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Forever Changes (Collector's Edition) (Rhino)


Maybe Love didn't score big bucks in the '60s because its song titles were a little odd — "A House Is Not a Motel," "Your Mind and We Belong Together," etc. Perhaps Elektra, its original label, didn't push the Los Angeles band because it was less together than the Doors, its more singles-oriented contemporary. Despite its lack of commercial clout, Forever Changes, Love's third album from 1967, remains a timeless work. Paced by protean singer-songwriter Arthur Lee and buttressed by the tunes of secondary vocalist Bryan MacLean, it ripples with creativity, its enigmatic lyrics informed by ambivalence and loneliness. MacLean's "Alone Again Or" mocks companionship as it yearns for it, while "Live and Let Live" may be an anti-war song or anti-imperialist song — or is it really about amphetamine? The music is unorthodox, but always melodic. The horns soar, the strings swoop, and the textures, simultaneously lean and rococo, never fail to astonish. This two-disc Collector's Edition includes tracking sessions, a brighter mix originally released on vinyl, and curios like the band's take on party perennial "Wooly Bully." Lee was troubled — he was a heroin addict, did jail time in the '90s for firearms offenses, and died of leukemia in 2006 — but he forced through a stunning, necessary album that perfectly reflects its title.

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