Since I picked this fantastic slice of sixties psychedelia up today at possibly the biggest maze of a car boot sale I’ve ever been to, I think its only right to dust off the keyboard and write a short piece on an LP that can pointedly be described, amongst other things, as acid soaked perfection.
When Forever Changes was released in 1967 the Summer of Love was in full swing and psychedelic music was the order of the day. Remember this is the same year such psychedelic greats as The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s and Pink Floyds Piper At The Gates Of Dawn were released. However, Forever Changes did not enjoy the success of some of its peers upon release despite the positive reviews it gained from critics. The album has since aged like a fine wine and now regularly features in the greatest albums of all time lists.
It’s strange to think that this album didn’t have more of an impact than it did when it was release. It wasn’t just your average run of the mill psychedelic album with cacophonous forays, strange background sounds and phasers thrown in for good measure. No, it was much more sophisticated than that. It had intricate horn and string sections, which band leader, Arthur Lee, had envisioned from the very beginning of the album. It had dark, paranoia induced lyrics, which were the antithesis of the ethos of the hippie culture at the time. In “The Red Telephone” Arthur Lee sings “Sitting on a hillside, watching all the people die/ I’ll feel much better on the other side”. His feelings of unhappiness and detachment from the world are a running theme throughout the album, as Lee had convinced himself that his own death was imminent during the recording of the LP. Forever Changes also had an eclectic blend of styles from the obvious Rock, Pop and Folk, to Mariachi, as shown by the intricate guitar work and bombast of the horn section on “Alone Again Or”.
Love weren’t trying to fit in with the psychedelic trend by throwing a few sound affects over their tracks, I’m looking at you Rolling Stones, (*cough* Their Satanic Majesties Request *cough*), they were a truly individual outfit, guided by the the tainted, but brilliant LSD fractured mind of Arthur Lee. Forever Changes is a seminal album not just in the psychedelic genre but within the annals of recorded music. If you haven’t listened to it then do it now, I’ve already listened to my copy three times this morning.