Friday, March 21, 2008

Boyce & Hart - We're All Going To The Same Place

(A&M, 1968)

“We’re All Going to the Same Place” is a good example of the socially-aware bubblegum that makes Boyce & Hart’s third record, It’s All Happening On the Inside, such an odd listen. On its face, such an idea is an interesting and admirable one, even if there isn’t much deep thinking in evidence (“We’re all going to the same place / We’re running together in the same race / Only positive / Nothing negative”). It’s also helpful that the duo largely remembers the importance of writing a catchy, intricate single, this time featuring an ominous arrangement of pounding percussion and ticking-clock piano-bashing before the more upbeat choruses’ pleas for togetherness. Vocals remain a strength, the lead displaying more dramatic urgency than any prior Boyce & Hart 45. So what’s wrong? Simply put, the message-driven seriousness of the lyrics and arrangement drain the song of the sheer fun that makes the best B&H records so effective. It’s catchy, yes, but it’s also sort of a drag, feeling forced in its relative weightiness. I’ll give it an A for effort, a B- for execution.

Exciting note: My copy happens to be a promo, so it includes the title song on both sides. The standard commercial version has “Six + Six” on the B, a non-album track that shows up on Rev-Ola’s recent best-of compilation.

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