I played this album over and over for days when I first bought it in the 1970s, much as I did with 10cc's other albums when I bought them. 'Sheet Music' is widely thought of as their peak, partly because they widened the scope and invention that they displayed on their debut, and partly because their sense of humour began to make way for cynicism on subsequent albums. Although they're thought of as two songwriting teams, especially after Godley and Creme moved on in 1976, every permutation of songwriter pairings occurs on this album.
The band tackle a bewildering array of subjects. The big rock hit, 'Wall Street Shuffle' covers the well-worn subject of greed. Less obvious is the voodoo of 'Baron Samedi,' complete with fast, exotic percussion. The increasingly relevant 'Old Wild Men,' which brought to mind the Rolling Stones, is a beautiful piece of music, although the Stones have long outlived 10cc. 'Oh Effendi' is an hilarious piece about political shenanigans in the Middle East. Graham Gouldman's paean to indifference, 'Sacro-Iliac,' is surprising for its simplicity.
The centrepiece, though, is the tender homage to old movies, 'Somewhere In Hollywood,' a six-minute pop epic featuring superb mood and tempo changes, something that 10cc usually did wonderfully. They always gave due care to the construction of each track, so there's no padding. In addition, there are two fine bonus b-sides. The instrumental, 'Gismo My Way,' featuring the gadget Godley and Creme were developing, is superb. 'Sheet Music' is one of the essential pop albums of all time.