Sunday, July 15, 2007

I Am the Cosmos (1974)

When Rykodisc brought out this solo Chris Bell album in 1992, there was cognitive dissonance. Bell was a member in good standing of Big Star on the band's first album, more of a ghost member on their second, and gone for Third. But with this album the relative contributions of Bell and Alex Chilton, or the way we understood them anyway, perhaps required some revision. The songs here are gorgeous, soaring, painful, introspective, melodic, depressing, and always, always deeply felt. Not, perhaps, to the levels of Third. But they sound enough just like the Big Star we know and love to alter the way things seem. It's not just Chilton holding the keys to this kingdom. I mean, talk about recovering lost masterpieces. This is brilliant stuff.


  1. Cool! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Big Star was essentially Chris Bell's band - he wrote most of the material on "#1 Record", played most of the guitars, and for all intents and purposes produced it. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that "Cosmos" is of a piece with early Big Star - Chilton's role in the development of their sound has been way, way overrated, and Chris Bell has always been criminally overlooked. He quit his own band when that album was (shamefully) passed over by the mainstream. The pain of that experience, and the disappointment it produced, is felt throughout "Cosmos".