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Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 4 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first new studio album for the rock band led by Tom Scholz in 11 years includes three songs (2 are remixed songs from 2002's Corporate America) from the late-Brad Delp.

Top Track

Didn't Mean to Fall in Love
I didn't mean to fall in love I didn't mean to fall in love And all I mean to say, I can't go on the way things are How can I lead the way? It feels... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Dec 9, 2013
    60
    Give Scholz credit for trying to plug the gap, though with up-and-down results. Boston diehards will be intrigued, but the overall album might not translate to the general public.
  2. Dec 9, 2013
    50
    Life Love & Hope doesn't, and hearing it might lead a devoted Boston follower to believe that, despite the few moments when things come together nicely, maybe Scholz has finally lost his touch. Check back in another decade for further developments.
  3. Dec 9, 2013
    50
    Everywhere, Tom Scholz fine-tunes the angelic-choir harmonies and aerosol-guitar crescendos until they're spotlessly, unmistakably Bostonlike. Some things never change--but remembering a sound isn't always enough.
  4. Classic Rock Magazine
    Jan 2, 2014
    50
    It begins promisingly, with weighty guitar and measured vocals, before losing the plot completely, descending into a kitchen sink of confusion and ending up sounding like an incomplete demo. [Jan 2014, p.112]
  5. 40
    The songs come with soaring sentimental choruses, but brittle rhythmic foundations--you will miss Sib Hashian, Boston’s old drummer--as well as deeply grandiose or cornball keyboard parts.... Where Mr. Delp is absent, the singers Tommy DeCarlo or David Victor commit passable imitations, or Kimberley Dahme provides bland contrast.
  6. Q Magazine
    Jan 28, 2014
    40
    Even the welcome presence of Boston's original singer Brad Delp, who committed suicide in 2007, can't save it. [Feb 2014, p.119]
  7. Kerrang!
    Jan 8, 2014
    40
    For its first half, Life, Love & Hope plays to Boston's strengths.... Sadly, from the insipid If You Were In Love onwards, the album loses its way catastrophically. [7 Dec 2013, p.53]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Feb 28, 2014
    8
    An Almost Return to Form.

    After the previous album, Corporate America, it sounded like Boston (or should I say Scholz) were done.
    An Almost Return to Form.

    After the previous album, Corporate America, it sounded like Boston (or should I say Scholz) were done. Following Brad Delp's tragic suicide, Scholz was left with the difficult task of finding a replacement for Delp's wonderful vocals. Which is where this album struggles - without Delp's voice to drive the melody forward and give it that much needed energy, Scholz is left with even the best songs on this album sounding a little flat.

    Production-wise, Scholz has done some pretty odd things to this album, with the guitar work frequently drowning any bass work and the drums lacking any big oomph. He's done his best with the vocals and the guitars sound as dreamy as ever, though the mix is heavy on guitar and lacking in bass.

    Where this album succeeds, in my opinion, is taking a familiar sound and changing it. Boston aren't ever going to sound the same as they did on Boston and Don't Look Back or Third Stage and anyone going into Walk On, Corporate America of Life Love & Hope has to accept that. Scholz had to find a suitable replacement for Delp, either that or radically change the bands sound, both of which hes tried here. I think hes hit the right mix with Heaven On Earth or Life, Love & Hope.

    So... why the score of 8, given the albums failings? I've given this album a lot of time and whilst it has its low points (If You Were In Love and Way You Look Tonight especially) the tracks where it completely succeed (Heaven On Earth, Didn't Mean To Fall In Love, Life Love & Hope, Love Got Away, Someday) more than make up for it. The first time I listened to this album, I agreed wholeheartedly with every criticism I'd heard - tinny drums, jarring mix of vocals, odd choice of mixing. But having given the album much needed repeat visitations, its grown on me and it certainly feels like the choice of drums and vocal mixes was deliberate, to bring out the choral elements of the tracks - heavy drumming and thick bass lines might have drowned that out.

    If Scholz manages to actually keep the same band for a whole album next time, we'll probably hear Boston back at their best.

    Bottom line - 810 if you're going to give it time. 610 if you're going to listen to it just the once or twice.
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  2. Jun 26, 2014
    6
    "Life, Love & Hope", an album 10 years in the making (2003-2013), sounds like it was recorded in a month on GarageBand. I am a HUGE Boston fan"Life, Love & Hope", an album 10 years in the making (2003-2013), sounds like it was recorded in a month on GarageBand. I am a HUGE Boston fan and loved the crisp clean sound on "Boston", "Don't Look Back", "Third Stage", and hell even the production on "Walk On" and "Corporate America" was pretty damn good although they failed to match the caliber of the original 3 albums. But LL&H, although maintaining the classic Tom Scholz harmony, sounds too processed and lazy with a drum sound that sounds like it could have been pulled of an 80s Yahama drum machine (oh wait it was). This is NOT the sound I expected from an audiophile. However some songs on this album are pretty damn good. "Heaven On Earth" opens with a beautiful harmonizing riff from Scholz and it reminds you that with all the crappy music that appears on the radio today, the classic rock sound still is present. David Victor and Louis St. August perform excellently on this track with vocals mirroring the late great Brad Delp and Scholz does an excellent job with his solo. Skipping over the remastered "Didn't Mean To Fall In Love" (lazy on Scholz's part) is the instrumental "Last Day Of School" which is very vibrant with piano reminiscent of a Jim Steinman tune and a guitar sound channeling Brian May. However, this track highlights the tin sounding digital drums. Track 4, "Sail Away" features Scholz expanding his musical creativity with the use of synths and a spoken word part from Kimberley Dahme in the intro. When the piano kicks in, Brad Delp takes lead vocals and delivers a beautiful performance that puts all the other vocalists on this album to shame. The song is a beautiful track that serves as a criticism to the botched Hurricane Katrina efforts. Track 5, "Life, Love, and Hope" features Tommy DeCarlo on vocals and again has that classic Boston sound with a guitar performance from Gary Phil. It is a good song but there is not much to say about it. Track 6, "If You Were In Love", is sung by Dahme, who does a good job but the song is very generic and sounds like a Celine Dion B-side. Track 7, "Someday" is the worst track on the album. It sounds like a bad 80s parody and is messy and all over the place (with a freggin harmonica solo WTF). The only thing good about it is the anti-bullying message it promotes. Track 8, "Love Got Away" is Tom Scholz lead vocal debut and although he is not the best singer he does have that Bob Dylan esque rasp to his voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The vocal harmony on this song is reminiscent of "The Byrds" and to me is one of the better songs on the album. Tracks 9 & 10 are recycled versions of "Someone" and "You Gave Up On Love" from Corporate America which again I think is lazy and unnecessary. Track 11 is "The Way You Look Tonight" with DeCarlo again on vocals. It is a good song that sounds like it came straight out of the 80s. This also is another great song that saves this album. The album would have ranked 8/10 for me but the bad production quality, bad drum sound, and recycled songs brought it down to a 6/10. Expand