Tuesday, January 16, 2018

10cc - How Dare You!

How Dare You! (AM9)
Artist: 10cc
Producer: 10cc (Kevin Godley, Lol Crème, Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart)
Released: January 1976 
Tracks/Personnel: 1. "How Dare You" (Lol Creme, Kevin Godley) – 4:14: Eric – steel and lead guitars; Kevin – drums, congas, cow bell, bongos; Graham – bass, rizo-rizo; Lol – 12- string, 6-string rhythm and lead guitars, clavinet, moog, marracas, sleigh bells; 2. "Lazy Ways" (Lol Creme, Eric Stewart) – 4:20: Eric – lead guitar, lead vocals, six string bass; Graham – acoustic guitars, backing vocals, tambourine; Lol – piano, backing vocals, clavinet, moog, tambourine; Kevin – drums, backing vocals, triangle; 3. "I Wanna Rule The World" (Lol Creme, Kevin Godley, Graham Gouldman) – 3:57: Lol – organ, lead and backing vocals, piano; Kevin – drums, backing vocals, timpani, maracas; Eric – lead guitars, backing vocals; Graham – bass, backing vocals; 4. "I'm Mandy Fly Me" (Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Kevin Godley) – 5:24: Eric – lead guitar, lead and backing vocals, piano, whistle; Graham – electric six-string, electric four-string and acoustic bass, backing vocals, zithers; Kevin – drums, backing vocals; Lol – lead guitar, backing vocals, moog, vibes; 5. "Iceberg" (Graham Gouldman, Kevin Godley) – 3:43: Graham – bass, first lead and backing vocals, electric guitars; Kevin – congas, second lead and backing vocals, tympani; Eric – lead guitars, Levi zip; Lol – organ, backing vocals, gizmo; 6. "Art for Art's Sake" (Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman) – 5:59: Eric – lead guitar, first lead vocals, electric and acoustic piano, six string and fuzz bass; Graham – electric guitars, backing vocals, cow bell, tambourine; Lol – electric guitars, second lead and backing vocals, maracas, moog, recorder; Kevin – Drums, backing vocals, temple blocks; 7. "Rock 'n' Roll Lullaby" (Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart) – 3:58: Kevin – drums, first lead and backing vocals; Eric – lead and pedal steel guitars, second lead vocals, piano; Lol – electric guitars, backing vocals; Graham – bass, dobro, slide steel guitar, glockenspiel; 8. "Head Room" (Kevin Godley, Lol Creme) – 4:21: Lol – lead guitar, lead vocals, electric piano; Kevin – drums, backing vocals, tambourine; Graham – bass, backing vocals; Eric – slide guitar, backing vocals; 9. "Don't Hang Up" (Kevin Godley, Lol Creme) – 6:16: Kevin – castanets, lead and backing vocals, cabasa, hand claps; Lol – electric and acoustic piano, backing vocals, marracas, hand claps, gizmo, moog; Graham – bass, backing vocals, Spanish guitar, hand claps; Eric – lead guitar, backing vocals; Mair Jones – harp; Cover: Hipgnosis


The Emperor of Austria once said of Mozart, "Too many notes." History has proven the Emperor wrong; sure the guy had his flaws but inventiveness or too many notes wasn't one of them. The same could be said of 10cc, who some folks consider too clever by half with too many notes for their liking and much too much too much. Great hooks are pushed aside by another hook, then another, until one forgets it's the same song; a killer melody followed by a silly one sung in an affected voice - all 10cc stuff is like this, kind of like this oddly Joycean punctuated sentence. IDK, perhaps 10cc were indeed too clever, but how boring the world would be without this circus.

Truth be told, it's "I'm Not in Love" that has captivated this writer far more than any single in history; not "Strawberry Fields" or "Bennie and the Jets," hell, not even "Ventura Highway" (my guilty pleasure) have me as spellbound, but we've already been down that road. As for the How Dare You!, the follow-up to The Original Soundtrack, "Lazy Ways" and "I'm Mandy, Fly Me" feature melodies filled to the brim with wit and as rich as anything The Beatles or The Beach Boys dreamed up. "I Wanna Rule The World" reminds one why these guys were held in such great esteem by their peers (like the late Frank Zappa, the late John Lennon or the still breathing Paul McCartney). "I Wanna Rule the World" takes on T.S. (Tough Shit) Eliot. How many rock offerings provide for us lyrics like: 

A brave new world will rise from the ashes
And there upon a rock titanic, I'll cast a giant
Shadow on the face of the deep
And never again will they dare to call me
A freckled, spotty, specky, four-eyed
Weedy little creep

"Don't Hang Up" plays like a mini rock opera (much the same as "One Night in Paris" without the camp) in the tradition of The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away." Kevin Godley's angelic voice provides an ironic counterpoint to the possessiveness that clearly drives the character singing the song (and what better way to leave the listener hanging than a hung up telephone, the final death knell to any relationship).

Like every 10cc album, How Dare You! is flawed, but those flaws don't undermine this compelling, funny and melodic rock album. How Dare You! allowed the original four man line up a fine encore, letting them take a bow before the final curtain dropped. How Dare You! is a twisted turn down Paranoia Street that manages to entertain as it informs.