Alright people, check this out: This is the first in a series of utterly brilliant weekly articles that will, no crap, change your lives. What you have to do is let my words enter your eyes and slowly seep into your heart, then into your liver and kidneys before eventually settling into your soul. Then the heart will rule the mind and with one look, love will be blind.
Then if you free your mind and let your ass follow, I think you’ll finally realize how much you depend on your weekly dose of ZolarCzakl’s holy words. Come to daddy and let him give Baby its medicine.
“Because of the confidence ‘…You’ have given me, I dedicate this album to all of You.”
There he sits with that frilly, patched-together shirt draped across his hairy, Adonis like torso, silky maroon trousers glowing like a teenage girl’s night light. That hair, that stare. Sexxxy. He looks right into the eyes of you and I, letting every person, no matter what personal beliefs one may have or what walk of life one comes from, know without a shadow of a doubt that he, Peter Frampton, is indeed, IN YOU.
Yup, Peter Frampton – 70’s rock god; singer and writer of “Show Me The Way”, “Baby I Love Your Way”, and “Do You Feel Like We Do”; and maker of one of the most legendary live albums of all time, Frampton Comes Alive – had the audacity to release an album called I’m In You. And guess what? It really sucks!
This collection of ill-conceived musical ideas warrants study not just because it is a bad album made by one of the biggest stars of the mid 70s, but because it is partly responsible for the complete and utter derailing of Frampton’s career.
And who doesn’t love a train wreck?
For those of you that may not be familiar with the story of the golden-locked 70’s rock star, let me catch you up a bit. Peter Frampton (British dude, guitar player), sifted through a number of rock bands in the sixties, the most notable of which were The Herd (66-69) and Humble Pie (69-71). Frampton left Humble Pie in 1971 and made a few solo albums, with the fourth one, Frampton, becoming a hit in 1975. Pete followed it up in 1976 with the aforementioned Comes Alive, which suddenly made him a superstar and also proved to be the high point of his career.
Sudden crazy-ass success was hard for the 25-year-old to take. He was reportedly rushed into the studio to make a follow-up, and like a traveller may forget to grab his toothbrush before departing on a long trip, Frampton forgot to write any songs before MAKING HIS GODDAMN ALBUM.
If you even get up the nerve to listen to I’m In You, the first thing you may discover (besides a little bit of nausea and/or depression) is that there are no memorable hooks to be found anywhere within a five mile radius of Frampton’s frilly shirt. The “songs” are virtually devoid of any catchy melody, lyric, or feel, and seem to meander down a drunken path of half-baked tedium and extreme laziness. When I first listened to this thing I seriously thought that Mr. Frampton had wandered into a studio filled with its “house band”, scribbled down some easy chord changes and a few monosyllabic words on the back of a track sheet, and told the coked-up engineer to hit record on the tape machine.
Well, Free Jazz it ain’t. What it is is tepid soft rock with Peter mumbling the words “feel” and “love” over and over again in a manner that suggest that each song took longer to record than it actually took to write. From the opening piano lines and swelling strings of the album’s “hit” title track, to the confused lyrical diarrhea of “St. Thomas (Don’t You Know How I Feel)”, bouncing off the positively putrid “Rocky’s Hot Club” (which was supposedly written about his dog and not a sauna that he shared with burly, mustachioed, oiled-up men), and all the way to the home stretch of the final two cover songs (which really gives us evidence that Pete was very short on material), I’m In You just reeks of overindulgence, lack of inspiration, exhaustion, and slight desperation.
So in other words, it’s kinda glorious.
And what happened to Pete after the release of I’m In You? Three words: Sgt. Pepper’s movie. There’s nothing like the critical and commercial failure of both an album and a movie starring the Bee Gees to make one’s career go straight down the crapper. Add to this a near-fatal car wreck and drug problems and you have a mighty tasty disaster stew. Peter Frampton’s career never recovered.
I don’t want to get too down on Pete, though. It’s not like he was just some untalented pretty boy that erupted on the scene to sell records and to appear dressed in satin pants on teenage girls’ walls; he paid his dues well before that. To his credit, he didn’t let his post-Pepper’s lack of major success keep him from rockin’ his guitar. He kept on making music and still records today to a smaller but undoubtedly devoted audience. The thing is, regardless of the circumstances that surround the making of I’m In You, the fact that the album sucks so much and comes after a legendary album like Frampton Comes Alive makes analyzing the whole mess so goddamn funny. And as a wise man once said, the greatest comedy comes from the misfortune of others.