Somethin's Happening

Peter Frampton

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Somethin's Happening Review

by Jim Newsom

Peter Frampton's third album in as many years is much weaker than its predecessors, beginning with the lyrics, which sound forced on most of the songs. The production also lacks the crispness of his earlier releases, or their clarity; where Wind of Change had an airy feel because of the prominence of acoustic guitars, and Frampton's Camel had a percussive electric piano drive, Somethin's Happening originally sounded more like mud, with a clutter of electric guitars attempting to make up for lack of originality. The October 2000 remastered CD edition does alleviate a multitude of the original's sonic sins, however: Neither "I Wanna Go to the Sun" nor "Magic Moon" are among Frampton's most inspired songs, but the soaring guitars that highlight both now sound like they're practically in your lap, and one can also appreciate the quieter, subtler, more lyrical sounds of "Waterfall" and "Sail Away" and the elegant piano contribution of Nicky Hopkins behind Frampton's acoustic and electric playing, respectively. At this point, Frampton was touring constantly, following manager Dee Anthony's belief that a reputation for exciting live performances would lead to increased record sales. This strategy ultimately proved successful two years later when Frampton Comes Alive was released, but it also undoubtedly contributed to the decreasing quality of Frampton's original material.

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