Classic Album Collection: The Capitol Years


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Classic Album Collection: The Capitol Years Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Perhaps America's stint at Capitol -- which began with 1979's Silent Letter and wrapped up with 1984's Perspective -- isn't considered by most observers to be as "classic" as the Warner era that preceded it. Winnowed down to the duo of Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley -- Dan Peek departed in 1977, after Harbor -- America moved decidedly into slickly synthesized adult contemporary while on Capitol, a transition that eventually resulted in the 1982 smash hit "You Can Do Magic" and its 1983 Top 40 sequel, "The Border." Classic Album Collection traces this evolution via remastered versions of the group's six albums for the label (the first two each have two bonus tracks of mono single mixes): Silent Letter (1979), Alibi (1980), View from the Ground (1982), Your Move (1983), Perspective (1984), and In Concert (1985). These records have been reissued on CD before, but they've never sounded this smooth, vivid, or rich -- qualities that certainly enhance albums designed to be plush, immersive easy listens. For hardcore fans, the ones who are as curious about the mono single edits as they are about the aural upgrade, it's the remastering that makes this set worthwhile, but anybody with a fondness for supple soft rock would find that these albums are much better than their reputation suggests.

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