It’s been eleven years in the making, but now Boston are finally back with their highly anticipated sixth studio album, ‘Life, Love and Hope.’ The last full effort fans were offered was 2002’s ‘Corporate America,’ and throughout the past decade the band’s dedicated following patiently waited on the sidelines for Boston’s sixth studio album.
Tom Scholz has a bad (or good, depending on who you ask) reputation for being a perfectionist when it comes to releasing new Boston material. He won’t just issue a new album just to meet the deadlines of a recording contract, Scholz feels a personal connection with each Boston effort and wants every album to be an accurate representation of himself.
In many ways ‘Life, Love & Hope’ is a bold followup to ‘Corporate America,’ and would have been considered a more logical musical evolution from ‘Walk On.’ Boston don’t necessarily break into any new territory; instead Scholz tries to remain consistent to the rock group’s earlier efforts, which is one of this album’s strongest qualities.
Songs such as the opening number “Heaven on Earth” show Boston transporting the listener back their ‘Don’t Look Back’ years, by layering impressive vocal harmonies on top of that signature juggernaut guitar tone. War choppers and an angst-charged political rant from Kimberley Dahme welcome the listener on “Sail Away,” before transitioning into a ‘Third Stage’ style anthem featuring the late Brad Delp on lead vocals.
“Love Got Away” marks the first Boston recording to include Tom Scholz on lead vocals, and musically sounds right in line with what one would expect from a ‘Walk On’ outtake: cascading acoustic guitar, adrenalized synthesizers and a racing dual guitar solo. It does so to good effect, and is easily one of the album’s highlights.
If you are a dedicated Boston fan, meaning are at least familiar with the band’s five previously released efforts and the three new recordings from their ‘Greatest Hits’ album, chances are you will find at least one song which doesn’t live up to the high standard of the aforementioned tracks. ‘Life, Love & Hope’ includes three songs which were previously released on Boston’s last studio outing ‘Corporate America.’
“Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love” comes in as the second song in the track listing, and for those established Boston fans who are already familiar with this now remastered song it is anticlimactic, especially after getting off from the solid ground workings of “Heaven on Earth.” Two additional songs, “Someone (2.0)” and “You Gave Up On Love (2.0),” have been similarly re-recorded, however the newly added acoustic guitar breakdowns and “Higher Power”-style vocal tracks allow these revisions triumph over the originals.
All in all, ‘Life, Love & Hope’ is a hastily welcomed return from Boston, which shows the band fusing together elements of their earlier efforts with the rock group’s most recent direction. The album will certainly be appreciated by fans who have been waiting over a decade for a sixth studio album, and here’s to optimistically hoping it won’t be another eleven years before we see Boston’s seventh.