Love (1968) Forever Changes LP

Forever Changes

Elektra 4013
Produced by Arthur Lee & Bruce Botnick

Recommended ****

Released January 1968 (February 1969 in UK) reached #152 (#24 in UK)

After a period of recluse in Lee’s Hollywood mansion, Love surfaced with this third album.  Many consider this their finest.

The album opens with MacLean’s classic “Alone Again Or,” the rest of the collection focusing on the contributions of Arthur Lee.  While the Lee numbers have a different feel, the songs seem an extension of the melancholy established with MacLean’s opener, slowly going from an electric rock sound to a more fragile folk delivery, the songs filled with acoustic guitars, arrangements and the imagery of Lee’s lyrics. 

(Lee with the broken vase–symbolism that fits the set.  That one’s Lee, right?) 

The music moves between moods and tempos, like following a man at the edge of a party as he wanders to the basement and out the cellar door, roaming the streets, a loner/observer internalizing all that’s going down. Through all the changes, the set remains as cohesive as any from this era, and it certainly captures this time and place like no other album.  While it clearly comes out of the Summer of Love and the years that lead up to it, this also recognizes the beginning of the end, and in retrospect foreshadows the years and happenings to come.

(The vase is cracked open to expose the roots; the flowers are dry and wilted.)

This album stands nicely next to the first drug-fueled offerings of Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd, but while V.U. came from the art houses and cold streets of New York, and Floyd from the music and foggy climate of London, Lee appears to have been raised on the various music styles of Los Angeles, from the Byrds to the Beach Boys, from the soundtracks of Hollywood to the Latin American rhythms of East LA.  With Bruce Botnick helping with the final production, the influences of Herb Alpert and Burt Bacharach show up in the arrangements.  Of course, this album delivers its own unique sound–a sound that influenced countless acts.

While the music is not perhaps overtly psychedelic, it’s about as psychedelic as it gets, and fans of that genre should give this a close listen, turn out the lights and light up a number.  There had never been an album like thisbefore, and while many have tried, there has never been one like this since.  
It’s essential for fans of late 60s music. 

— winch (author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s and the two-part novel Junk Like That)




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