The Love Generation

Love and Sunshine: The Best of the Love Generation

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This 25-track anthology actually has most, though not all, of the Love Generation's output, all but one track taken from their three albums (the lone exception, "Catchin Up on Fun," was a non-LP B-side). It's flower power at its most floral, and most commercial; or would a similar appropriately overdone description read "sunshine pop at its most blinding"? There's some real craft to the ingenious and textured orchestral pop/rock arrangements and male-female harmonic blends, and the melodies are intricate pop-oriented extensions of the Beach Boys (particularly in the chorus of "Meet Me at the Love-In"), the Mamas & the Papas, and the Association (if it's even possible to be more "pop-oriented" than the Association). But it's just too damned saccharine and goody-goody, making the Mamas & the Papas sound almost Velvet Underground tough in comparison, though some might find some hidden countercultural inferences in cuts like "Consciousness Expansion" and "The Bummer (Guide Me Home)." There's got to be more substance than gauze to make delightful pop music. If gauze is your substance, though, you may revel in the bouncy counterpoint melodies and unremittingly cheerful melodies, though the tunes and vocal delivery often come close to a commercial jingle feel (and nope, that's not praise). Among the notable outside songwriters supplying some material are a young Jim Seals ("Not Be Found"), Nancie Mantz (part of the Tucker-Mantz team who wrote "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)"), and Neil Sedaka and Carole Bayer Sager (who co-wrote "Let the Good Times In").

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