engaged. Every piece of the puzzle appealed to me, but in a different way.

It starts like a jazz song, diverts into a metal moment, segues into space-y sounds, moves into classic rock again, then even taps into what would someday become ‘90s alternative rock. And, this happens all in about 7 minutes and 47 seconds.

To be honest, I hadn’t heard “Long Time” before, and I’m surprised how much I like it.

“Rock & Roll Band” is the dramatized story of Boston, and it’s a good one.

 

Well, we were just another band out of Boston

On the road and tryin’ to make ends meet

Playin’ all the bars, sleepin’ in our cars

And we practiced right on out in the street

— “Rock & Roll Band”

 

“Smokin’” is proof that every song on this album is played on any classic rock radio station.

I’m normally not drawn to a song so subtle and borderline folk rock as “Hitch a Ride,” but I love it. Boston nails that middle-of-the-road, not a ballad but not an anthem, type of track.

“Something About You” rolls by smoothly into the calm, level-headed song “Let Me Take You Home Tonight.”

 

DESIGN

I dig this space-y, colorful album cover. It’s fun and retro, but wouldn’t look out of place on an album cover for an up-and-coming indie rock group today.

As an added bonus, just look at those hairstyles on the back. Admittedly, my boyfriend’s own hair look would fit right in.