Picks and Pans Review: Chicago 16
Whether it’s due to some new vitamins or the addition of singer-composer-keyboardist Bill Champlin, the Windy City’s absentee pop rock group is sounding better than it has in a long time. The distinctive brass and vocal ensembles are tight and sharp, and there are some invigorating changes of pace from the group’s usual mid-tempo perky rock. On Bad Advice, for instance, there’s a funky sound that seems a little like the Commodores on a day when they’re feeling kind of white; it mixes nicely with the Chicago horns. And on the ballad Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away, the approach is thoughtful and unhurried. (That track does, however, contain one of the year’s worst lines: “Couldn’t stand to be kept away/Just for the day/From your body.”) There are still six of the seven original Chicagoans in the band—Peter Cetera, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, Walt Parazaider, James Pankow and Danny Seraphine (Terry Kath died in 1978)—and it is nice to hear that they are not too old and tired to change.