Mark Wirtz

A Teenage Opera: The Original Soundtrack Recording

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"A Teenage Opera," like the Beach Boys' infinitely more celebrated Smile, was never truly completed as such; collectors have always wondered, however, if the project exists as a "lost" album of sorts. This 23-track sequence of tracks by Keith West, Tomorrow, Wirtz, Kippington Lodge, the Sweetshop, Zion de Gallier, and Steve Flynn (some previously unissued), is as close an approximation as can be delivered. The psychedelically-influenced baroque rock-cum-easy listening arrangements are interesting, but really this is too twee and precious to qualify as anything like a lost masterpiece. Nor is it much of an orchestral pop suite; it's more a grouping of songs with a similar sunny fairyland vibe, sounding like an in-progress version of a children's rock record. You're far better off hearing "Teenage Opera," "Sam," and the Tomorrow cuts -- which are the gutsiest and most durable selections here by a wide margin -- on RPM's The Complete Keith West compilation, or the original (and only) Tomorrow album.

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