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Chris Bell (Guitar/Big Star): I Am the Cosmos [2014 Bonus Disc] [Digipak]

Track List

>I Am the Cosmos [Original Single Version]
>Better Save Yourself
>Speed of Sound
>Get Away
>You and Your Sister [Original Single Version]
>I Kinda Got Lost
>Look Up
>Make a Scene
>There Was a Light
>I Don't Know
>Fight At the Table
>Though I Know She Lies
>Looking Forward - (previously unreleased)
>Sunshine - (previously unreleased)
>My Life is Right
>I Don't Know [Alternate Version]
>You and Your Sister [Alternate Version] - (previously unreleased)
>I Am the Cosmos [Extended Alternate Version]
>Speed of Sound [Alternate Version]
>Fight At the Table [Alternate Mix]
>Make a Scene [Alternate Mix]
>Better Save Yourself [Alternate Mix]
>Get Away [Alternate Version]
>You and Your Sister [Acoustic Version]
>Stay With Me
>In My Darkest Hour
>Clacton Rag [Instrumental]

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (3/19/92) - 3.5 Stars - Very Good - "...The mostly demo-quality songs are wonderful...a bevy of shimmering, angst-ridden pop..."

Spin (p.82) - "[T]his collection of demos and finished songs stretches over two remastered discs of brilliant melancholia."

Q (7/00, p.140) - Included in Q's "The Best Male Angst Albums Of All Time"

Q (May/92, p.86) - 3 Stars - Good - "...offers plenty of the patented ramshackle grandeur that Big Star fans find irresistable..."

Option (May-June/92, p.92) - "...one of pop music's great songwriters..."

Village Voice (3/2/93, p.5) - Ranked #23 in the Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums Of 1992.

Billboard (p.33) - "Almost all of it lives up to the legend."

Q (Magazine) (p.136) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "I AM THE COSMOS still has enough of Big Star's guitar-pop fragility and grandeur to make it worthwhile."

Mojo (Publisher) (3/01/04, p.55) - Included in Mojo's The 67 Lost Albums You Must Own! - "[E]xquisitely melodic, Lennon-esque songs..."

Record Collector (magazine) (pp.90-91) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Bell's part in Big Star's vibrant distillations of their anglophilic pop fixation is well-known and well-represented on tracks such as 'I Don't Know' and 'My Life Is Right'..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Chris Bell (vocals, guitar); Jim Dickinson (piano); Ken Woodley (bass); Richard Rosebrough (drums); Alex Chilton (background vocals).

Recorded at Chateau D'Heurville, France; Ardent Studios and Shoe Studios, Memphis, Tennessee. Includes liner notes by David Bell and Jeff Rougvie.

Audio Remasterers: Kevin Nix; John Fry ; Larry Nix.

Audio Remixers: John Fry ; Alec Palao; Adam Hill.

Recording information: Air Studios, London, UK; Ardent Studios, Memphis, TN; Hérouville Studios, Hérouville, France; Shoe Production Studios, Memphis, TN.

Photographers: Chris Bell ; David Bell; Warren Wagner; Joan Branford; John G. Dando; Michael O'Brien; Adam Hill.

Though Big Star's #1 RECORD (1972) received favorable press, distribution problems marred its release, making copies hard to find and keeping sales low. Chris Bell left the band after the release of #1 RECORD, apparently very depressed. His sad story is explained in I AM THE COSMOS' extensive liner notes, written by Bell's older brother. Apart from a few collaborations, including a couple of tracks for the second Big Star album, Chris Bell spent the six subsequent years recording music for a solo album. He fought both depression and heroin abuse before dying in a car accident in 1978.

I AM THE COSMOS is a flawless set of songs. Bell was heavily influenced by The Beatles, but his uniqueness shines through. The title track appears here in two versions, the second of which is slower and even more poignant than the first. "You & Your Sister" is also featured in several versions, all of them equally essential. "Though I Know She Lies" somehow sounds even sadder than it should, especially when the disc stops spinning, and the realization that the world was tragically robbed of one of its great songwriters is made all the more crushing.


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