Dr. Hook

Bankrupt

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It begins with a wannabe disco dance song, as much a parody as it is a cash-in, which kind of explains where Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show were in 1975. A few years removed from "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," the bandmembers were happy to do anything that would keep them on the charts, so they did a bit of disco, a little bit of SoCal studio boogie, a little bit of soft rock for the ladies, and a little bit of stoner humor for their core fans. There are a lot of dope jokes here -- chief among them "I Got Stoned and I Missed It" -- but the levity of "Levitate," "Everybody's Makin' It Big But Me," and "Do Downs" all qualify, as does "Everybody Loves Me" -- which begins with "everybody must be on drugs in this town" -- so the whole thing feels a little bit loose-limbed, not just in its intent but in its delivery. Compared to Belly Up! this certainly has a stronger sense of funk and that's to be welcomed: the group manages to retain its nastiness while telegraphing its professionalism. That gives Bankrupt a true sense of period -- the group is looking to sell out, not buy in -- and that fits a band that, from the beginning, was happy to grasp any opportunity that came its way. Even now, four albums into their career, they're happy to do anything that will keep them on the charts, and even if they didn't really have anything that fit this time around, the way Dr. Hook patronized both the mainstream and counterculture makes Bankrupt something special.

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