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Customer Review

on 6 June 2011
Chris Bell is forever fated to be the other one from Big Star, always overshadowed by the legend of Alex Chilton. I Am The Cosmos shows how unfair this is, it may not be as great as Sister Lovers but it towers over Chilton's solo work. Bell's contribution to Big Star's debut #1 Record are an undeniable indication of his songwriting and studio craft. After leaving Big Star it's no exaggeration to say that Bell's career in music was fairly directionless. Drugs, and possibly torments over religion and his sexuality, seem to have contributed to a mood of depression that permeates this disc. The peripatetic nature (Memphis, France and London) of the recording of these songs are heartbreakingly documented by Bell's brother in the sleevenotes to this release. The best songs here are the two that were released as a single in 1978, the title track, a surging, mysterious song that would not have sounded out of place on an REM album, and You And Your Sister (with lovely backing vocals by Chilton). Of the rest Better Save Yourself, I Got Kinda Lost and There Was A Light are of a similarly high standard. The disc is let down by some fairly average tracks, in particular Fight At The Table sounds to me like little more than a competent bar band. As a posthumous collection of pretty much all of Bell's solo recordings this by necessity lacks cohesion, at it's best though it shows that Bell's early death in a car accident was a great loss to the music world.
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