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Jobriath

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Album Review

Grand, grandiose, obsessive, overbearing, precocious, pretentious — you could spend a lifetime browsing the thesaurus and still never put your finger on everything that makes Jobriath's debut the legend that it is. Part of the problem, of course, is reputation — after 20 years of being hammered as the hype that scuppered glam rock in the U.S., then five more of rediscovery and absolute reinvention, Jobriath is today revered as much for its maker's status as gay America's first public icon as for its actual contents. Maybe even more so. Strip away such hullabaloo, however, and you're still left with an album that merits all the applause. Of course it's rock — "World Without End" and "Earthling" are even funk rock, and so smartly shade David Bowie's "Fame" and "Stay" bookends that one cannot help but wonder — but it's so much more than that. Jobriath's voice falls somewhere between vaudeville over-elucidation and operatic emphasis; his lyrics ooze pierrots, aliens, and movie stars, and his arrangements make Queen sound like an underachieving garage band. A few years later, Meatloaf would take a similar grasp on the vastness of excess and make a million. Jobriath made a millstone, but the parallels are apparent all the same. Heartfelt ballad as medieval battering ram. The stars of the show are spotlit from the start. Eddie Kramer's production ranks among his most unrestrained ever, so that even the piano ballads are draped across the broadest of stages. Add the band to the brew, and you can hear the kitchen sinks flying in. But if Jobriath (like Bat Out of Hell) is awash in brain-charring overkill, the surfeit is by no means gratuitous — or rather, it is, but only because it needs to be. In any other surroundings, songs like "Movie Queen" and "Inside" would seem slight and trite. Here they are the shade that prefigures the light — the sun-bright blast of "Morning Starship," the Rocky Horror boogie of "Rock of Ages," the unfettered majesty of "Take Me I'm Yours." Jobriath's songs are big-screen Cinerama, the slightest motion ten feet tall, the tiniest whisper Sensurround sharp. And just when you think they can't get any bigger, "Blow Away" wraps things up with a choral concerto, a hammy hymn, an exaggeration so huge that even the lyrical lift from Three Little Piggies sounds dramatic and profound. Grand and grandiose, obsessive and overbearing, precocious, and pretentious — it's Jobriath. What else did you expect?

Customer Reviews

One of the most interesting GLAM ROCK albums...

He was planned to be a "second" David Bowie. Was to openly gay at this time.
The audience never really connected to lyrics and style. However, haunting and tragic melodies
in contrast with the glam side of rock.

Worth owning it at least as MP3, more even on good old vinyl.

Ahead of its time

Though this album was horribly received and over hyped at the time of its release in 1973, it proves to be a landmark in music. The innovative combination of classical piano and rock and roll work well in this album. A bit overproduced but the incredible talent of Jobraith Boone shines through nevertheless. His skillful and ornate song writing portrays his talent as a musician. This album serves as a testament to what should of been but never was.

Biography

Born: December 14, 1946 in King of Prussia, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s

Widely acclaimed today as the first ever openly (and genuinely) gay rock star, an iconic status which only seems to harden as time passes, Jobriath can also be described among the saddest casualties in modern musical history. The two albums he cut during 1973-1975 are collectors items today and deservedly so. But for at least two decades after their release, their maker's name was more likely to be evoked as an example of the dangers of hype, than anything else,...
Full Bio
Jobriath, Jobriath
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Glam Rock
  • Released: 1973

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