Thursday, May 10, 2007


'Masterpiece' is a ubiquitous word, but it's the only one that properly describes this album. This is the definitive album from five extremely talented Californian hipsters known as Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Spencer Dryden all merged their creative strengths together to turn rock music into something revolutionary and monumental.The band had already set the world on fire with their first three albums, showing their remarkable, divine vocal harmonies, and CROWN OF CREATION proved their excellence even further.They open the album with three of the most magnificent ballads ever written. "Lather", "In Time" and "Triad" are all unbelievably beautiful and soothing. Grace's "Lather" is based on drummer Spencer Dryden. Spencer was about to turn thirty at the time, hence the line "Lather was thirty years old today". It's also based on a little incident that occured with Jack Casady. Jack was given a pill by a drug guru named Owsley, but he made the pill much too strong, and Jack totally went berserk when he took it. He was arrested for running naked on the beach and drawing pictures in the sand, which is also referred to in the song. And as for the song itself, Grace sings it in a way that just sends shivers down your spine, amongst many strange sound effects and some peaceful acoustic guitar. The hauntingly graceful "In Time" is even better, and it's probably my favorite Airplane song ever. The choruses are pure bliss, with Kantner, Slick and Balin ALL singing in harmony, combining their voices in such a way that it sounds like the essence of beauty itself. "Triad" was written by David Crosby, but it's hard picturing him singing it better than Grace does here. Her crystalline vocal cords have never sounded better, and she delivers an extremely emotional performance that really touches the depths of your heart. In particular, listen to the way she sings the line "We love each other, it's plain to see" and tell me that isn't the loveliest voice that you've ever heard in your life. Kaukonen's "Star Track" features some of the most blistering wah-wah guitar licks ever put on record. They're fast, vicious and totally chaotic. Indeed Jorma was one of the most overlooked guitarists in the world. Balin's vocal on "Share A Little Joke" is rapturous, especially that middle section ("...Your eyes are never tired, your mind is on fire..."). Like Grace, he manages to practically give you goosebumps with his singing. That's enough proof that nobody could rival the Airplane when it comes to vocal harmonies (except the brilliant Simon And Garfunkel)."Chushingura" is the only weak spot on the album, as it's just a bunch of weird sounds. "If You Feel" is an upbeat rocker with glorious vocals and a marvelous melody. Some have said that the title track was plagiarized from a novel called "The Chrysalids", but I couldn't care less because the song is so great. The tandem vocals of Jorma and Grace on "Ice Cream Phoenix" are yet another highlight, and Grace's battle cry of "Still not cry when it's time to go" is indeed very hypnotic. And speaking of Grace, her "Greasy Heart" is a moody tune that talks about how women try too hard to make themselves look good. A little known fact is that she's actually singing about HERSELF on this one. She was a model before she became a singer, so she understood about all that stuff. In the liner notes, she even says "It sounds like I'm pointing fingers in the song, but I'm actually living it". So that leaves the gloomy, hypnotic "House At Pooneil Corners", an eerie number that tells about the end of the world. And I do mean EERIE. Everything about the song is very dark: the bass line, the organ, the sound effects and, above all, the intoxicating vocals. The lyrics are brilliant, too. This is a song that really makes you think: is the destiny of mankind doomed forever? Creepy stuff.

1. Lather
2. In Time
3. Triad
4. Star Track
5. Share A Little Joke
6. Chushingura
7. If You Feel
8. Crown Of Creation
9. Ice Cream Phoenix
10. Greasy Heart
11. The House At Pooneil Corners


Please leave a comment


gordon said...

Thanks, I was going to request this!

Anonymous said...

jinx, haha, i just posted this one as well, lol

Fuzzface said...

I have to agree--I've always thought this was JA's masterpiece. But i think "Triad" is a really stupid song.

EvilKnieval said...

Nice! What more can i say?