C/D: Supertramp: Breakfast In America

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

If not for the sound quality alone. One of the best sounding pop/rock albums of it's era. Doesn't deliver on CD the way it did on vinyl, but what does..

As for the tunes.. "Goodbye Stranger and "Logical Song" are in the time capsule for sure. However, how about those slammin' album cuts- "Gone Hollywood", "Oh Darling" and "Lord Is It Mine"?

The power into and around Hodgson's soaring vocal bridge of "If we only had time for you" at 3:11 of "Gone Hollywood" remains one of the greatest things I've heard on record.

I'm clearly going to bat in defense of one of my favorite records. Even as a 6 year old kid- somehow, I got it.

ZionTrain, Monday, 18 April 2005 14:56 (sixteen years ago) link

And I should mention, I'm not even really a Supertramp fan at all.

ZionTrain, Monday, 18 April 2005 14:58 (sixteen years ago) link

classic only for 'Take The Long Way Home'.

derrick (derrick), Monday, 18 April 2005 15:46 (sixteen years ago) link

The power into and around Hodgson's soaring vocal bridge of "If we only had time for you" at 3:11 of "Gone Hollywood" remains one of the greatest things I've heard on record.

Beautifully put.

I'm going to say classic, if only because it positively reeks of summers of my childhood -- and I don't mean that in a manner of sickening nostalgia of the variety I'm lamenting on another thread. Also, I was in a bar in Munich, Germany a few years ago with a needlessly obstreporous rock writer who calls himself Sky (a big fan of the Seeds, he) and upon spotting a lovingly detailed replica of the album's cover art painstakingly painted on the back wall of a bar we were busily getting ourselves unwelcome from, we both tearfully agreed that despite it being by Supertramp (a svengali-orchestrated supergroup...sort've like a hirsute boy band), it did indeed have many a great moment on it.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Monday, 18 April 2005 15:51 (sixteen years ago) link

See, I was a bigger fan of Crime of The Century. It was one of the first records I ever heard that had downbeat, depressing lyrics; it says something about my 12-year-old self that that approach appealed to me right away. "Bloody Well Right"...that's some pretty intense stuff for a junior high kid. I suspect the whole thing would sound too much like circus-mime music now, while Breakfast In America would actually age well. ("Take The Long Way Home" worked brilliantly in Freaks & Geeks.)

mike a, Monday, 18 April 2005 15:57 (sixteen years ago) link

Not too keen on "Breakfast In America", and I don't really think it is that wonderfully sounding either. It is of course OK, but it was a matter of Supertramp going way too AOR for my taste. "Crime Of The Century" is their one and only masterpiece, with the prog elements still shining through in a perfect way.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Monday, 18 April 2005 20:13 (sixteen years ago) link

intensely annoying music, to my ears.

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 02:01 (sixteen years ago) link

Interesting... I haven't put it on in a while but I thought the arrangements (="sound"?) were the worst thing about it. "Logical Song" is classic but that sax solo kinda ruins things for me. Ditto for the instrumental stretch in "Goodbye Stranger". I haven't heard all of Crime in years but I will go to bat for the sound/production of "School" and "Hide In Your Shell", both of which I think are quite brilliant (in a melodramatic angst-pop kind of way) in their layered studio orchestration. (Can anyone confirm if that actually is a Theremin in HIYS during e.g. the "Don't let the tears linger..." part?)

The hits are definitely classic though and "Child of Vision" has its moments.

Sundar (sundar), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 02:20 (sixteen years ago) link

The jury is still out on Supertramp as far as I'm concerned, but this album cover made a really strange impression on me when I saw it as a kid.


The Silent Disco of Glastonbury (Bimble...), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 02:59 (sixteen years ago) link

And my childhood was rendered unspeakably more hideous by this mewling example of the worst in squirrel pop.

Ian in Brooklyn, Tuesday, 19 April 2005 15:15 (sixteen years ago) link

I kind of like the use other artists have made of this material better than the original. For example: the Scooter dance version of "Logical Song" or Jason Forrest's sampling of "Goodbye Stranger".

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 15:22 (sixteen years ago) link

The only Supertramp LP that I'd let play start-to-finish without at least one must-to-avoid song. Roger Hodgson's singing could get annoying. But their Wurlitzer electric-piano sound was unmistakeably their own, and those were great songs. Plus I liked how Hodgson & Rick Davies would conribute the occasional vocal bit - just a line or two - to each other's songs, just to provide an outside voice. No mean feat, considering how much they hated each other.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 18:09 (sixteen years ago) link

Classic. There are a couple of tracks I'd skip (= that I never taped when I borrowed a copy from a library way back when), but the peaks (e.g. title track, the climax of "The Logical Song") are as peaky as peaks get.

Jeff W (zebedee), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 19:08 (sixteen years ago) link

I also liked the sample from Mattel's Electronic Football in "The Logical Song"

Trivia: the woman on the cover of BIA was also the prison warden in "Switchblade Sisters"

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 20:01 (sixteen years ago) link

"And my childhood was rendered unspeakably more hideous by this mewling example of the worst in squirrel pop."

Truer words have never been spoken. What could be possibly worse than Bee Gees eunuch falsetto shrieking? How about cocaine-laden imitations of Bee Gees eunuch falsetto shrieking? And verily, the shitpile hack group known as Supertramp had that in spades.

Matty, Tuesday, 19 April 2005 20:34 (sixteen years ago) link


Loved this album when i was a kid, seeing this thread has been responsible for the songs running thru my head for the past day now.

H (Heruy), Tuesday, 19 April 2005 20:54 (sixteen years ago) link

(Duck to thread.)

Zed Szetlian (Finn MacCool), Wednesday, 20 April 2005 03:20 (sixteen years ago) link

I recently realized that every single song I hear all the time on classic rock radio but never knew who it was by is actually Supertramp.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 20 April 2005 03:36 (sixteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
After borrowing my co-worker's copy of The Very Best of Supertramp, I must retract my above opinion. The Crime of The Century tracks all sound great, while the Breakfast in America tracks are more often than not cheesy. "Take The Long Way Home" is still great, though.

I'd like to hear Crisis? What Crisis? again. Maybe I'll pick it up the next time it surfaces in the used bin.

mike a, Friday, 6 May 2005 14:51 (sixteen years ago) link

I thought one day I might get into supertramp; thankfully it hasn't happened. Just far too smug for my liking, particularly this LP, particularly the title track.

harveyw (harveyw), Friday, 6 May 2005 15:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Classic, but just by an inch.

PappaWheelie (PappaWheelie), Friday, 6 May 2005 15:25 (sixteen years ago) link

mike a: xpost- you inspired me to listen to Crime Of The Century much deeper. when i started this post originally, my intention was never to compare the albums, but there's something very valid here.

i base breakfast in america as a classic POP/ROCK album of it's time. it seemed to be a clever and well-executed reaction (with tongue-and-cheek sensability) to the pop-rock and pop-culture landscape of america circa 1979. it reminded me, as an american tot, that there's this country called the UK and these bearded dudes are representing that culture. Breakfast In America brought Britain into the American suburbs.. again! Some US kid may have had the same reaction hearing The Beatles before or Blur after.

back to crime: i'm NOT an avid supertramp listener and don't know much outside the hits, but from listening, i must say that it is a magnificient piece of work. i could however see fans of earlier supertramp not liking breakfast as much- in the same way that fans of say, Rush or Styx, might as the acts slightly abandon their earlier progressive soundscapes for a more concise pop-rock approach.

i now see the sound quality argument (crime vs breakfast) and it is a valid one. i do standby breakfast as being very pleasing sonically to at least, my ears. I also still think it's worth serious weight as a classic, but if we're comparing breakfast as a classic solely within the supertramp catalog, i now understand, that's a whole different meal.

ZionTrain, Friday, 6 May 2005 17:15 (sixteen years ago) link

four years pass...

I also liked the sample from Mattel's Electronic Football in "The Logical Song"

I read something about this and could not place what sound in the song was being referenced.

Then I listened to the song and it's as clear as day.

•--• --- --- •--• (Pleasant Plains), Thursday, 7 May 2009 16:05 (twelve years ago) link

I always thought it was Merlin.

Alex in NYC, Thursday, 7 May 2009 16:38 (twelve years ago) link

This article, which gives you waaaaayyyyyy more information than you ever needed to know about "The Logical Song", says it was the football game.

•--• --- --- •--• (Pleasant Plains), Thursday, 7 May 2009 17:47 (twelve years ago) link

Well, okay then.

Alex in NYC, Thursday, 7 May 2009 19:50 (twelve years ago) link

Jesus, that is a lot of info.

Alex in NYC, Thursday, 7 May 2009 19:51 (twelve years ago) link

four years pass...
five years pass...

...okay so my morning shock, followed by informal Facebook and Twitter posts and polls, has led me to believe that essentially half the people I know apparently didn't realize until TODAY that the cover of this album is a riff on the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. Still honestly shocked here.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 28 July 2019 01:47 (two years ago) link

We had this album at our summer camp radio station, but I don’t think campers ever played cuts from it on the air. I always associate it with camp.

the last Berry La Croix in the work fridge (morrisp), Sunday, 28 July 2019 01:56 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

I’m kinda obsessed with this album these days, to me it’s the REAL ghastly “turning the light on the horrible 70s” album. both singers sound like nasty, mean, stuck up, bitter, narcissistic 70s burnouts, but not in a “romantic” way like Steely Dan. it sounds like a nervous breakdown or the worst breakup ever. the production is so imposing and grotesque, all those layers and big booming stabs… can’t tell what is what. not sure I hear one strummed guitar at all.. if there are guitars, then the attack is turned way down. Some music feels like it’s searching for a limit, this one sounds like it’s left the limits behind and is just painting over itself furiously. I’m also fascinated by the weird ambient intro to “long way home”. wtf?

brimstead, Sunday, 22 August 2021 20:17 (four months ago) link

I don't quite get the negativity from the singers that you do, except maybe on "Goodbye Stranger". The title track and "Take the Long Way Home" seem to me like character sketches a la Ray Davies or 10cc, except Supertramp's lyrics are not as skilled or subtle. If anything, I'd say they'd become more psychologically balanced since Crime of the Century, which is as angst-ridden and haunted as any Goth record.
It's definitely a product of the too-many-overdubs era, though.

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 23 August 2021 03:55 (four months ago) link

xp SOLD. It is added to my list of stufd to revisit.

Marcos Marcos-Valle (Deflatormouse), Monday, 23 August 2021 04:00 (four months ago) link

not sure I hear one strummed guitar at all.. if there are guitars, then the attack is turned way down. Some music feels like it’s searching for a limit, this one sounds like it’s left the limits behind and is just painting over itself furiously.

So what you're saying is it's the best thing ever.

Marcos Marcos-Valle (Deflatormouse), Monday, 23 August 2021 04:02 (four months ago) link

it’s a huge bummer of an album, I’m not really happy that it’s occupied my thoughts. Really really into the verses of “child of vision”

brimstead, Monday, 23 August 2021 15:54 (four months ago) link

intro has Scarface vibes

brimstead, Monday, 23 August 2021 15:54 (four months ago) link

two months pass...

still can’t stop with this album. it really is breathtaking.

brimstead, Thursday, 11 November 2021 01:20 (two months ago) link

I guess “just another nervous wreck” is the spiritual/emotional apex of this album. heavy stuff.

I’m especially into the guitar solo at the end of “goodbye stranger” now. and the whole “ain’t nothing newwwwwww in my life todaaaaaay” part in “gone Hollywood” which is a fantastic song.

brimstead, Friday, 12 November 2021 21:54 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

The waitress who appeared on the cover of Supertramp's Breakfast in America (1979) – album is 95 years old on this picture. How wonderful is this!! pic.twitter.com/qPDiwleUnW

— 𝓒𝓵𝓪𝓼𝓼𝓲𝓬 𝓐𝓵𝓫𝓾𝓶 𝓐𝓻𝓽 (@ClassicAlbumArt) January 7, 2022

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Saturday, 8 January 2022 06:35 (one week ago) link

For some reason I though it was the eventual exploding head woman from Total Recall, lol. Anyway, iirc she died years ago, and iirc so did this person.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 8 January 2022 14:45 (one week ago) link

First 9/11, then the cover model dying...is there any wickedness that Supertramp won't resort to?!?

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 8 January 2022 16:18 (one week ago) link

"Give A Little Bit" is about 'Rona.

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 8 January 2022 16:45 (one week ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.