Boz, Bozz, or Bozzzzzz.
I’m not sure what to write about Boz Scaggs’ self-titled album.
There have been plenty of times I listened to something once and never came back to it. Some things I may have missed out on, others it was probably best I didn’t waste my time. As I work through this list, I feel I need to give each album at least a couple fair listens, but with this one I didn’t really want to at first. And then I did what any rational human being would do, and listened to it way too much.
With Boz Scaggs, three listens was the point that I felt like I had at least given it a fair shot. The first listen I really didn’t care for much. It may have been that I was expecting the one Boz Scaggs track that I am familiar with, “Lito Shuffle.” Maybe it just wasn’t sitting quite right. Kind of like trying anchovies on pizza for the first time. It didn’t taste bad, but your stomach still wasn’t sure about it.
The second listen I started to think, Hey, this is pretty alright. There was a little familiarity, and the songs seemed to mesh a little better. Back to the anchovy pizza analogy, it rested on the stomach a little easier the second time and you were able to focus more on the flavor.
When I listened to it the third time, I realized that it was an alright album, but it wasn’t something I wanted to add to my regular rotation. Anchovies aren’t bad, but you may not want them all the time.
On my fourth go at it I knew that I had heard enough and would be okay with never listening to this album again (despite my many subsequent listens as I tried to figure out what in the Sam Heck I would write). Like when you decide to try anchovies on pizza a fourth time and realize that you much prefer pepperoni.
Okay, so maybe anchovies on pizza isn’t the best analogy in the universe, but it gets the point across. This album really just didn’t do it for me. I wanted to like it, because it had a lot of elements that I typically enjoy: It has a little rock and a little blues (mixed in with some country, which I don’t mind but didn’t feel like it mixed as well), and there is some decent guitar work. But the entirety of the album just falls a little flat.
I thought that maybe I was just missing something. Rolling Stone Magazine listed this album above any other Boz Scaggs album, despite Silk Degrees (the one that has the one Scaggs track that I already knew) being his most successful album. There must be something there, right? Their review says it’s an “underrated gem,” and talks about the “classic” track “Loan Me a Dime.” And I will admit, that track was pretty good. Unfortunately, that was one of only two tracks that I thought was particularly enjoyable.
That begs the question: What makes this album such a gem?
I would argue that, simply put, it is not. What I would agree on is that the track they mention is a gem. It stands out from the rest of the otherwise non-noteworthy album as a pretty solid cut that could be added to the regular rotation.
Now, there is the historical timing element. That is, I will never get to hear this album without the frame of reference of all the other music I’ve heard that had come out since then. When I listen to this album I am comparing it to music that may be influenced by this or has had time to build off of it. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t make it any better. If an album is to be considered one of the greatest of all time, it needs to have real lasting power. There are plenty of albums on this list (and plenty that aren’t) that have that lasting greatness. This one just doesn’t have it, and that’s why I don’t order anchovies in my pizza.
I only have 3 Picks for this album:
- I’ll be Long Gone
- Waiting for a train
- Loan Me a Dime