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Customer Review

on 5 October 2005
Barely denting the charts when released in late 1967, Forever Changes has become heralded as an absolute classic and is in the Top 100 (at least!) of any Top Albums poll once cares to mention.
The secret of its continued success is down to several factors, the main ones probably being its excellent songs and beautiful arrangements. Arthur Lee's songs are idiosyncratic, unconventional but memorable pieces, often not formulaic verse-chrous-verse affairs. They are backed by the band - usually by superb intricate acoustic picking with occasional bursts of electric lead - then augmented further by brilliant string and brass arrangements. The result is a sound as big and pioneering as that of other innovative albums of the time such as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band and Pet Sounds.
A major difference between those LPs and Forever Changes though is the occasional social comment and overall sense of dread in Lee's lyrics. No other album quite captures the mixture of beauty and despair of 1967 in the United States quite like this masterpiece.
All of the songs featured are good though particular highlights for me are the lush Good Humour Man, foreboding Red Telephone and grand finale which is You Set The Scene. The LP's most famous song, the excellent, oft-covered Alone Again Or is one of two songs written by rhythm guitarist Bryan MacLean - all of the others are by the talented Mr Lee.
This remastered and expanded version of Forever Changes includes seven extra tracks and alternative versions. One of the most interesting of these pieces is Wonder People which has a riff similar to Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual. The only fully recorded song from the Forever Changes sessions which didn't feature on the original album, one can only assume that Arthur considered it too jolly for the mood of the LP.
Forever Changes is a superbly arranged masterpiece which demands repeated listening to this day. An absolute classic which is a must for any serious music fan's collection.
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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