Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chris Bell - I Am The Cosmos

 I Am The Cosmos is the only solo album by the American pop-rock musician Chris Bell, eventually released in 1992 by Rykodisc, having been recorded over a period of two to three years during the mid-1970s. Bell had previously been a member of Big Star. After the band's first LP (#1 Record), Chris left to pursue a solo career.

In 2009 the album was remastered and re-released in a deluxe two-CD version by Rhino Handmade with alternate versions and additional tracks, and three songs by Bell's pre-Big Star groups, Icewater and Rock City. Some copies included a bonus 7" single of "I Am the Cosmos" / "You and Your Sister" (pictured above), a replica of the original single. The booklet notes for the album were written by Bell's brother David, who also took the photographs used on the cover and in the CD booklet.

Speed of Sound" was used over the opening credits of the Peter Sollett film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. This song also featured on the various artists compilation album compiled by the The Flaming Lips, Late Night Tales: The Flaming Lips.

"I Am the Cosmos" has been played live by Big Star, The Posies, Gigolo Aunts, and The Drams, and has also been covered by This Mortal Coil together with a version of "You and Your Sister". Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn recorded "I Am the Cosmos" for their 2009 album Break Up.

This record, in Chris' absence, is hauntingly beautiful and eerily alive with rocking tunes, innovative rock guitaring and thought-provoking lyrics. The best of what went into the iconic group Big Star is evident in these grooves, and long after the fact (the original album was recorded in 1974 - 1975, that magical time in music history), this last testament of Chris Bell stands the test of time and sounds incredibly fresh. It's evident that he had a big hand in the songwriting of his former band, and one can only speculate what amazing records Chris would still be making (and with who) if he were still alive.

On a scale of one to five stars I give I Am The Cosmos 27 and a half meteors. It is one of my all-time favorites. I have the 180 gram vinyl version, on 4 Men With Beards Records (bootleg???) and it plays and sounds like the iconic record that it is. It's simply amazing in every way. RIP Chris, the world was a better place having you to write songs for but a very short time.

Tomorrow we plumb further depths, so remember...Keep your tubes hot and your antenna up! See you then!

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